Most of us know that we ought to incorporate more green foods into our diet, but do we know why? Greens aren’t just good for you in general, they’re packed with nutrients that can stave off illnesses, promote a healthy weight, and help various organs and systems in your body function better. Read on to learn more about all the benefits leafy greens have on your health.
1. Cancer prevention
Leafy greens are high in antioxidants and vitamins that can help our bodies prevent and fight cancer. PowerofPositivity.com explains how this works:
“Vitamins A, C, and E are potent antioxidants. The National Cancer Institute informs us that these vitamins eliminate harmful free radicals. If free radicals are at high levels, they can damage cellular components, including cell membranes, DNA, and proteins. This may expedite the development of cancer. Laboratory studies show that antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E, prevent the variety of bodily damage caused by the formation of free radicals. As a result, many researchers believe that antioxidants may fight the growth of cancerous tumors.”
To boost your body’s cancer-fighting responses, consume leafy greens like kale, spinach, and salad greens. They contain high levels of vitamins A, C, E, and K. Spinach, bok choy, and kale also contain folate and other B vitamins known for helping prevent the development of cancer. Folate also decreases the risk of breast, cervix, and lung cancers.
2. Weight loss
Another benefit of leafy greens is that they are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them a great addition to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. They also have a low glycemic index, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes, making them an excellent choice for diabetics.
3. Overall body health
Consuming leafy greens maintains the health and functioning of various organs and systems in your body including your eyes, lung, brain, bones, skin, and immune system. For example, lettuce can reduce inflammation and even help you get a better night’s sleep! Leafy greens also rich in minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium.
- Potassium regulates heartbeat and blood pressure, proper nerve conduction, protein synthesis, glycogen levels, and muscle contraction.
- Manganese helps brain and nervous system function, bone health, and inflammation.
- Iron boosts energy, hemoglobin, athletic performance, and promotes healthy pregnancy.
- Calcium is essential to bone and oral health, promotes healthy body weight, and is good for heart muscles.
Which greens should you start incorporating into your diet?
There are so many different types of leafy greens out there, and if you’re not used to eating them or cooking them, it can be overwhelming to figure out which ones you should buy for you and your family. Try starting with some tried and true greens like spinach, lettuce (especially romaine), arugula, and bok choy. These leafy greens are rich in vitamins and minerals, are easy to prepare, and fit into many dishes you already make. For example you could add kale or spinach to a breakfast casserole or serve lettuce and arugula as a salad alongside a steak and baked potato.