Many of us do not like to eat fruits and vegetables especially those dark green leafy vegetables. Unfortunately by not eating this important food we are missing out on a lot of valuable nutrition for our bodies. The vitamins and minerals in green leafy vegetables help the body fight cancer, infections, and inflammation along with promoting bone growth, eye function, and heart function.
Leafy green vegetables are full of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and a lot of phytochemicals. They are low in fat and high in fiber so they make a great staple in any weight loss plan. They are also very low on the glycemic index along with their high levels of magnesium leafy greens make a very healthy choice for anyone with type 2-diabetes. Most importantly, though, is the variety of carotenoids and flavonoids found in dark green vegetables that act as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
So what is a dark green leafy vegetable? It is arugula, broccoli, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard. All of these vegetables are dark greens that have all those wonderful vitamins I listed above. So obviously it would be easier to just take a pill to get those vitamins than trying to eat these greens right? Well actually your body pulls vitamins better and easier from food than from any supplement you take. In other words eat better, take less pills/supplements, and you will feel a lot better too!!
Whenever I talk to people about this topic most use the excuse that they don’t know how to eat those greens. Here are some suggestions on how to eat your greens:
- Make a salad- pick a couple of the greens (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, or arugula) and mix in other veggies like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, etc., put your favorite dressing on it and eat up!!
- Wrap it up- instead of using bread for your lunch time sandwich use some greens, collard greens have great big leaves that you can wrap up your sandwich toppings just like a tortilla
- Add it to soup- collard greens, kale or mustard greens go good in soups
- Stir-fry- add any of the greens to your favorite stir fry
- Add to smoothies- mix any of the greens into a smoothie with your favorite fruits and you won’t even be able to taste them
- Steam it- Try steaming any of the greens and eating them as a side.
We need to have a ½ cup of dark greens in our diet every day. In reality that isn’t all that much. By adding this simple thing to your diet you could change not only chronic inflammation but also chronic fatigue, chronic digestive problems, any sugar or pancreas problems, etc. The possibilities are endless! Remember- tomorrow is never a guaranteed so take care of yourself today!!
Yours in Health, Dr. Jessica