How many times have you been told (or said to your kids) “eat your vegetables”? Probably more than you can count. While we all inherently know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for us, how they actually impact our bodies isn’t as commonly talked about. That said, here are seven great reasons to load those leafy greens high on your plate.
#1: Dark Leafy Greens Improve Your Digestion
Eating leafy greens like spinach and kale can make a big impact on how your body digests and absorb nutrients. A major reason behind this is that raw leafy greens help your body produce more digestive enzymes. These enzymes are critical for your body to break down foods and absorb nutrients. If your digestive enzymes are low, this can lead to a slew of bigger gut problems including stomachaches, bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation, and other not so pleasant symptoms. Greens also contain a lot of fiber which helps keep your digestive track moving on the regular.
#2: Greens Help Reduce Your Cholesterol
Dark leafy greens are also rich in vitamins and minerals that help reduce the build-up on your arteries and blood vessels. This makes them a great resource to help reduce your cholesterol levels, regulate your blood pressure, and strengthen your heart. Added bonus, they also help you reduce your risk of having a heart attack and stroke.
#3: Dark Leafy Greens Help You Lose Weight
Because leafy greens are nutrient-rich and low in calories, they can also help you burn fat and lose weight! The added fiber in greens also helps you feel fuller longer so you’re less likely to overeat. Would you rather eat a heaping pile of tasty greens for lunch that will last you until dinner or grab a bag of chips that will have you rummaging for more in just a couple of hours? Seems like a simple choice!
Some favorite (and oh so delicious) leafy greens are brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, watercress, cabbage, rainbow chard, broccolini, spinach, endives, iceberg lettuce, arugula, broccoli, swiss chard, turnip greens, collard greens, kale, and beet greens.
#4: Greens Give You More Energy
One of the key reasons people lack energy is that they aren’t getting enough nutrients in their diet. Eating more greens can help you change that and give you a much-needed energy boost because they are nutritional powerhouses. So skip that cup of coffee (which will only provide a temporary boost) and grab a green smoothie that is rich in kale or spinach. Here’s a tasty recipe that will fast become your go-to morning drink. Bonus, it’s kinder on your budget than your favorite iced macchiato or daily mocha.
#5: Dark Leafy Greens Support Your Immune System
Spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in Vitamin A, which is essential for keeping your immune system functioning at top performance. To break down the science behind that, this 2018 study showed that Vitamin A affects your body’s bone marrow. Bone marrow produces white blood cells like lymphocytes which help fight infections.
How much do you need? The National Institutes of Health recommends men get 900 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin A each day, while women should aim for 700 mcg. To put that in perspective, one cup of raw spinach gives you 469 mcg of Vitamin A, one cup of cooked kale contains 190 mcg, and one cup of collard greens contains 90 mcg.
#6: Dark Leafy Greens Help Your Body Detox
Greens are also loaded with water. That means they can help your body naturally flush out fats, toxins, and chemicals. But they actually do more than that. Foods like parsley and chlorella help clean your liver thanks to the chlorophyll found in them. Chlorophyll binds to heavy metals and toxins in your blood and carries them out of your body. If you’re looking for a more complete detox, try the Ultimate Body Cleanse from Aceva. This complete 5-in-1 nutritional cleanse helps improve immune function, helps repair your digestive system and liver, helps eliminate parasites that are robbing your body of nutrients, and helps remove harmful toxins. It also helps you boost energy, get rid of cravings, reduce pain, improve mental clarity, and reduce weight.
#7: Greens Help Reduce Inflammation
Another great reason to eat more greens is they are packed with antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, and K. This includes vegetables like broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and bok choy. These antioxidants help protect your body’s cells from free-radical damage (also known as inflammation).
Best Way to Get More Greens in Your Life
A simple way to give your body more greens is to intentionally add green leafy vegetables to every meal. Mix some kale or spinach into a morning shake (or your favorite omelet). Have a spinach salad for lunch or wrap your sandwich with romaine lettuce instead of bread. You can also load your dinner plate with a generous helping of your favorite leafy greens to help you reach your recommended daily servings. Small changes can and will help your body reap great reward. Fortunately, the more you swap out, the easier it is to continue making eating greens a healthy lifestyle habit.
Pressed for time? Try out Absolute Greens from Aceva. This powerful greens drink is recommended and used by numerous AlignLife patients, staff and their families. The best part about it is that it includes your daily dose of fruits and vegetables in just one scoop! Featuring 50 superfoods—including fruits, vegetables, fibers, herbs, spices, natural flavonoids, and enzymes, every scoop of Absolute Greens is packed with nutrients and is guaranteed delicious. It’s also only 30 calories per scoop. That makes it a great go-to and energy boost for those wanting to lose or maintain their weight.
Now is the time to start making those healthy diet changes you’ve been wanting to make. So start “crowding out” the not-so-nutritious foods and swapping them with nutrient-rich foods that do your mind and body good.
To learn more about how chiropractic can help your health, wellness, and fitness, schedule a chat with your local AlignlLife chiropractor today.