When given the choice to eat a fresh piece of fruit or a large green salad, most of us would choose the fruit. But while apples and oranges are important to our diets, we also need to make sure we’re eating enough greens.
Your mom was on to something when she told you to eat your vegetables. Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens … they’re all good for us, and yet we do an awfully good job of avoiding them. If you’re convinced that greens are “just vegetables” consider this:
We tend to eat many foods with high acidity levels, but eating green plant foods helps balance our pH levels, which helps the body maintain a more neutralized balance. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are particularly important for optimal brain functioning, are found in some dark greens. The chlorophyll from green plants helps minimize toxins in the blood. These vegetables also promote colon and heart health.
Leafy vegetables are low in calories, making them ideal for those hoping to lose weight. They also help minimize the risk of cancer and heart disease due to the fact they are low in fat and high in dietary fiber. Green vegetables are also high in countless nutrients, vitamins and enzymes that keep our body functioning properly. These include iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins K, E and C. Pregnant women are advised to indulge in greens because the folic acid provided by them is said to help prevent birth defects while those with type 2 diabetes benefit from the high magnesium content and low glycemic index.
Green vegetables have phytochemicals, which protect cells from damage and ensure the eyes remain healthy. They are also antioxidants, which means they support your immune system and keep you healthy all year long.
Clearly there are several good reasons to eat green vegetables, but it can be tough to eat veggies piled high in a salad, especially in the chilly winter months when all we’d rather do is bundle up with a warm cup of soup. But we need the vitamins and minerals they provide year round, so if a salad isn’t sounding all that appetizing, consider these strategies of vegetable preparation:
· Add greens to a fiber smoothie.
· Get your daily dose of vegetables via a wheatgrass shot. They can be quite potent, so consider mixing the drink with apples or another fruit to make it a bit more appetizing.
· Munch on raw vegetables. Grabbing a handful of celery sticks or small pieces of broccoli is a great substitution for sweeter, less healthy snacks.
· Steam asparagus, broccoli and spinach, then sprinkle with brown sugar for a tasty addition to an average meal.
Learn more about the health benefits of green vegetables and how you can integrate them into your diet this month at The Specific Chiropractic Center. Join us Wednesday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m. as we explore the benefits of greens.
Craig, Winston, MPH, PhD, RD. Health Benefits of Green Leafy Vegetables: Greens – A Neglected Gold Mine. Vegetarian-Nutrition.info. Retrieved March 2, 2010 from http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/benefits-of-green-leafy-vegetables.php.
The Health Benefits of Eating Greens. Natural-Health-Girl.com Retrieved March 2, 2010 from http://www.natural-health-girl.com/eating-greens.html.