Why Eating Your Greens Really Matters
“Eat your vegetables!” was a common phrase many of us heard while growing up and for good reason. While we may have been in denial as kids, there is no doubt vegetables are packed with vitamins, fiber, and minerals that help keep our bodies healthy.
There are various types of leafy greens that you can grow or purchase at the store, such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, microgreens, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, romaine lettuce – the list goes on. Fortunately, many of these are grown year-round meaning they can be easily incorporated into meals regularly.
Luckily, when it comes to leafy greens, a little goes a long way, because they are so nutrient dense. In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that calculated nutrient density of almost 50 fruits and vegetables, 17 of the top 20 were leafy greens.
While you’ve heard leafy greens are an important part of your diet and instrumental to overall health, you might not know all of the various benefits. Here are a few extra incentives to eat your greens:
Leafy greens contain antioxidants and vitamins A, E and C, which help with skin health by preventing dry skin, repairing damaged skin, and fighting inflammation. Further, greens contain folate, a vital nutrient for DNA repair, and lutein, which balances the lipids in the skin to increase hydration and elasticity. Lutein also protects against sun damage, which can rapidly age your skin.
Greens can aid in weight loss because they’re low in calories and carbohydrates, yet high in fiber – meaning you’ll stay full longer. Additionally, by eating more greens your body can absorb essential nutrients and fatty acids to improve overall body function.
Nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene can all be found in leafy greens. A study published in the American Academy of Neurology found that healthy seniors who had daily helpings of leafy green vegetables had a slower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens.
With vitamins including A, B2, B6, C, E, folate, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and fiber – research suggests eating leafy greens can promote heart health and potentially reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.
If you need some inspiration to add more leafy greens to your diet, here are a few of our favorite recipes to help you get started: