Why Should I Eat Green-Colored Fruits and Vegetables?
From the tomatoes and cherries in the red category, to the plums and blueberries of the blue category, the selection of nutritious and delicious choices in the various color categories used to classify fruits and vegetables is truly staggering. Of them all, however, the green category is one of the richest and most diverse, both in flavor and in nutritional benefit.
Many of the most popular and well-known types of vegetables fall into the green category. Broccoli and spinach are probably the two most familiar, but there are many others. For example, the green category contains several different types of green leafy vegetables besides spinach, including lettuce, kale, collards and Swiss chard. Peas, too, come in both traditional and sugar snap -- which are eaten pod and all -- varieties. Artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green peppers -- even though they are technically a fruit -- green beans, and zucchini are several other examples.
There may not be quite as many well-known fruits in the green category as there are vegetables, but there are still a few choices available. Honeydew melons, kiwis, limes, green grapes and green apples like Granny Smiths are all types of fruit that are categorized under the green classification.
According to a 2009 article by North Dakota State University, most green vegetables and fruits are quite high in the carotenoid lutein. One of the most important benefits lutein provides is its contribution to healthy eyesite by fighting cataracts and related disorders due to aging. Lutein can help absorb certain harmful aspects of sunlight before they do damage to your eyes.
Lutein is also an important contributing factor for a healthy heart and proper blood circulation. A 2001 study by the University of Southern California found an inverse relationship between lutein levels and arterial plaque levels, which means that individuals with the highest levels of lutein tended to have the lowest amount of plaque buildup in their arteries. Excessive plaque buildup can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and individuals with lower levels of lutein tended to have higher levels of plaque buildup.
Finally, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating plenty of green vegetables can also help reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. For example, indole-3-carbinol, found in cabbage and broccoli, helps fight breast cancer. Sulforophane, found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts, can help fight rectal and colon cancer, and certain leafy green vegetables like spinach and collard greens may help lower your risk of stomach cancer.