Lifestyle

Health Guide: Green Vegetables and Their Benefits

Eating fruits and vegetables is of the key essence for a healthy diet. Our diet should be varied, well-balanced and nutritious, consisting of diverse fresh produce. However, one group of vegetables has a special place in our diet due to their numerous health benefits. These are green vegetables, including leafy greens. Even though they have high nutritional value, many people (and children) don’t find them appealing and tasty. (Image source)

Consequently, people avoid eating them. And if they knew about the myriad of health benefits they bring about, they’d surely try to incorporate them into their diets. The top health benefits include reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, mental illnesses as well as high blood pressure. What’s more, they are rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre, but low in calories.

We’ve compiled a list of just a few green vegetables along with their benefits – so, take a look. Just to give you a heads up – we’re going to mention leafy greens such as spinach, kale, cabbage, swiss chard and bok choy. Moreover, we’ll also mention other green vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and avocado. We’ll do our best to present you with their health benefits and perhaps give you some recipe ideas. Making some changes to your diet is one of the ultimate ways to achieve tip-top health.

1. Spinach

Let’s start with one of the most popular leafy green vegetables, advertised by our beloved cartoon character, Popeye – spinach. Spinach is popular due to its diverse use. You can easily include it in sauces, soups, salads and smoothies. One cup of raw spinach contains a high percentage of vitamin K, A and manganese. Also, it is rich in folate, which aids red blood cell production.

Furthermore, folate is also an essential pre-natal nutrient, as it prevents neural tube defects in pregnancy. It’s advisable to eat spinach during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also essential for children’s development. However, you probably noticed that your kids are not too eager to eat their spinach. To make it a habit, you should choose a child care centre that teaches kids the importance of eating greens as well as that offers a healthy and diverse menu.

2. Kale

Next on our list is kale. People consider kale to be one of the healthiest leafy greens on the planet as it’s nutrient-dense. It is packed with different minerals, vitamins as well as antioxidants. One cup of raw kale contains plenty of vitamins K, A and C as well as antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lutein. When it comes to consumption, it’s best to consume it raw, as by cooking it, it loses some nutritive value.

3. Cabbage

Cabbage is a diverse vegetable that comes in a few colours: green, white and purple. Brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli belong to the same group of the Brassica family. Cabbage has a slightly bitter flavour as vegetables in this family contain glucosinolates. This particular group of vegetables may have cancer-preventing properties, especially for lung and other types of cancer. Another big advantage of cabbage is the fact that you can ferment it into sauerkraut, which also has its benefits. It can improve your digestion, support your immune system and eleven help with weight loss.

4. Swiss chard

Another great leafy green is Swiss chard. It has dark-green leaves and a thick stalk. It belongs to the same vegetable family as spinach. Its taste is earthy and it is rich in vitamins C, A, K as well as magnesium, potassium and manganese. It is also unique as it contains a special compound that’s great for lowering blood pressure. Besides the leaves, you should also eat the stems as they are highly nutritious. You can make a soup with chard or put it into a casserole.

5. Bok choy

Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage. Its leaves are thick and dark green, making it great for soups and stir-fries. It contains selenium, which is essential for maintaining cognitive function, boosting the immune system as well as in cancer prevention. Moreover, it is beneficial for proper thyroid gland function, responsible for your metabolism.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains cancer-fighting antioxidants, numerous vitamins and minerals as well as fibre. It contains a lot of vitamin K, which is beneficial for your bone health, making them denser. Some studies have even shown that vitamin K is better for your bones than calcium, as together with vitamin D it improves bone metabolism. One cup of broccoli provides your body with sufficient vitamin K. Additionally, it boosts your energy and promotes blood health.

7. Asparagus

Asparagus is packed with nutrients and has quite a few health benefits. One such nutrient is the amino acid asparagine. It is responsible for the proper development and function of the brain, by improving your learning abilities as well as memory retention. Another essential nutrient it contains is glutathione, which is a detoxifying compound able to fight off carcinogens. It works well in the prevention of different types of cancer.

8. Avocado

The last on the list (but not in life) is avocado. Avocado is often referred to as a superfood due to its characteristics. It contains an astonishing number of vitamins and minerals, which is around 20. It also provides our body with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, being the only such fruit. They aid heart health as well as weight loss. Avocado also helps in lowering cholesterol.

9. Microgreens

Microgreens have recently become quite popular. But people are not exactly sure what these are. They are basically young green plants that produce seeds of various herbs and vegetables. Even though they are mostly used to garnish meals, they are quite beneficial for our health. They are rich in vitamins C, E and K and they have little calories.

This list contains only a few nutritional green vegetables, but there are many more. Don’t be afraid to try some green vegetables you haven’t tried before. Go online and find some simple recipes for preparing them. Your body will thank you. Also, while you’re at it, learn more about healthy snacks you can nibble on – they will significantly improve your overall health.

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