7 Super Greens Loaded With Nutrients
I know that green isn’t specifically an exciting color. (Not for me at least). Even as a kid, I never liked the color green, even more so, I never liked eating my greens, but as I grew older, I began to value a balanced diet. St. Patrick’s day is almost synonymous with the color green (depending on which part of the world you are) and with that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of the world’ favorite greens and their specific functions in the body. I hope that by doing this, you’ll be able to inspire yourself (and your kids, if you have any) to eat vegetables with more enthusiasm.
First on my list is spinach. Spinach is a flowering plant, which is edible and belongs the family Amaranthaceae. Spinach is a plant that is native to central and western Asia. One of the things that makes spinach so awesome is the fact that it is loaded with nutrients that are good for hair, skin and bone health which means that spinach is basically a natural supplement. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100-gram serving of spinach has 28.1 micrograms of vitamin C, which is 35 percent of the daily recommendation. Spinach is generally affordable and easy to incorporate into any meal. Just be sure not to overcook it as that would destroy its nutrients. Additional benefits of spinach include diabetes prevention and asthma prevention.
Broccoli is a flowering plant that belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes vegetables like kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, and turnips. Although many kids around the world turn up their noses at this vegetable during lunch, broccoli remains one of the healthiest vegetables out there and provides loads of nutrients. Broccoli also contains high levels of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, and phosphorus. Research has also confirmed that broccoli could potentially help prevent osteoarthritis, protect skin against the effects of UV light, reverse diabetes, heart damage, and reduce bladder cancer risk. Regular consumption of broccoli could also reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and also increase overall mortality.
Cucumbers are amazing vegetables or fruits (depending on what lens you’re looking from)! They are great for the summer season because they are loaded with water and contain many essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid. Cucumber skin is rich in fiber and a range of minerals including magnesium, molybdenum, and potassium. Additionally, cucumber also contains silica, which is a trace mineral that contributes greatly to strengthening our connective tissues. They are known to heal many skin problems, under eye swelling, and sunburn. Cucumbers are frequently applied to burns and dermatitis because they contain ascorbic acid which prevents water loss. If you ever feel dehydrated or constipated, cucumber is the go-to veggie for relief. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family which is also the family unit of zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon and other summer squash.
Kale definitely ranks high as one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and is related to cruciferous plants like collard greens, cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. The nutritional content of kale is diverse, it is the richest source of carotenoids in the leafy-green vegetable family, which makes it a top cancer fighter. Kale helps to regulate estrogen, protect against heart disease, as well as regulate blood pressure. The calcium is more absorbable by the body than the calcium in milk, and one ounce contains more calcium than milk. It also contains vitamin K, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, and Potassium, to name a few. I mentioned that kale contains vitamin K, which is an extremely important vitamin to the human body that helps with blood clotting. Finally, if you are interested in losing weight, kale should be able to help you achieve that because it is low in calories but still provides a bulk of calories that help you feel full. Incorporating kale into your diet is pretty simple because you can simply add it to your salad, or put it in a smoothie, either way, kale rocks.
The name “bok choy” originated from the Chinese word for “soup spoon” because of the shape of its leaves. This is a Chinese type of cabbage that has been cultivated in China for many years and doesn’t just play a role in Chinese cuisine, but also in Chinese medical practices. With it’s rich vitamin content and versatile methods of preparation, Bok Choy is ranked high among uber-beneficial vegatables around the world. Nutritionally, Bok Choy is loaded with cancer-fighting properties and contains a wealth of vitamins C, A, and K, and excellent sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron. Bok Choy deserves its reputation as a powerhouse among vegetables. For instance, Vitamin A, is essential for a high functioning immune system, while vitamin C is an antioxidant that shields the body from free radicals. Bok Choy supplies potassium for healthy muscle and nerve function. It also promotes eye health, reduces inflammation and also promotes a healthy pregnancy in women. Bok Choy can be eaten in salad, baked or incorporated in smoothies depending on how you prefer to eat your greens.
Contrary to some popular or not so popular opinion, scallions and spring onions are not the same, they vary even in their physical appearance. Spring onions are bulb (storage) onions harvested early when they have a small, tender bulb. While these very immature onions are used interchangeably with scallions, a true scallion is actually a different vegetable – tender, mild, and does not produce a bulb. Because they are often used as a way to add color to a dish, scallions are often overlooked, but scallions have so much more to offer. They are low in calories, rich in nutrients and provide health benefits which include shrinking fat cells and increasing immunity. Scallions are a member of the allium family which also includes plants like onion, garlic, and leeks to name a few. Scallions are excellent for weight loss as they are rich in fiber, improve bone health and help to actively block cancerous cells. Scallions also contain vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Riboflavin, and Potassium. Scallions can be creatively incorporated into any dish; you can sprinkle it over your food, salad or as an ingredient in your next soup.
Although it is not widely known, this vegetable provides some of the same benefits that the other plants do. It belongs to the cruciferous family which contains plants like kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Recently, some studies have shown that a sulfur-containing compound called sulforaphane gives cruciferous vegetables both their bitter taste and their cancer-fighting power, and arugula falls under this category. It is high in vitamin K which helps to actively prevent osteoporosis and damage to the bone. Leafy greens such as arugula contain an antioxidant known as an alpha-lipoic acid that has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. If you struggle with any form of diabetes, amp up your arugula intake, and it could significantly help you. Arugula also helps in athletic performance as it is high in nitrate and improves endurance in people who do extreme sports or work out a lot.
Our Mothers were right when they forced us to eat all our vegetables. Eat more veggies; they’re good for you.