You have probably heard someone tell you that you should eat more greens. You may have heard it from us…
We frequently promote the consumption of leafy green vegetables. It is not just because they are green; leafy greens are packed with nutrition in dense, unique combinations that other foods do not offer.
Leafy greens are truly one of nature’s miracle packages for our health. Greens such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, arugula, romaine, mustard, collard, and turnip greens contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that may help reduce certain health issues.
So if you think leafy greens are only good for salads, then we are here to show you a much broader view. It is important that as you look at those “leaves” in the produce section, you recognize the benefits they bring. Here is some of what they do:
1. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Leafy greens are packed with magnesium and amino acids, which may help lower your blood sugar and prevent insulin surges when you consume them. Leafy greens are one of the best sources of magnesium you can get from your diet. This one mineral may help lower blood sugar, regulate insulin in the body, and assist with the metabolic breakdown of carbohydrates. They have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and sugar cravings.
2. No More Fatigue
Leafy greens are also a good source of iron needed for healthy red blood cell function that keeps us energized. Due to their high amounts of chlorophyll, leafy greens’ alkaline nature also helps prevent adrenal fatigue that can occur from inflammation in the body. Finally, their high magnesium levels contribute to energy and metabolic support.
3. Lower Stress Levels
Magnesium and certain B vitamins found in leafy greens are necessary for keeping stress levels low. Greens also provide calcium that the body needs to reduce and prevent high blood pressure, lowering stress as a result. Eating leafy greens during the day or at night can help combat mental stress. They are a win-win for high stress no matter how you look at it!
4. Combat Irregularity
No one likes dealing with this issue, but leafy greens are sure to help you out here too. Their easy to digest fiber (especially when blended or cooked), along with their high magnesium content help contribute to regularity which is important for heart health, gut health, and energy. Greens also provide ample amounts of chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants, which cleanses the body naturally as nature intended.
5. Unhealthy Cravings
Cravings for sugary, fatty, and processed foods can also be fought by eating more leafy greens. Everyone gets a craving now and then, but if you constantly crave unhealthy foods, it is likely due to your body missing out on magnesium and enough alkaline foods that are rich in other minerals. Eating more greens provide B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and more to lower your cravings and give your body the nourishment it desires.
While leafy greens are not a cure for these issues, most people find they benefit in these five ways above when they focus on eating more greens.Try adding a cup at each meal if you can. You will be surprised just how big a difference these seemingly simple “leaves” make for your health.
We do recognize at times that physicians may restrict the green, leafy vegetables you can consume because of certain medications you take. Please always follow your doctor’s orders. Talk with your physician how to incorporate some green, leafy vegetables, ensuring that it is a consistent intake to provide you with the best health benefits!
Carmen Keith, MD, IFMCP