Top 10 Green Leafy Vegetables Benefits
Lettuce, cabbage, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are just some of the best examples of green leafy vegetables that offer high nutrition. They are considered by nutritionists and health experts as one of the best and most inexpensive sources of important nutrients that are needed by your body. There is a long list of green leafy vegetable benefits that help you maintain a good overall health. Leafy vegetables are great for losing weight, improving bone health, maintaining eye health, and reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes. This article will focus more on the ten most helpful green leafy vegetables benefits that can really have a positive impact on your health.
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Nutritional Value of Green Leafy Vegetables
Before we move on to the green leafy vegetable benefits, let us first look at its amazing nutritional value. Being a treasure trove of nutrients, it is no surprise that green leafy vegetables are always recommended for your daily diet. It is ideal for weight management because it is very low in calories and fats, but it is high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium. It provides loads of phytochemicals such as zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, and beta-carotene, which are good for your heart. You can also receive a healthy dose of antioxidants when you consume green leafy vegetables regularly. Some health experts recommend choosing the dark green leafy vegetables because they contain more nutrients, but you should also opt for other kinds of leafy greens to take advantage of all the vitamins and minerals that they have to offer. Here are some of the best green leafy vegetables benefits to boost your overall health.
Improves Eye Health
One of the best green leafy vegetable benefits is that it can help you improve eye health and prevent eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Leafy vegetables such as kale, mustard greens, dandelion, Swiss chard, and spinach contain important carotenoids called zeaxanthin and lutein, which are essential in maintaining eye health. These carotenoids act as protective shields against the damages caused by high-energy blue light. They are also very effective in lowering the risk of eye problems such as macular degeneration and cataract.
Leafy vegetables also contain high amounts of beta-carotene, which is converted by the body to vitamin A. This essential vitamin is effective in keeping your vision sharp and reduces the risk of night blindness. Plus, green leafy vegetables contain potassium, which is a mineral that is used to strengthen the tissues present in the eyes. With a much healthier eye tissue, this can delay or prevent the development of eye diseases.
Enhance Bone Health
As you age, your bones tend to become more brittle and weak. This is the reason why the older people are more susceptible to bone fractures and a have a higher risk of developing bone diseases like osteoporosis. Diet and lifestyle habits are a big factor when trying to maintain your bone health. You can maintain a strong and healthy bone by consuming a diet that is rich in green leafy vegetables. Most of these leafy vegetables are loaded with calcium that keeps the bones density higher and stronger. These vegetables are also rich in vitamin K, which plays an important role in the production of osteocalcin, a protein that can boost bone density. The older generation needs the added green leafy vegetable benefits in their diet to build up the strength of their bones and avoid osteoporosis.
You will know that a leafy vegetable is high in calcium if it has a slightly bitter taste. You can still get calcium from other food sources such as milk and dairy products, but green leafy vegetables are also a great option that will help you add calcium to your diet. A half-a-cup of mustard greens can provide you with about 55 mg of calcium, while a one-half cup of dandelion greens contains about 78 mg of calcium. Other leafy vegetables that are high in calcium are Swiss chard and kale.
Lower Your Cholesterol Level
Poor diet and consuming lots of processed foods can cause high cholesterol levels. When cholesterol builds up in the arteries and blood vessels, it will cause tremendous stress to the heart and other body organs, which may lead to stroke and heart attack. Green leafy vegetable benefits can help balance or lower your cholesterol level to prevent heart problems and stroke. Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help free your arteries and blood vessels from cholesterol.
Eating kale and mustard greens can help lower your cholesterol level. Your liver uses cholesterol to produce bile acids, which helps in the digestion of fat. When bile acids bind with fiber from the green leafy vegetables, it is eliminated from the body, which means that the liver uses more cholesterol to produce new bile acid. This process successfully reduces the cholesterol level in your body.
Promotes Youthful and Healthy Skin
Improving your skin and making it look youthful and glowing usually depends on your diet and lifestyle. Green leafy vegetable benefits can help you maintain a healthy skin. Eating a salad bowl filled with leafy vegetables such as lettuces and Swiss chards can be a great way to start your new skin care regimen at home. These vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that have the ability to reduce a variety of skin problems and enhance your skin complexion. Plus, they have high water content, which keeps your skin moisturized, thus preventing dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Green leafy vegetable benefits also include its ability to protect your skin from the damages of the sun. Leafy vegetables are capable of increasing the body’s natural defense against sun damage. It contains essential vitamins, beta-carotene, and folic acid that can repair and protect the skin.
Fights Harmful Free Radicals
Free radicals are harmful to your health because they destroy the cells in your body and make you more vulnerable to diseases. Furthermore, these free radicals are also responsible for causing oxidative stress in the body organs, which can be very dangerous to your health. This can result in several diseases such as dementia, cancer, macular degeneration, and premature aging. But thanks to the green leafy vegetable benefits, you can fight these free radicals and avoid getting sick.
Some of the antioxidants present in green leafy vegetables are vitamin A, C, and K. Vitamin A is great for strengthening your body’s natural defense, while vitamin C is effective in promoting healthier skin and bones. Vitamin K can help the body heal and repair itself quickly. Include lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet to receive your daily dose of antioxidants.
Helps You Lose Weight
When it comes to shedding off those extra pounds, you need to consume more green leafy vegetables. A bowl of mixed greens is very rich in dietary fiber that will allow you to feel fuller for a longer amount of time, thus reducing your calorie intake and prevent overeating. Green leafy vegetable benefits provide a variety of vitamins and minerals with zero fats that are perfect for your weight loss diet. Green leafy vegetables also contain high water content, which helps you to flush out the toxins and salts out of your body. This also helps in maintaining an ideal healthy weight.
Boosts Your Energy Levels
When feeling weak and low in energy, most people take energy drinks. However, green leafy vegetable benefits are the best option when you want to boost your energy level. One of the main causes of fatigue, low energy, and dizziness is lack of nutrients. You can address the problem of nutrient deficiency by consuming more leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, and spinach. Eating green leafy vegetables are better than energy drinks because they provide a more lasting result. Raw escarole is very rich in B vitamins that can convert carbohydrates in food to glucose. This can be used as fuel to produce more energy. However, B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that you need to get enough of these nutrients every day.
Promotes Heart Health
It has been mentioned above that green leafy vegetables are good for lowering the body’s cholesterol level. By having a more balanced cholesterol level, it eases the blood pressure, thus providing a healthier cardiovascular system. Some of the best green leafy vegetables that are good for the heart include Swiss chard, kale, spinach, and cabbage. Green leafy vegetable benefits also provide a healthy dose of vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood coagulation. Research has shown that vitamin K deficiency can have a negative effect on the structure of the heart.
Promotes Hair Growth and Healthier Scalp
You need a healthy dose of magnesium to fight fungal and bacterial infection. Green leafy vegetable benefits include high amounts of magnesium that can help treat your scalp problems. Plus, it is rich in vitamins and minerals that can also promote hair growth.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Green leafy vegetable benefits contain a variety of flavonoids, carotenoids, and powerful antioxidants that offers cancer-protective properties. In one study, eating 3 or more servings of green leafy vegetables per week can lower the risk of stomach cancer. You can also increase your consumption of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli, which contains indoles and isothiocyanates that protects against colon cancer. Green leafy vegetables have also been shown to decrease the risk of skin and breast cancer.