Spring is the perfect time to either grow leafy greens or find them fresh in supermarkets and farmers markets. It is important for your health to take advantage of these delicious vegetables. Eating the proper amounts of vegetables have a variety of benefits for your health, but the often overlooked green, leafy vegetables have particular advantages.
Eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. It can lower blood pressure and possibly even prevent cancer. According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, people who are 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day had a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
The Colorado State University Extension discusses that leafy greens are particularly special because they contain phytonutrients along with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, and fiber. Phytonutrients act as antioxidants which prevent both cancer and heart disease.
Vegetarian-nutrition.info points out that the high magnesium and low glycemic index found in greens helps prevent type 2 diabetes. The article states “An increase of 1 serving/day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of diabetes.”
Iceberg lettuce is one of the most common greens eaten in the United States. While it is a healthy way to curb an appetite, it does not contain the high levels of nutritious vitamins that darker green, leafy vegetables have. Spinach, mesclun, and romaine lettuce, are good alternatives to iceberg lettuce for salads.
Other leafy greens are a good source of nutrition and can be sautéed and served as a side dish. Swiss chard is a beautiful leafy green with bright red ribs and veins that is high in nutrients. Beet greens, turnip greens, and collard greens are other greens that are delicious cooked.
Cool Weather Crops
Most greens grow in cool weather and are readily available in the fall and spring. In mild climates they can be grown all winter long. When other fresh vegetables are hard to come by, greens are in their prime.
A healthy lifestyle that includes a diet high in fruits and vegetables, particularly greens, can lead to overall improved health. Feeling better can help you sleep better and conversely sleeping better can help you feel better. This cycle makes it important to eat well and rest well!