Benefits of Eating Green Leafy Vegetables

Benefits of Eating Green Leafy Vegetables

When was the last time a leafy green vegetable made it onto your plate as part of a meal? According to WebMD, most Americans are not consuming these types of food nearly enough, eating leafy greens only once or twice a week.

Unfortunately the leafy green that Americans eat most often is iceberg lettuce; it’s watery crunch might seem satisfying, but it indeed is almost equivalent to consuming a bowl of water.

While other more nutritious types of lettuce, like Romaine or red and green leaf, are the second most commonly consumed leafy green, most people are still not incorporating vegetables like kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, or spinach into their diets regularly.

Not only are they missing out on experiencing the delicious flavors of these foods, but are also missing out on the multitude of health benefits of eating leafy green vegetables. Here are some of the wonderful things these powerful veggies can do for you:

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1) Act as a Supervitamin

Imagine if someone told you that there was a special kind of vitamin you could take that would boost your immune system, help keep your eyes and heart healthy, give you glowing skin, and maintain strong bones for years to come.

It would take a whole handful of vitamin supplements to attempt to do all of these things – or you could just eat a bowl of leafy green vegetables.

Leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining healthy eyes, especially healthy retinas. Vitamin A is also known for its immune system boosting properties, and is a necessary ingredient for cell regeneration.

Leafy greens get greater immunity boosting powers from their high levels of vitamin C. This particular vitamin helps the body fight off damaging free radicals, also causing the side effect of clear, smooth skin.

Supervitamin

The vitamin E that leafy green vegetables contain further helps remove free radicals from the body, allowing the vitamins A and C to protect the immune system to their full potential. The vitamin E also helps to lower bad cholesterol, keeping the heart strong and healthy.

Leafy greens are great sources of vitamin K, which aids the body’s anti-inflammatory processes and helps preserve bone density. If osteoporosis runs in your family, this is why it is crucial to make sure you are eating enough of these vegetables.

They are a great source of calcium, which also helps to prevent osteoporosis, as well as iron and folate. Best of all, your body will reap greater benefits from eating delicious leafy greens instead of taking a bunch of vitamin supplements. The vitamins and minerals are all right there already in perfect proportion in the leaves, and are able to be more completely digested and utilized by the body.

2) Prevent or Lower Risks of Cancer

This is still a newer area of study, but doctors and scientists have already discovered that eating leafy green vegetables on a regular basis can prevent formation of cancer cells and even halt the growth of already existent cells.

Leafy green vegetables are loaded with carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. When free radicals enter the body, they can cause cells to mutate, creating cancer cells. These carotenoids are extraordinarily powerful antioxidants, eliminating free radicals before they even have a chance to do this.

Free radicals also get a double whammy from the other vitamins in the leafy greens, like C and E, which also have antioxidant properties.

Kale Plant

The folate found in the vegetables is needed for the DNA repair of healthy cells. Therefore, eating greens discourages cell mutations (cancer) while encouraging healthy cells to multiply and thrive. If you know that there is any type of cancer in your family medical history, your chances of someday having that type of cancer too increase.

A diet rich with greens makes a wonderful as well as tasty preventative measure. While leafy greens cannot fully eliminate established cancer cells from the body, scientists have discovered that they inhibit the growth of cancerous cells on the skin, in the breast, lung, and various places inside of the digestive system. When combined with other treatment options, these vegetables can be an effective aid in the fight against cancer.

3) Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Leafy green vegetables like kale, arugula, collard greens, spinach, mustard or turnip greens, and Swiss chard are all excellent food choices if you are looking to lose weight or simply nourish your body at its already healthy weight.

Green leafy vegetables are jam-packed with fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer. The soluble and insoluble fiber in the greens require more work for your body to digest than breads and starches. Greens though are a healthy type of carbohydrate that will give you energy after you eat it, but without the crash later.

These vegetables are also naturally low in sodium and help to lower your cholesterol. Best of all, leafy green vegetables are incredibly flavorful, much more so than iceberg lettuce for example. If you are trying a new healthy diet and are dreading seemingly boring meals like salads, replace the lettuce with chard, spinach, or arugula.

Leafy green vegetables are incredibly versatile. Enjoy cooked and seasoned collard greens or mustard greens. Add greens to sauces or smoothies. Having such freedom to be creative can make healthy eating fun, interesting, and a lifestyle that you will want to maintain.

The benefits of eating leafy green vegetables probably go beyond being able to maintain a healthy weight, helping prevent cancer, and providing an excellent source of essential vitamins. Researchers are still working to discover new chemical compounds found in these vegetables and always find that the compounds do some other amazing thing for our bodies.

If you are a person who rarely or never eats his or her greens, research some recipes, make a trip to the grocery store, and try some of these delicious vegetables for yourself. They are so affordable that you really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

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Sources:

http://www.m.webmd.com/diet/features/leafy-greens-rated
http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/FCS3/FCS3567/FCS3567.pdf
http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199
http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_leafy_vegetables.html

13 thoughts on “Benefits of Eating Green Leafy Vegetables

  1. I’m always very pleased when I come across good information like this.

    It’s so nice to read about what each of these leafy greens can actually do for our bodies.

    I had no idea that Iceberg lettuce was nothing more than a sandwich stuffing hydrator.

    I have a lot of spinach myself, but maybe I should broaden my array of leafy greens now that I know more about the benefits of all these.

    Thanks for the detailed info!

    Cheers, Tony.

  2. Hello Chris, Just title of your website is great. Actually more than great. I enjoyed reading and I wish just by reading I could lose weight. No pain no gain, they say. try to get those links to open on the next page. people don’t normally take a pen and write the link address they just want to click and automatically it will take them to another page and if they don’t like it they will close but still stay on your page. thank you and keep writing

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Nice to here you like the title of the website but we have no idea what links you are on about? Are you referring to the sources at the bottom of the article? These cannot be direct links as it will hamper our search engine positioning ( and nobody will get to read this awesome content! ). Source links should ALWAYS be plain text and NEVER a hyperlink!
      We appreciate your input but we know every trick in the book – we’ve done this many times before 🙂

  3. Hi Chris,
    Wonderful site and a great article. Thanks particularly for information on benefits of eating veggies more often. Indeed there is a lot chemopreventive biochemistry in chlorophyll containing greens that trap aflatoxins and other destructive mutagens present in modern day bad nutritional habits and environment. Their antioxidative and imunomodulatory properties are also remarkable. Spinach in particular is an excellent example.
    Your site is very informative and please continue informing us on proper dietary habits that will lead to longevity of a quality life.
    Boniface

  4. I run a natural skin care website, and I can definitely vouch for the fact that leafy greens are the ticket to clear, beautiful, healthy skin!

    I have to admit that personally, “delicious” is the last word I would use to describe greens. For years I despised and ignored them, until I discovered green smoothies. I’m so thankful that I finally found a way I could enjoy them (or at least tolerate them), because as you’ve said, their benefits are extraordinary and innumerable.

    Thanks for sharing this useful information! I hope it inspires people to incorporate more of these nutritional powerhouses into their daily lives.

  5. Hi there Chris,

    Green is such an important ingredient in my diet. When I don’t take enough of them, I have poorer digestion and my toilet business is not smooth.

    But the real benefit of it is seeing my dad becoming a vegetarian and the improvement of his health as a result of that. Lots of greens have done him good. He was at the cardiologist the other day and the doctor said he has a heart of a 40 year old.

    My dad is 72 🙂

  6. The source of vitamin A found in these vegetables is actually beta carotene, not actual vitamin A. Your body converts beta carotene into vitamin A. Also, beta carotene is an antioxidant in its own right. The big benefit here is that you can’t really overdose on beta carotene like you can actual vitamin A.

    I have often put leafy greens into a juicer and mixed it with carrot and apple. That often seems like a more enjoyable way to get my greens than by actually eating them. What do you think?

    1. Sorry I really don’t know where you’re getting your information from. 99% of leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, beta carotene also.

      I think you may have got your wires crossed a little bit somewhere as a portion of what you are saying is certainly right…but then it’s backed up with the rest of the misinformation which is obviously wrong.

      You seem to have the wrong outlook on it all, These vegetables are not proven to be awesome at improving vitamin A status but it is there…regardless of the beta carotene (which is also there!).

      See what I’m getting at?

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