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10 Nutritional Benefits that Will Make You Want to Eat Your Leafy Greens

Updated on June 6, 2010

If you want to be healthy then you need to eat your vegetables. Mom was right about that. More specifically, you really need to eat your dark, leafy greens. This includes salad greens like arugula, cooking greens like spinach and cruciferous greens like broccoli. If you don't like the taste of the greens alone (which is sad since they're very flavorful) then you can just add them as an ingredient to other dishes. It's worth it because of the nutritional value that they offer to you.

A review of the different health benefits of dark, leafy greens reminds us that those benefits include:

  1. Your eyes are healthier when you eat your dark, leafy vegetables. These vegetables are rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A offers a number of health benefits to your body, aiding in everything from healthy cell development to maintaining good skin. Most importantly, though, Vitamin A keeps the retinas of your eyes healthy so that you can continue to have good vision into your later years of life. These vegetables also contain lutein which further helps with the health of your eyes.
  2. Your immune system is stronger when you get enough dark, leafy vegetables into your diet. These vegetables are a terrific source of Vitamin C. Among many other nutritional benefits, Vitamin C helps to boost your immune system. A stronger immune system fights off disease and is healthier overall on a day-to-day basis.
  3. You will reduce problems related to aging including arthritis and osteoporosis. One of the best vitamins that you get from eating dark, leafy vegetables is Vitamin K. Like other vitamins, Vitamin K serves a number of functions in the body. Two of the most important functions it serves are helping to prevent inflammation (which may prevent arthritis) and helping to prevent bone loss (which helps prevent osteoporosis). As you get older, you'll be glad you introduced dark, leafy vegetables into your diet when you were young! Dark, leafy vegetables also have folate (see next point) which can help prevent the most serious disease of aging - dementia.
  4. Your cells and nerves will work the way that they are supposed to. Dark, leafy greens have folate in them. Folate works to make sure that your nerves are working properly. It also helps with cell production including red blood cell production. This keeps your body healthy and working properly, preventing common problems such as irritability, fatigue and depression as well as medical issues like gum disease.
  5. You will feel more energized when you eat your dark, leafy greens. The folate in these vegetables will help limit fatigue but it's the iron in the dark, leafy greens that you're really going to be glad for because it will help increase your general feeling of energy. The more energy you have, the more productive you can be while feeling well which helps create a high-quality life. Although you'll get an energy boost, iron will actually also help you to sleep better at night so you'll be well-rested to enjoy that energy in the morning.
  6. Your digestive system will do its job without any problems. Dark, leafy greens are known for being rich in fiber. Fiber is important in that it keeps the body running smoothly. Your digestive and elimination systems will work properly when you get a good amount of these vegetables into your regular diet. This may also prevent certain serious health problems like kidney stones.
  7. Your skin will look better. Several of the nutrients in these vegetables are antioxidant rich and able to help with anti-aging. Specifically, many dark, leafy greens have Vitamin E which is a terrific aid in making your skin look better.
  8. Leafy greens promote a healthier heart. Quite a few of the nutrients in dark, leafy greens aid with heart health. In addition to some of the nutrients already discussed here, these vegetables are rich in magnesium. Magnesium stabilizes the heart and prevents clotting.
  9. Cancer risk is decreased when you eat dark, leafy vegetables. Many different types of cancer are fought off because of the nutrients and vitamins that are in dark, leafy vegetables. For example, the calcium that you'll find in dark, leafy greens is known to prevent colon cancer. Another example is that these vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are believed to work together to prevent lung cancer as well as breast cancer.
  10. Dark, leafy greens aid in weight loss. There are many health problems associated with being overweight including serious problems like heart disease and diabetes. If you can lose weight with a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight by eating right then you can prevent these health problems. The calcium in dark, leafy greens is known to help with weight loss. More importantly, these vegetables are low-calorie, low-carb, fat-free, slow-digesting foods which are ideal for a weight loss diet. Notably, some of the health benefits from dark, leafy vegetables are fat-soluble which means you get the best benefit when you consume them with healthy fats. Adding just a little bit of olive oil to your dark, leafy greens will help you get the best nutritional value while still losing weight.

Eating your dark, leafy greens is clearly good for you. It's best to eat them raw but the great thing about them is that most of them do retain their nutrients even when cooked. Don't forget to add a little bit of oil or cheese to boost the benefits of the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals in your veggies.

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  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 

    8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    Nice hub on leafy greens.

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