Healthy greens not only offer a low calorie nutrient dense food, but they’re also effective at promoting short and long-term benefits.
Many unique properties are found in these vibrant green foods. You can gain some amazing benefits that will help support both your mental and physical health.
Green vegetables are rich in vitamin A, and this nutrient plays a big role in fighting infections and disease.
Harvard Medical School has this to say about vitamin A:
“Vitamin A deficiency is associated with impaired immunity and increased risk of infectious disease”
Foods like spinach, kale, swiss chard, and many others have an excess of over 100% vitamin A in just one single cup. This makes it easy to enjoy the benefits of greens in such a small serving size.
Spinach and Kale rank as the 3rd and 4th most vitamin A rich foods out of all common foods according to World’s Healthiest Foods.
Iron found in greens not only prevents hair from falling out, but it’s necessary for proper energy production and oxygen transportation.
This is because iron supports healthy red blood cells. These red blood cells transfer oxygen to our tissues, which in turn help provide support to the organs and muscles.
So by increasing iron you prevent anemia and improve overall energy.
The great thing about greens is that in comparison to meat eaters, World’s Healthiest Foods mentions:
“people eating plant-based diets eat as much or more iron (than meat eaters)”
One cup of cooked spinach has 36% of the daily value of iron, and swiss chard offers 22%.
Greens like swiss chard, spinach, and several others are high in magnesium. This important mineral is responsible for 100 enzymes, which the body uses to control metabolism.
When taking insufficient amounts of magnesium the body isn’t able to properly control blood sugar. That’s why Web MD has confirmed that this mineral:
“significantly lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes”
This disease is a cause of blood sugar levels that have been manipulated through diet. In the findings of this report, even obese people had a noticeable change in their blood sugar responses after eating a meal.
The richest sources of vitamin K are greens; in fact kale, spinach, mustard greens, and collard greens rank as the 4 best foods for vitamin K out of all available foods.
Lots of studies have shown how beneficial this nutrient is for promoting bone health.
A Swiss group named the Human Nutrition & Health group found that:
“vitamin K has a significant role to play in human health”
“not only increase bone mineral density… but also actually reduce fracture rates”
The University of Maryland medical Center also confirmed that:
“vitamin K plays an important role in bone health”
Supplements will often advice to take 160 mcg of vitamin K for daily support, while one cup of kale has 1,062 mcg, or nearly 7 times the recommended daily value.
There’s several antioxidant, anti-cancer, and other compounds which help to reduce overall inflammation.
Inflammation can lead to several health issues including arthritis, joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and redness.
The reason for all this support from vegetables are due to its antioxidants found in vitamin C, E, and disease fighting phytochemicals.
One major reason for inflammation is excess fined sugars, omega 6 fatty acids, and saturated fats. Live Strong.com mentions how this combination has the
“potential to increase inflammation”
The benefit of greens is that they have negligible amounts of saturated fats and they’re not processed in a way that could lead to inflammation. They in fact have chemicals that actually prevent inflammation from ever occurring.
Since inflammation is what causes many serious diseases, having a good serving of greens can help prevent any future illnesses.
Greens like broccoli, collard greens, and many others have what’s known as glucosinolate. This compound helps prevent too much bacteria from over flooding the stomach.
This helps protect stomach health and supports the digestive system.
The recommended intake of fiber is around 35 grams for adults.
A bunch of broccoli has 16 grams of fiber and only 205 calories. This amounts to nearly half the advised fiber for the day.
The American Society for Clinical Nutrition ran a study showing that:
“fibers reduce total and LDL cholesterol”
The type of fiber used was soluble fibers, which can come from brussell sprouts, broccoli, kale, and other greens.
Fiber is of course filling, which can help make you feel full quicker, while improving your overall digestion.
Greens can have a significant impact on improving overall health. This is not only due to their macronutrients, but also because of their other unique properties that scientists are just now discovering.
It has the combined effect of helping stave off disease, reducing weight, managing appetite, improving inflammation, supporting blood sugar levels, maintaining bone health, and many other important functions.