Why You Should Eat Your Greens

  • When I ask clients “How would you describe your nutrition?,” most answer with a simple, “Good.” But is it really? If you are not eating mostly plants, your nutrition is not all that good. 

     

    It’s true that following a truly healthy diet is not easy for most people, especially when it comes to eating vegetables. It’s not that hard to enjoy fruits like strawberries, bananas, and apples. But green vegetables can be another matter.

     

    Let me share some of the potential benefits of what I feel are the healthiest vegetables in the world. Maybe next time you go shopping you’ll be motivated to put them in your cart. 

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    Reduce inflammation: Your ability to naturally control inflammation depends on what you eat. By eating leafy green vegetables, you’ll be consuming omega-3, an important fat that helps balance the omega-6 in your diet. That balance is a cornerstone of an anti-inflammatory diet. By eating green vegetables such as Swiss chard, you will be consuming betalains, which also can help control inflammation. Many health problems, from arthritis to heart disease to cancer, have links to inflammation, and by eating more foods that have been found to reduce inflammation, you can lower your risk of experiencing poor health as you age.

     

    Improve bone health: When you consider bone health, you probably think about milk. However, leafy green vegetables like kale can be extremely beneficial for bone health too. These vegetables also contain vitamins K, A, C, B and E. Plus, they contain calcium. In fact, Swiss chard contains as much calcium as 2 percent milk. There’s little question that green vegetables can help keep your bones strong.

     

    Reduce blood sugar: Your blood sugar levels throughout the day depend on what you eat and how your body controls blood sugar naturally. This is important because high blood sugar can damage the kidneys, nerves, eyes and more. Swiss chard is also beneficial in this regard. It contains a chemical called syringic acid that has been shown to reduce the conversion of carbohydrates to simple sugars in the body. By slowing down the production of sugar, Swiss chard can help reduce the harmful effects of sugar

     

    Lower cholesterol: Are you taking a prescription medication to help you lower cholesterol? If so, you might want to eat more kale and collards. These two vegetables are able to increase bile production. The more bile that is produced and eliminated, the less cholesterol is in the body to cause harm. Some researchers believe that kale and collards may be as effective as prescription medications at lowering cholesterol. Now that’s something to chew on!

     

    Reduce cancer risk: Everyone wants to avoid getting cancer. The healthiest vegetables in the world--Swiss chard, kale and collards—have been found to help reduce your risk of developing colon, breast, bladder, prostate and other cancers. The antioxidants and phytonutrients, such as glucosinolates, in these vegetables all work together to protect your health.

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    So why resist eating more vegetables? The benefits gained consuming them have the potential to improve your health significantly. Your protection against diseases increases when cholesterol, sugar, and inflammation levels are kept to a minimum. Fractures are avoided when bones are kept strong. Even cancer risk can be lowered through a plant-based diet. With all these reasons to eat such healthy vegetables, why keep resisting? If it’s a matter of taste, try the recipes in these vegetable cookbooks:

     

    The Art of Real Food by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny 

    The Vegetable Dishes I Cannot Live Without by Mollie Katzen 

    The Best 125 Vegetable Dishes by Susann Geiskopf–Hadler and Mindy Toomay

Published On: April 27, 2014