The Nutritional Importance of Dark Green Vegetables
Do you hate eating vegetables or are you a vegetable lover who chomps on green vegetables everyday? If you belong to the first group, then you are missing out on a lot of vegetable benefits. If you belong to the second group, then kudos to you because you are receiving the best of what nature has to offer.
Nutrients Present in Dark Green Vegetables
Many nutrients can be found in dark green vegetables. For instance, spinach and kale contain vitamins A, D, C, E and K, whereas bok choy, broccoli and mustard greens contain B vitamins. Remember that ADEK are fat-soluble vitamins. Therefore, when preparing these vegetables, the addition of a small amount of oil or fat is recommended in order to facilitate absorption of these vitamins.
Dark green vegetables also have high-fiber content and phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which act as antioxidants and protect cells from free radical damage. In particular, beta-carotene and lutein can help improve your eyesight. Other nutrients that can be provided by the inclusion of leafy vegetables in the diet include magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
Benefits of Eating Dark Green Vegetables
Eating dark green vegetables helps with weight management. The low-calorie and high-fiber contents of these foods allow you to consume a lot of them, be satiated and avoid weight gain at the same time. Because they have low-fat and high-nutrient contents, they help reduce the risk of heart disease. The nutrients they provide can also help facilitate the body’s repair mechanisms and help protect the body against free radicals. Remember that free radicals are said to contribute to aging and to the formation of cancers. Therefore, regular intake of leafy vegetables can help you fight against the effects of aging and prevent cancer in a natural way.
If you have diabetes or your blood sugar is elevated, you can also benefit from eating green vegetables. Research shows that eating a serving of green vegetables everyday can help decrease the risk of diabetes by as much as 9 percent. Because green vegetables also contain calcium and vitamin K, they can also help prevent fractures.
A substance that was discovered in 1951, but only recently has proven to have desirable health benefits, is lipoic acid or alpha lipoic acid (which is also called thioctic acid). The major sources of lipoic acid are plants with a high number of chloroplasts, therefore, the green plants. Lipoic acid is essential for energy production, prevention of cell damage and maintenance of desirable levels of antioxidants. When you consume enough green vegetables, you are also able to gain the benefits of lipoic acid, which include regeneration of your body’s vitamin C and E stores, maintenance of your defense against free radicals and regulation of your blood sugar.
Unless you have developed a taste for these plant products, dark green vegetables are not exactly the best-tasting foods on the planet. However, they are the leading sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as natural fiber. Therefore, regular consumption of dark green vegetables can definitely help you achieve a healthy diet.
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