Greens just simply don’t get enough credit. A healthy and balanced diet means better health for you, and a healthy and balanced diet includes greens. Green fruits and vegetables protect us against various disease and illness, and offer an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Some of them are even ‘negative-calorie’ foods, which take more energy for your body to digest than they provide to you.
Best Health Magazine published a spotlight article on six different health benefits that salad greens offer, and we were surprised by a few of them.
- No bones about it, eat those greens up. Vegetables rich in vitamin K help to build your bones. According to a study conducted at Tufts University in Boston, a low bone mineral density in women was associated with a low dietary intake of vitamin K.
See the light. Greens like spinach, romaine and red leaf lettuce provide you with the nutrients that help your eyes adjust from bright light to darkness, and can also help to protect against damage from high-energy light.
- Get your muscle’s worth. Spinach contains inorganic nitrate, which helps muscles work just as efficiently without using as much oxygen, according to Swedish research.
- Fight breast cancer (we hope you win!) The University of Southampton in the United Kingdom found that a component in watercress interfere with the signals sent from tumors “that cause normal tissues to grow new blood vessels to feed cancer cells…Although more research is needed, the study states: ‘Dietary intake of watercress may be sufficient to modulate this potential anti-cancer pathway.’”
- You’ve got heart, keep it that way. Shredded romaine lettuce is full of heart-healthy nutrients. Tulane University (New Orleans) conducted a study that showed that the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease was lowered by the level of folate in a person’s diet. This green also has what it takes to reduce the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL).
- Diabetes? Not for me! Spinach and arugula contain good amounts of magnesium. It’s been shown that an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also of developing a resistance to insulin, is associated with magnesium deficiency.
Some different benefits of eating greens were promoted by Livestrong’s website including a healthy gastrointestinal system and reducing the chance of birth defects. Green peppers and grapes, along with celery, dark leafy greens and peas contain the chemicals that reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness. The Mayo Clinic organization recommends plenty of green vegetable in your diet, especially if you are pregnant. B vitamins (found in such vegetables as avocados, asparagus, and broccoli) help protect you and your baby. These vitamins reduce the chances of a premature delivery and help to protect the baby against birth defects like brain or spinal cord damage.
Green fruits and vegetables help improve and promote healthy gastrointestinal function. Avoid constipation and gas, and maintain regularity by eating turnip greens, cucumbers, kiwis and pears. If all of these things have yet to convince you how important greens in your diet can be, maybe you will recall that little ‘negative-calorie’ statement at the beginning of this article.
Natural News reported that celery, lettuce, kelp noodles, pickles (made from cucumbers), kimchi and raw sauerkraut are all negative-calorie foods. These foods can help you to feel full while keeping your caloric intake lower. They all contain a lot of water, and the more water you consume, the less time it will take for you to be full and stop eating. So what’s the beauty of all this? “Virtually all salad greens are negative-calorie foods, meaning you can eat as many of them as you want.” Forget being hungry on that low-cal diet, bring on the greens!
It seems the positive effects of eating greens are endless. Celery is a natural anti-inflammatory, and of its components helps cut down the risk of ovarian cancer. If we are being honest, there probably isn’t a reason for you to exclude these greens from your diet. And no, ‘not liking how they taste’ is not a good reason. As you can see, there is a variety of green fruits and vegetables that offer numerous health benefits. So make sure to add them into your healthy and balanced diet as soon and as often as possible.