After you have read this you will understand why super greens should be part of everyone’s diet. They contain an array of antioxidants, anti-aging and other disease-fighting compounds. Some chemicals that they contain can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA. They can also help to support healthy detoxification and a healthy digestive system. To top this off, greens are often very low in calories and high in fibre so can help to fill you up and may support weight management, what’s not to love?
Kale is an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable. Just one cup of chopped kale (67 g) provides your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, twice the recommended intake of vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene), and lots of vitamin K, critical for blood clotting. Many important minerals are found in kale, some of which are generally lacking in the modern diet. This includes calcium, potassium and magnesium. Kale is high in fibre for good digestive function, is an excellent source of antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have numerous beneficial effects on health. Furthermore, it helps to support detoxification as it is rich in compounds called glucosinolates along with other members of the cruciferous vegetable family ( cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli). As a added bonus it is also very low in calories but still provides significant bulk that should help you feel full.
The nutritional value of spinach indicates it to be a very nutrient-dense food. It is low in calories yet very high in vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients. spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Spinach is also one of the best sources of lutein – a carotenoid compound that is thought to be protective of eye health – as well as other members of the carotenoid family. In other words, it’s loaded with good things for every part of your body!
Like most other greens, chard is a good source of many vitamins and minerals. It packs in an impressive list of vitamins, nutrients, and organic compounds, which include vitamins K, C, and A, as well as vitamin E, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. In terms of minerals, Swiss chard has a wealth of magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, sodium, and copper. Research has shown that chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempfrol, carotenoids, betalains and syringic acid which can aid with blood control.
These days, the avocado has become an exceedingly popular food among health conscious individuals. It is often referred to as a superfood… which is not surprising given its health properties Compared to the other green foods discussed here, avocado has a very different nutrient profile. Avocados are actually fruits, although they don’t taste sweet. One of the highlights of avocados is their high potassium content, they actually contain more potassium than a banana. Potassium is a nutrient that most people aren’t getting enough of, it is vital for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, and for nerve and muscle function. Their creamy pulp is a very good source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acids as well as omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid- all of which are linked to heart health benefits.
A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, bok choy doesn’t get very much attention here in the UK. Give it some attention please, it provides good, very good, or excellent amounts of 21 nutrients. Unlike some other members of the cabbage family, these ranked nutrients include omega-3s, as well as the antioxidant mineral zinc. So consider it your secret weapon because 1 cup contains only 10 calories, but gives you a good dose of fibre, antioxidants, key nutrients and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Very few people think to buy watercress. When they do, it’s usually just for some sort of garnish. What this green lacks in popularity it makes up for in nutritional value: The calorie count is almost negligible and it’s a great source of vitamins and other nutrients, including lutein, an antioxidant that can help keep your eyes, skin, and heart healthy. Watercress also contains significant levels of glucosinolate compounds, many studies suggest that these have anti-cancer effects. Flavonoid antioxidants in watercress (carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin) also support good vision, have benefits for the cardiovascular system, and help protect cells against damage from free radicals.
I could continue but there are so many wonderful greens I will leave it there. So, remember the importance of greens, try to incorporate these into your diet daily to reap the rewards.