It is unfortunate that often the most nutritious foods are missing from our dinner table. While we greedily munch French fries, burgers and steaks, we set aside dishes made with spinach, cabbage, lettuce or turnip greens. However, given the large number of benefits of consuming green leafy vegetables, it is time for us to replace the unhealthy fast foods with these nutritious plant foods.
Powerhouse of nutrients
Leafy green vegetables are packed with abundant essential nutrients that you can hardly find in other food sources. They are rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K. Important minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium are present in large amounts in the leafy vegetables. Sometimes, you might find traces of omega-3 fatty acids in several dark green leafy vegetables. These nutritious greens are the best source of dietary fibers. Several phytonutrients or plant compounds found in green leafy vegetables are necessary for healthy living.
Health benefits of green leafy vegetables
The nutrients in leafy green vegetables could prevent heart diseases. At least one serving of green leafy vegetables every day could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by about 11 percent. The fiber present in the leafy greens could reduce the level of low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Moreover, this antioxidant rich food could prevent oxidation of bad cholesterol in the blood vessels, preventing plague formation in the arteries. Green leafy vegetables are the ideal food for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. These vegetables with low glycemic index could reduce the level of glucose in the bloodstream of diabetic people. The calcium, vitamin K and traces of vitamin D are beneficial for healthy bones.
Regular intake of green leafy vegetables could significantly reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture associated with it. Leafy green vegetables are capable of boosting our immune system. They could reduce the risk of cancer. Vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin present in the leafy greens could prevent eye illnesses.
How much should you eat?
It is recommended that for healthy living, you should consume at least 3 cups of leafy green vegetables every week.
Types of green leafy vegetables
You can choose your desired greens from the wide variety of leafy green vegetables available in your local market. Popular leafy green vegetables that are easily available in most local stores include spinach, lettuce, mustard green, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, cabbage and broccoli.