benefits of green vegetables

The Benefits of Eating Your Greens!

Most of us were told to eat our greens when we were growing up and there’s very good reason for this!

Dark leafy greens in particular have lots of health benefits but there’s a lot to be said for greens in general.

Here are some of the many reasons why we love our greens and make sure to include them in our Gourmet Menu and Meal Builder options so you can reap the health rewards!

They’re Full of Goodness

Green vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C and K and most of them also contain iron, magnesium and even a surprising amount of calcium.

These nutrients can have a big impact on your physical and mental health, as you’ll see in the rest of the post!

Greens are very nutritious but also low in calories so they’re perfect for healthy weight loss.

They Keep Your Mind Sharp

Cognitive decline is one of the things we all fear will affect us in later life but eating your greens can be key for reducing the impact.

As part of a balanced, healthy diet, leafy green vegetables can hep to slow down your rate of cognitive decline as you get older.

In a study by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, people on the “Mind” diet (which also included whole grains, berries, beans and wine as well as dark leafy greens) were 7.5 years younger from a cognitive point of view compared to people who didn’t eat this way.

They Keep Your Heart Healthy

Dark leafy green veggies such as kale are full of vitamin K, which helps your blood to clot. This vitamin is also strongly linked to better cardiovascular health and healthier, stronger bones.

Kale also helps to lower cholesterol levels and studies have suggested that steamed kale could be the best bet for this.

Kale certainly isn’t the only green veggie that boosts your cardiovascular health though!

Other good choices include:

  • Leeks are also rich in vitamin K
  • Swiss chard contains heart healthy antioxidants
  • Artichokes also contain antioxidants such as rutin
  • Collard greens, which were shown in one study to be 13% more effective at reducing cholesterol than the prescription drug it was measured against
  • Spring onions can also lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Celery can reduce levels of bad cholesterol
  • Green beans are also good for cardiovascular health

They Build Stronger Bones

Worried about your risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones ) as you get older? Eating plenty of green vegetables now can help with this too!

Leafy greens are a good source of calcium, which as we all know is really important for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet (or through supplements), your body may try to take some from what you have “banked” in your bones so you’re more likely to have problems with your bones in the future.

Dark leafy greens are an easy way to up your calcium intake and as an added bonus for bone health, they also contain vitamin K, potassium and magnesium. This combination of nutrients is thought to be very beneficial for your bones.

They Could Prevent Cancer

Kale, mustard greens, broccoli and cabbage are all part of the Brassica family, which could give them cancer fighting properties.

A 2011 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found a link between eating more of these greens and having a lower risk of developing colon cancer.

There are two key antioxidants found in a lot of green vegetables that are important for this. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, lutein and zeaxanthin have the ability to protect against strokes and heart disease, as well as some cancers. Kale and spinach are both good sources of these antioxidants.

Watercress may be full of water but it also contains phenylethyl isothiocyanate, which is another cancer fighting hero.

They Protect Your Eyes

Kale is one of the green vegetables that contains vitamin A –  a vital nutrient for eye health!

The antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin aren’t just cancer protecting; they can also protect your eyes against the risk of macular degeneration.

Here at Prep Perfect, we include greens in lots of our Gourmet Menu meals and our Simplicity Meal Builder gives you the choice of kale, green beans, asparagus, broccoli and mixed greens with your meals – all of which are great options for giving your health a big boost!