Eat your broccoli! Finish your spinach! Your parents likely told you that there were huge benefits of eating greens throughout your entire childhood but then again, they may also have told you that the tooth fairy was real, too. What are the true facts about these dark green and often leafy veggies and how are they supposed to help you?
Regardless of whether you eat them on their own, in a salad or in a smoothie, your parents weren’t wrong. There is a long list of benefits of eating greens which makes it more than worthwhile to consciously add them to your daily diet.
Need more specifics? The following are some of the top benefits of eating greens:
Natural anti-aging properties – these veggies are typically very high in vitamin K. In fact, one cup of raw leafy greens of virtually any form will give you your full daily need for this nutrient. In the case of kale, you’ll get six times your need for vitamin K in that amount. California researchers have discovered that this vitamin is vital in preventing certain conditions associated with age, such as bone fragility, cardiovascular disease, and the clarification of the kidney and arteries.
Lower cholesterol – many greens such as kale or mustard greens play a vital role in keeping cholesterol down through their impact on the liver. They encourage the liver to use up more of the cholesterol in the body in the production of bile.
Better vision – dark green leafy veggies are fantastic sources of lutein, carotenoids and zeaxanthin, which are all vital for filtering the high energy forms of light that can lead to ocular damage. It can also help to decrease the risk of cataracts, lower glare-related discomfort and boost the distance you can see, contributing to better vision.
Energy enhancement – these veggies are huge in B vitamins which are vital to the body’s ability to convert carbohydrates from food into glucose that can be used as fuel by the body. The B vitamins aren’t energy themselves, but they let you use the energy you have elsewhere such as from food and stored fat.
Better bone health – dark green leafy veggies contain lots of calcium. The bitter ones are especially high in this bone-boosting mineral. Though they’re not high enough that you’d likely be able to fill all your daily calcium needs by eating salads, they can certainly give you a meaningful boost.