You definitely want to add leafy green vegetables to your regular diet because they are full of vitamins and minerals our body needs to function right. Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as folate (vitamin B9). These vitamins lower inflammation in the body while also lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease. Leafy greens are also a wonderful plant-based source of iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and fiber. Lastly, greens are high in cancer-preventing antioxidants! Some common greens are; spinach, kale, arugula, chard, and collard greens.
How you can add them to what you eat:
***Pro tip: If you don’t think you’ll use up fresh greens before they go bad, freeze half of your bag of spinach (or any other green). This will make them last longer and make life easier, because it will cut down on cooking and prep time.You can then throw your frozen greens into anything you blend or cook.
- Throw a handful in a smoothie. I recommend spinach or kale. Mixed with all of the fruit, you can't taste it, and you still get all of the benefits.
- Swap iceberg lettuce for a darker leafy green vegetable. You still get that same crunch on a sandwich with spinach, kale, etc. as you would with lettuce. Small swaps like this make a big difference!
- When you make a salad try mixing different greens together. Start with romaine lettuce, and add spinach or arugula. You can also cut all of these greens up into smaller pieces before you throw them in a bowl so they are easier to get on your fork and eat.
- Throw a handful in dinner when it's cooking. This especially works great with spinach, but it can work with pretty much any leafy green. Soups, pasta sauces, rice, any ground meat, scrambled eggs, stir-fry, and basically anything you make can easily be combined with leafy greens. Just toss the greens in the pan for a few minutes to let them cook, and it's good to go!
Summary of Benefits:
Contains Vitamin A, Vitamin, C, Vitamin, E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B, Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Folate, and many other antioxidants.
- Aids in bone health, prevents birth defects, lowers risk of several types of cancer (skin, stomach, and breast), helps digestion, lowers inflammation, lowers risk of heart disease.
These listed above are just a few of the many benefits! These wonderful plants were made to strengthen our bodies; let’s enjoy them well!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 2). Healthy eating tips. https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/healthy-eating-tips/index.html
Dark green leafy vegetables : USDA ARS. (n.d.) https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2013/dark-green-leafy-vegetables/
The goodness of greens. www.heart.org. (n.d.). https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/the-goodness-of-greens