The benefits of leaf vegetables get valued since immemorial. In the current scenario when the food habit has changed tremendously in people, leaf vegetables remain one of the most beneficial sources of minerals and vitamins. As per a recent study, our ancestors too showed strong faith in vegetables even 20,000 years ago.
Leaf vegetables are a rich source of anti-oxidants, vitamin C, fiber and minerals. These are the essential components to have a healthy body and mind. The United States Department of Agriculture has stated that an adult should consume at least 2.5-3 cups of leafy vegetables to meet the essential dietary guidelines. However, on average, most numbers of people consume less than 1.7cups of vegetable per day.
Why Choose Green Leafy Vegetables?
Leafy vegetables have innumerable benefits to its credit which makes it the most preferred food for the health-conscious lot. People are generally aware of the fact that apart from supplying your body with necessary nutrients, leafy vegetables are also easy to digest and provide you with shiny skin and healthy hair.
Dark green leafy vegetables are the perfect source of several vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C. It also has iron and calcium in it which is very important for the human body. The most popular ones are kale, spinach(1), broccoli, collard, and cabbage.
Leafy vegetables are a healthy source of energy and hence should be chosen over other types of foods. Especially the food habit of consuming junk food must be replaced with leaf vegetables which are a complete package of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
[Read: Vitamins for Hair Growth]
Green Leafy Vegetables Benefits
The color green signifies life, nature, health, and goodness. When we enlist the health benefits that leaf vegetables provide, we tend to count on the four primary factors: nutrition, alkalization, oxygenation, and detoxification. Let us look at ten health benefits that leafy vegetable gives:
1. Burns Fat
Leafy vegetables are low-calorie food packed with rich nutrients and minerals. That’s a win-win situation for people consuming leafy vegetables. It gives you many nutrients, minerals, vitamins and at the same time does not have many calories in it. You can also consume these leafy vegetables without any trouble.
[Also Read: Cabbage to Burn Fat]
Folate is an extremely important factor for our body. Most numbers of people today are struggling with low folate ratio affecting their body. It is essential for DNA and RNA(2) synthesis which is in abundance in leafy vegetables.
3. Anti-Aging Properties
As leaf vegetables have Vitamin K, folate, Omega 3 fatty acid, and antioxidants present in it in abundance, it helps in restoring the skin health and helps in resisting the effect of age to reflect on your skin.
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4. Heart Healthy
Fiber regulates carbohydrate and triglyceride levels in our body and hence prevents any blockage in cardiovascular parts. They also regulate the nitric acid level in our blood and hence save the heart from any trouble.
5. Improving Brain Function
Since leaf vegetable is an apt source of folate, calcium, Vitamin K and fiber, it helps in smoothening the functioning of the brain. All these contribute to maintaining the hemoglobin level in the body and aids in avoiding depression and anxiety.
6. Keep Your Bones Strong
Calcium ensures your bone health, and since leaf vegetables are a rich source of calcium, they provide healthy bones. Regular consumption of leafy vegetables would ensure that you inherit healthy bones for most of your age.
7. Ease you to Conceive
Doctors strongly recommend leaf vegetables for females planning a baby. Studies have shown that if you consume leaf vegetables regularly, then the nutrient and vitamin level in your body will be significant, it will help you conceive easily.
[Read: Benefits of Cauliflower]
8. Prevents Cancer
Obesity, smoking, and unhealthy lifestyle lead to cancer over the years. However, if you ensure that you eat right and consume the right set of nutrients, you may avoid the most number of diseases including cancer. Leaf vegetable is a perfect source of getting the right amount of nutrients.
9. Good for Eyesight
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin responsible for maintaining your eyesight. To ensure that you possess healthy eyes, it is important that you include more leaf vegetable in your diet.
10. Beat Diabetes
It is a known fact that glucose imbalance in the body leads to diabetes. Eating right and including magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and polyphenols in your diet would regulate the glucose level and ensure that you do not become a trap to diabetes. It helps you to regulate the glycemic level and insulin sensitivity in your body.
Since these ten facts are just some of the goodness that leaf vegetables possess, it is a must-to-have food for all of us. Hence, there is no doubt about the benefits of leaf vegetables because all that it has is goodness.
[Also Read: Treat Diabetes Using Natural Remedies]
Green Leafy Vegetables List you Ought to Consider
After discussing the health benefits that leafy vegetables give, one cannot miss from including them in their daily diet. Let us take a quick look at some of the leafy greens that you must incorporate in your daily diet:
- Spinach: Vitamin A and vitamin K, antioxidants (beta carotene and lutein)
- Kale: Vitamin B, potassium, calcium, copper, Vitamin A, C & K, also rich in antioxidants.
- Broccoli: Sulforaphane, Vitamin K & C, folate, manganese, potassium.
- Cabbage: Fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants.
- Collard Green: Fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants.
- Chard: Fiber, protein, Vitamin A, C and K, manganese, antioxidants.
- Lettuce: Potassium, calcium, and fiber.
The above-stated list mentions the primary nutrients present in each of these leafy greens that you must include in your daily diet. Regular consumption of green leafy vegetables would ensure that you combat the most number of problems. You can certainly avoid many major/minor diseases by revising your current unhealthy diet plan.
Different Ways to Incorporate Green Leafy Vegetables in Your Diet
There are many options available if you are willing to make leafy green an important part of your everyday food. You can refer to the following options available to consume green veggies without spoiling the taste of your favorite dishes:
- Since leafy greens are not something one would like to consume in its base form every day, an easy and simple start would be to give equal space to green veggies in your veggie sandwich. So club the Green leafy veggie along with other veggies of your choice to increase the nutrition value of your sandwich the next time.
- A green smoothie of spinach or kale mixed with your favorite fruit juice can qualify to be your favorite drink. Regular consumption would ensure smooth functioning of your internal organs.
- Add leafy greens to your favorite soup the next time.
- You can toss the pasta in sauté veggies for adding nutrition value to it. Heat some olive oil and sauté the veggies simultaneously while preparing the pasta on the other side. Add the green leaf at the final stage so that they retain their nutrition value.
- Add sauté green veggies to stir-fried noodles for better taste and health. While preparing noodles make sure to add lots of veggies as that won’t affect the taste and will enable you to have many veggies.
- In case you like the taste of spinach/kale and don’t mind the taste when it comes to retaining the amount of energy and goodness, then blend it in a juicer. Consume this juice regularly for effective health benefits.
Since a healthy mind resides in a healthy body, it is important to ensure that what you are eating is right. Leafy vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and vitamins like vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B. So do not forget to include the benefits of leaf vegetable in your daily diet.