Springtime has us thinking about all things green, particularly the food we eat. We know dark leafy greens are generally good for us but exactly how good are they? And how much and which greens should we be eating?
Why Eat Green?
Leafy green vegetables offer a variety of health benefits. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and have been shown to reduce the risk of many diseases.
Green vegetables are high in many nutrients such as vitamin K, magnesium, B vitamins, and calcium. These nutrients are essential to proper cell function, which in turn boosts your immune system and helps prevent the aging process.
Research overwhelmingly shows that consuming more greens protects you from numerous diseases, lowering risks of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Green veggies are also loaded with cancer fighting carotenoids, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Studies have even found that increasing your intake of greens by just one serving per day can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 9%.
They also build strong bones! Studies show that consuming a diet high in vegetables helped bone mineralization and growth in children. Another study even found that elderly men and women who consumed 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day reduced their risk of hip fracture by 39%.
Aside from helping you feel great and live longer, leafy greens are also high in fiber and low in calories so you can eat more, feel full longer, and reap the health benefits without having to worry about weight gain.
Now that we know WHY we should eat our greens, let’s take a look at some of our favorites!
Romaine: This popular leafy green doesn’t just add a great crunch to your salads. Romaine serves as a great dose of Omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, and folate. Having two cups of romaine lettuce provides you with 164% of the recommended dietary intake of Vitamin A helping improve skin and eye health, immune response, and prevention of certain cancers.
Spinach: Popularized by Popeye, spinach lives up to its reputation. Similar to romaine this dark green vegetable is high in iron, folate, and vitamins A and C. With high levels of magnesium, spinach is great for promoting relaxation and restful sleep! It can even help protect the digestive tract lining from damage caused by inflammation.
Kale: While kale may seem to be just a trend, it’s worth hopping on the bandwagon. This fiber packed cruciferous vegetable has double the calcium content of spinach, helps fight oxidative stress, and provides overall cardiovascular support. With over 45 kinds of flavonoids and carotenoids present in varieties of kale, each serving is nutrient-dense and a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, folate, and more!
Now let’s talk about how to incorporate these gorgeous plants into our diet.
According to the USDA, adults should consume two to three cups of vegetables per day. If you’ve ever sauteed spinach and watched it seemingly disappear before your eyes, then you know raw greens aren’t very dense. It may take two cups of uncooked greens to equate to the nutritional value of a one-cup serving of vegetables.
Eating the recommended portions of veggies as part of a balanced diet is a great way to improve overall health but going the extra mile may even add a few years to your life. A study done by the Health Survey for England, found a significant reduction in the risk of death by any cause as a result of eating more fruits and vegetables. The risk of death was reduced by:
14% if you eat 1 to 3 portions, 29% for 3-5 portions, 36% for 5-7 portions, and 42% for 7 or more.
There are many easy ways to add greens to your daily routine. We suggest regularly rotating which greens you consume and how you cook them. Having a variety and alternating how you prepare these plants means you’re getting a wider range of vitamins and minerals. Some greens are better raw as exposure to heat or overcooking can destroy essential nutrients such as Vitamin C while cooking others can actually boost levels of certain phytonutrients that our bodies need.
This doesn’t mean you need to buy out the grocery store or learn a million new recipes! Mixing it up may mean adding a handful of raw spinach or romaine to your morning smoothie, having sauteed kale with lemon as a pre-dinner salad, or having roasted broccoli or brussels sprouts as a side dish.
If you’re ready to up your intake of greens but short on time, we’ve got you covered!
Adding a green juce to your daily routine is a great way to get all the nutrients of these raw vegetables on the go.
Our organic cold-pressed juces pack 3-5 pounds of fruits and veggies into every bottle. With our chef curated recipes, these juces aren’t just healthy, they taste amazing! Sign up for our subscription service and receive a weekly box of organic juces and shots. We offer a variety of green packs sure to satisfy every palate, whether you’re a green juce expert or a beginner exploring healthy options.
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Benetou, Vassiliki et al. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Hip Fracture Incidence in Older Men and Women: The CHANCES Project.” Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research vol. 31,9 (2016): 1743-52. doi:10.1002/jbmr.2850
Bhandari, Payal. “Why You Need to Eat Your Greens.” Advanced Health, https://www.sfadvancedhealth.com/blog/eat-your-greens#:~:text=Leafy%20green%20vegetables%20are%20brimming,also%20help%20you%20live%20longer. Accessed 28 March 2021.
“Kale.” The World’s Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan Foundation, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38. Accessed 28 March 2021
Pineda, Elisa. “Why is it so Important to Eat Your Greens?” Yoga London, https://yogalondon.net/monkey/eattherainbow-tips-eating-green/. Accessed 25 March 2021.
Snyder, Kimberly. “The Diversity Diet: Why it’s Crucial to Rotate Your Greens.” Solluna, https://mysolluna.com/blog/2018/02/21/diversity-diet-crucial-rotate-greens/. Accessed 25 March 2021.
Spritzler, Franziska. “10 Natural Ways to Build Healthy Bones.” Healthline, January 18, 2017, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/build-healthy-bones. Accessed 25 March 2021.