You probably fit nicely into the 99% of Americans who don’t eat enough veggies. You might think you’re getting sufficient veggie intake, what with your vitamins and all, but the truth is, you’re body will thrive even more if you up your intake.
It can be really hard preparing and planning on eating 6 servings of vegetables a day, but when you’re body is really going through something difficult, like an autoimmune disorder or even just the common cold, one of the first things I would recommend is upping your dark green leafy vegetable intake. Prepare them however you want, just get them in. I like to make a big pot of veggie stew when I am sick and throw a bunch of kale in there. I add spices like tumeric and garlic to help boost the immune system and cut down inflammation. I roast a big pan of vegetables focusing on the “green” ones. I scroll through pinterest for new ideas for salads and veggies. Trying a new recipe each week will keep things interesting and fun.
Dark leafy greens have been celebrated and embraced for reducing inflammation in the body. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and flavonoids like quercetin are just a few of the powerful anti-inflammatory agents found in vegetables.
Vegetables provide fiber to maintain bowel regularity and prevent the risk of health problems. Great sources include kale, avocado, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and carrots.
It’s a myth that iron isn’t present in plant-based diets. Vegetables, which provide non-heme iron, are higher in iron per serving than animal sources, which provide heme iron. So, what’s the difference? Heme iron has an increased bio-availability, meaning it’s more easily absorbed in the body than non-heme iron. That said, some vegetables still pack a punch. Soybeans, lentils, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnip greens all have high percentages of iron per serving. To boost absorption of non-heme iron, you can pair it with food rich in vitamin C.
Osteoporosis still troubles millions of people around the world. Although many believe milk is the primary source to prevent bone loss, vegetables have high amounts of calcium to help keep us strong. Some examples are collards, cabbage, bok choy, and kale.
Think essential omega fatty acids only come from fish oil? Think again! A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
When you nourish yourself with greens, you may naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick.
Greens help strengthen the blood and respiratory system. Leafy green vegetables are also high-alkaline foods, which may be beneficial to people exposed to higher amounts of pollution in urban areas.
Nutritionally, greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. They are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.
Benefits from eating greens include:
Blood Purification, cancer prevention, improved circulation, strengthened immune system, promotion of healthy intestinal flora, improved liver, gall bladder, and kidney function, cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus.
Greens to eat in moderation Include:
Spinach, swiss chard, and beet greens because they are high in oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of the calcium these foods contain. However, rotating between a variety of green vegetables shouldn’t cause any nutritional consequences.
I hope you’ll gain some inspiration for yourself from this article to go out there and eat more dark green leafy veggies!
Adapted from 7 Reasons Kale Is the New Beef Ettinger, J. (2011, September 30). 7 reasons kale is the new beef. Organic Authority. Retrieved from www.organicauthority.com/health/reasons-kale-is-the-new-beef-nutritious-sustainable.htm