NUTRIENTS IN LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
The more you consume leafy green vegetables, the healthier you will become.
There’s a fad among health-conscious diners for dark leafy green vegetables. However, few of us meet the USDA’s recommended daily consumption of these nutritional powerhouses.
So, what characteristics of a vegetable make it a “powerhouse” vegetable? A powerhouse vegetable is a vegetable that, on average, provides 10 percent or more of the daily value of 17 different essential nutrients for every 100 calories it contains, as stated in a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nothing beats the flavor of seasonal green ingredients
A salad filled with lettuce and veggies is great, for sure. But if you add a unique list of leafy green vegetables to the mix, you can turn a boring desk salad into a big bowl full of flavors, textures, and nutrients.
Even if you don’t have a lot of space in your garden, you can find an unlimited supply of leafy greens that you may incorporate into your next meal. According to Maya Feller, a certified dietitian, and member of the mbg Collective, “I always keep a selection of leafy green vegetables on hand,” including both sweet and bitter greens.
A diet rich in leafy green vegetables improves our health and extends our lifespan.
Yes!!! Leafy green vegetables minimize the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental decline.
LIST OF LEAFY GREENS TO CONSUME MORE OFTEN
The following is a list of leafy green vegetables to include in your diet.
Kale, another popular leafy green, is a nutritional powerhouse. It has a high antioxidant content, and the stems are abundant in prebiotics, which helps feed the healthy bacteria in your gut microbiota. Kale also contains other good nutrients for your health, such as vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium, fiber, and sulfur.
Consuming kale in its raw form helps preserve the antioxidants it contains and makes it an excellent base for salads. Despite this, some people find the texture to be a little off-putting, and if this is the case for you, “massaging” the leaves with olive oil can help make them more palatable. Aside from that, kale is a great leafy green that works well in smoothies, soups, and various other recipes. You can find it at most grocery stores.
Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable that may be quickly and easily included in various recipes, such as salads, soups, sauces, and smoothies. It has an impressively high nutrient content.
Additionally, it is loaded with folate, which is an essential nutrient for the synthesis of red blood cells as well as the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnant women.
One study on the neural tube defect spina bifida found that a low folate intake during the first trimester of pregnancy was one of the most preventable risk factors for this condition.
In addition to taking prenatal vitamins, eating spinach is a great way to get more folate while pregnant.
3. SWISS CHARD
Swiss chard leaves are dark green, and the thick stalk can be red, white, yellow, or green. It comes from the same family as beets and spinach and is often used in Mediterranean cooking.
It tastes earthy and contains minerals and vitamins, like potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Swiss chard also has a flavonoid called syringic acid, which is different from other flavonoids and may help lower blood sugar levels.
In two experiments involving diabetic rats, oral treatment of syringic acid for 30 days reduced blood glucose levels.
However, it is crucial to note that these were small animal trials, and there is no human evidence to support the notion that syringic acid may aid blood sugar control.
Swiss chard stems are crisp and incredibly nutritious, even though most people discard them.
Next time, use all sections of the Swiss chard plant in soups, tacos, and casseroles.
Arugula is a leafy green with a characteristic peppery flavor that originated in Morocco, Portugal, and Turkey in the Mediterranean. It’s also known as rocket, rucola, and Italian cress.
This nutritious green is abundant in fiber and phytochemicals, which are plant substances that contribute to plants’ color, taste, and smell. Arugula is also high in antioxidants, which can help repair cell damage.
Broccoli may be good for your health in many ways, such as by helping you digest food better, lowering your cholesterol, and letting your body take in more vitamins and minerals. It might also help prevent allergic reactions, boost the immune system, protect the skin, and help prevent congenital disabilities, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve vision and ocular health.
Broccoli is high in fiber and amino acids such as tryptophan. It may also contain vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein zeaxanthin, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, according to the USDA FoodData Central. Further, it contains important vitamins such as vitamin B6, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B1, and vitamin K. It may also contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus.
In terms of the diverse organic compounds that it contains may be an abundant source of the phytonutrient glucosinolates, isothiocyanate, flavonoids like kaempferol, and many other antioxidant molecules that are beneficial to human health!
6. COLLARD GREENS
Collard greens, like kale and spring greens, are loose-leaf greens. They have thick leaves that have a slight bitterness to them.
They have a texture comparable to kale and cabbage. Their name is derived from the word “colewort.”
Collard greens are high in calcium and vitamins A, B9 (folate), and C. When it comes to leafy greens, they’re also one of the top providers of vitamin K. In fact, one cup of cooked collard greens (190 grams) contains 1,045 percent of the daily value for vitamin K.
The importance of vitamin K in blood clotting is well-known. In addition, more research is being done to see if it can help bone health.
The research discovered that those who consumed less than 109 micrograms of vitamin K per day had a substantially higher risk of hip fractures, implying a relationship between this vitamin and bone health.
Watercress is a Brassicaceae plant, making it a close relative to arugula and mustard greens in taste and appearance.
Herbalists have employed it for generations because of its supposed medicinal powers. However, there have been no human studies to support these claims.
Watercress extract has been discovered to be beneficial in treating cancer stem cells and inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and invasion through in vitro experiments.
Watercress adds a bitter and spicy note to otherwise bland dishes because of its bitter and spicy flavor.
The herb’s king Basil herb is an ancient and famous herbal plant high in phytonutrients that are beneficial to health. Many civilizations around the world regard this highly esteemed plant as a “sacred herb.”
Basil contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Basil is good for you because of its antioxidants and essential oils. Most of these compounds are lost when basil is dried, so whenever you can, choose fresh basil to get the most out of it.
Basil’s strong anti-inflammatory characteristics can help treat many diseases and conditions. Essential oils like eugenol, citronellol, and linalool are very strong. Their ability to stop enzymes from working helps reduce inflammation. Basil’s anti-inflammatory properties may help lower the risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and bowel conditions that cause inflammation. Basil could also help with fever, headaches, sore throats, colds, coughs, and the flu.
Basil could slow the release of sugar into the blood, which is very important for people with diabetes. The glycemic load of the herb is very low. Basil’s essential oil also helps lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, a risk factor for people with diabetes that doesn’t go away.
9. TURNIP GREENS
Like kale and broccoli, turnip greens belong to the cruciferous vegetable family. They are nutrient-dense while being low in calories. Moreover, the high nutritious content of turnip greens can aid in improving health and avoiding disease.
One 55-gram cup of raw turnip greens has 18 calories, 0.82 grams of protein, 0.17 grams of fat, 3.92 gram of carbohydrate, 1.8 gram of fiber, and 0.45 gram of sugar. They are also high in minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Further, turnip greens have more than 250 mg of nitrates per 100 grams of leaves, which is relatively high.
Turnip greens are high in choline, a vitamin that aids sleep, muscle activity, learning, and memory. They also offer protection against cancer.
Turnip greens also contain alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant. In diabetes patients, have been proven to lower glucose levels, boost insulin sensitivity, and avoid oxidative stress-induced alterations.
10. BOK CHOY
Bok choy is a green vegetable that comes from the Brassica family. It is a cruciferous vegetable. It is also called Chinese cabbage or pak choi. This Brassica doesn’t form a “head” like most cruciferous vegetables grown in the United States, like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Instead, it is a type of cabbage that doesn’t form heads. It has thick, crunchy white stems and wide, green leaves.
Bok choy is crunchy and tasty and is also full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are good for your body. It contains antioxidants and other compounds that are good for your health, just like other dark, leafy greens.
Studies show that cruciferous vegetables like bok choy can make you less likely to get cancer. Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, folate, and selenium are some cancer-fighting substances in it. Vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene are all powerful antioxidants that can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. This may lower your risk of getting cancer. Selenium might help slow the rate at which tumors grow. Bok choy is also full of fiber, which keeps your digestive system healthy and may help prevent colon cancer.
There are a few ways that bok choy may help lower your risk of getting heart disease. One reason is that it has folate and vitamin B6 in it. These nutrients help your body get rid of homocysteine. Too much homocysteine can hurt your blood vessels and make you more likely to have problems with your heart. Studies show that the risk of heart disease is lower for people who eat a lot of leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables.
Endive belongs to the chicory family and has a mildly bitter flavor. Like other leafy greens, it is one of the healthiest foods you can consume since it is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, all of which are beneficial to your health.
Endive contains a potent flavonoid known as kaempferol. Kaempferol has been proven in preliminary but promising trials to inhibit various types of cancer, including those located in the breast, brain, liver, colon, prostate, lung, pancreas, and others.
Moreover, the endive is abundant in potassium, fiber, and folate, which are important elements for heart health.
Further, endive supports good vision, aids in weight loss, and supports a healthy pregnancy.
12. BEET GREENS
Be careful not to throw away the beautiful beet greens attached to the beetroots. The entire beet, from root to leaf, is delectable and nutritious, as are the lovely green locks adorn the beetroot.
You may know more about the beetroot’s (the part of the beet that looks like a bulb) amazing nutritional value, but beet greens are also full of super nutrients. Beet greens help your body fight off sickness, lower blood pressure, improve mental health, strengthen bones, and do more.
In the last few years, kale, spinach, and chard have gotten much attention, but beet greens also deserve love. Beet greens are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which make them a portion of very healthy food. Eating more beet greens is great for you in so many ways. Plus, beet greens are so versatile that you can eat them in many different ways, like raw in smoothies, sautéed as a side dish, or steamed in soups.
Leafy green vegetables listed above are terrific nutrient-dense additions to your diet. To our good fortune, many types of leafy greens are available all through the year, and it is simple to include them in our daily meals as part of a well-balanced diet.