Dark green leafy vegetables are true superfoods that are brimming with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Unfortunately, only forty percent of Americans eat the one-half cup of leafy greens per day that the USDA recommends. Don't miss out on the health benefits leafy greens offer! There are many varieties of greens, and while they are most nutritious when eaten raw or lightly steamed, they make great additions to soups and stews!
A few favorite greens are:
- Kale. Known as one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, kale is an important “superfood." Researchers have identified over 45 different flavonoids in kale! Overflowing with anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering antioxidants, those same antioxidants promote heart and eye health. Additionally, kale is recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detox system.
- Collard Greens. Get your cholesterol levels in line with this super veggie! In a recent study, steamed collard greens led the way with it's ability to bind to bile acids that are made from cholesterol, resulting in lower cholesterol levels. Collard greens also offer of cancer protection with the four glucosinolates it contains: glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin. Each of these glucosinolates can be converted into an isothiocyanate (ITC) that helps supports detox and anti-inflammatory systems, which lowers cancer risk.
- Spinach. Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, and a cornucopia of vitamins. Second only to kale as a source of vitamin K per cup, it is also an excellent source of calcium and magnesium for bone health. In a recent study on the relationship between the risk of prostate cancer and vegetable intake spinach provided powerful protection against aggressive prostate cancer.
- Chard. Recent research has shown that chard leaves contain at least 13 different types of antioxidants. One flavanoid in particularly -- syringic acid -- has been shown to reduce the amount of carbohydrates that are broken down into simple sugars, thus stabilizing blood sugar levels. Additionally chard is an excellent source of antioxidants that fight against inflammation. It offer offers support for bone health with a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K.
Rich in vitamin, leafy greens protect against fragile bones, arthritis and diabetes while their stores of magnesium promote memory and brain health. They also come with health servings of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to improve vision health!
Eat your greens, they will really make you healthier!