Leafy greens offer a powerful combination of vitamins and minerals, as well as phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, inflammation fighters, and overall health boosters. There are countless reasons to eat (and love!) your greens—here are 10.
1. Heart disease protection
Research in the journal Atherosclerosis found that vegetables with a high lutein content such as leafy greens have a potentially significant effect when it comes to reducing inflammation in heart disease patients.
2. Weight loss booster
If weight loss had a color, it would surely be green. That’s because leafy greens are power-packed with nutrients that help maintain a healthy metabolism. They’re also low in calories but loaded with fiber, which is important for weight management.
3. Heart muscle aid
Leafy greens are among the best food sources of the mineral potassium, which is needed to regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Eating more greens, such as Swiss chard, is a great way to increase our intake of this important nutrient.
4. Eye health enhancer
Leafy greens such as kale contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are critical nutrients in maintaining eye health and vision, particularly in reducing risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
5. Osteoporosis protector
Because leafy greens are a rich source of critical bone-building nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, adding them to your diet may help protect against osteoporosis.
6. Cancer fighter
Leafy greens are packed with anticancer compounds, including carotenoids—antioxidants that protect cells—making them an excellent addition to your daily diet to help prevent, or aid in the treatment of, cancer.
7. Diabetes defender
Leafy greens are rich in dietary fiber, flavonoids, and antioxidant compounds, including carotenoids, vitamins C and E, as well as folate and potassium—all nutrients that have been shown to be protective against diabetes.
8. Liver helper
An animal study published in the medical journal Lipids in Health and Disease found that eating more leafy greens improved the liver’s fatty acid profile, which researchers believe points to their ability to help protect against cardiovascular disease.
9. Lymphatic system cleanser
Leafy greens contain many vital vitamins and minerals that boost the lymphatic system’s ability to keep our tissues clean and to help fight infection.
10. So many to choose from
Although some of these great greens may be regular visitors to your dinner plate, others may be less familiar to you. Take it from us, though, they’re all more than worthy of your acquaintance! Go beyond the usual spinach or kale by trying these A+ greens:
- beet greens