What are the real reasons to eat your greens? Yeah, they’re full of vitamins folic acid, fiber, chlorophyll and many other phytochemicals and micronutrients. But does all of that actually mean?
We’ve broken down the top 5 reasons to eat your greens….
1. Digestive and Intestinal Health
First, to the down and dirty: digestive health— aka what’s happening when…and after you eat— should be a #1 health focus. Our intestines need beneficial bacteria, or flora, to stay healthy. In recent years, many studies have connected thriving gut flora with better overall mental and physical well-being. When we drink, eat processed sugar or flour, or take antibiotics, we often wipe these beneficial flora out and give bad bacteria a chance to invade. Greens contain compounds that protect the body from bad bacteria and feed the healthy flora!
The foliate found in leafy greens has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon polyps. And as always, the dietary fiber found in green veggies keep things moving smoothly through the intestines.
2. Have A Happy Heart
The same antioxidants that prevent cancer work to keep the heart in tip-top shape. The dietary fiber and calcium in leafy greens have both been shown to lower blood pressure. Vitamin K helps blood to clot and prevents arteries from calcifying. The folate found in green vegetables helps break down homocysteine, an amino acid that increases heart disease risk.
3. Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green veggies are helpful for regulating blood sugar for people with diabetes. It has also been shown that a serving of leafy greens a day lowers the risk of developing diabetes.
4. Support Optimal Brain Function
Want to support memory and reasoning as you go up in years? Eat your greens! A recent study published in Neurology found that the people who ate the most leafy greens each day had slower rates of cognitive decline compared to those who ate the least. The greens-eaters actually had the memory equivalent of someone 11 years younger! This was even true after adjusting for factors like lifestyle, education and general health.
5. Improve Inflammatory Response
This one is basic, but essential. In order to protect yourself from a battery of chronic illnesses, your body needs to support a healthy inflammatory response. Leafy greens contain disease-fighting antioxidants and polyphenol compounds— which makes Popeye’s cans of spinach not that crazy, when you think about it!