I guess we were all told to eat up our greens when we were children. But why? What’s the big deal with greens?
Turns out our mums/grannies were spot on. Green leafy vegetables are some of the best things we can eat, real ‘superfoods’. And they’re right on our doorsteps, not in some exotic location half-way round the world and thousands of air miles away. They may not sounds as sexy as exotic berries you can hardly pronounce, but they’re packed with nutrients.
And there’s a great variety as well, not just brassicas (brussel sprouts, cabbage etc) but Swiss chard, mustard and various types of salad and lettuce. They’re generally cheap and easy to prepare too.
So what are the secrets of green leafy vegetables? There are loads!
- They’re very low in calories but full of nutrients – a lot of nutritional bang for your calorie buck!
- They’re very high in fibre. That helps you stay regular, and slows the absorption of sugars to help you feel full.
- They contain a lot of water, so help keep you hydrated (I hadn’t thought of this one).
- You can grow them easily, many in a small space, with no pesticides etc, for better freshness, taste and nutrition. Kids will love seeing their food grow. Eat them raw for the best taste. And no air miles or environmental damage, for an added bonus!
- But the biggest benefit is the huge range of nutrients, trace elements, vitamins, minerals etc, many of which are often lacking in our diet these days:
- vitamin A – good for building your body’s natural defences, important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction and also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
- vitamin C – also known as ascorbic acid, needed for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
- vitamin K activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism and heart health. One of its most important functions is to maintain calcium.
- folate is one of the B-vitamins and is needed to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA. It’s vital to get enough folate during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence.
- potassium – one of the most important minerals in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. What’s more, a high-potassium diet may help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.
- iron – helps to preserve many vital functions in the body, including general energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and the regulation of body temperature.
- magnesium – important for bone formation, calcium absorption. Can help with diabetes, heart health, migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome, relieving anxiety.
- lutein and zeaxanthin – absorb excess light and reduce sunlight damage. In eyes, lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in the macula. Studies show that those who have more lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet have a lower incidence of AMD ( Age-related macular degeneration, a common condition that affects the middle part of your vision.)
And these are just the main benefits, there are many others. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Are you getting enough? The best way to get all these vital vitamins and magic minerals is to eat the right foods, as fresh as possible, from as near as possible. If that’s not possible, we have some products which can help:
- a range of high-grade supplements, vitamins and minerals
- our brand spanking new iVision product, packed with lutein and zeaxanthin
- Fields of Green, containing extracts from a range of these green leafy vegetables
- and the amazing ‘Forever Supergreens’ with the benefits of over 20 fruits and vegetables.
Just take a look here:
Make it your resolution to look after your body this year, and eat well.