Eat Your (Dark, Leafy) Greens « Health Now, Wealth Forever

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By Marilyn, on August 29th, 2012

These days we hear A LOT that we need to eat the leafy greens.  We know they are good for us and we need them in our diet to be healthy.   Here are some reasons to really be aware of eating those leafy greens.

“You get so many important nutrients from leafy green vegetables—magnesium, iron,  calcium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin B6, plus all the heart disease –and cancer-fighting phytochemicals,” says Michael Liebman, Ph.D., professor of human nutrition at the University of Wyoming in Laramie (1998).  “These are the most nutrient-dense foods that we have available.” 1

Chicory Greens

The best leafy greens are kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, turnip greens, spinach, and chicory greens. Since this information is from a that book was written 14 years ago, it is much easier to find these powerhouse greens then it was.

The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Framingham Heart Study conducted a study on more than a 1000 people between the ages of 67 and 95.  They were researching what dietary factors affected heart health. The answer narrowed down to chemistry—specifically to the amino acid homocysteine. This amino acid is harmless if it is kept in check.  If it is not kept in check and it reaches high levels, it becomes toxic and may contribute to clogged arteries and heart disease.  So why is this important in relation to eating leafy greens? Leafy greens have folate and vitamins B12 and B6  which help the body keep homocysteine under control.  They found that leafy greens help to counteract the effects of this amino acid.

Researchers have also found that leafy greens give your body the antioxidants that can neutralize tissue-damaging free radicals before harming the body.  They help guard against cancer, macular degeneration, give you calcium, iron and riboflavin.  Not all greens contain these wonderful bodyguards, so I am including a couple of guides that you can use to find the greens that will give you what you need.

This web site, Leafy Greens — Ranked and Rated, gives you information and a rating of the top 10 leafy greens.

Green Leafy Vegetables – Nutritional Powerhouses also gives great information about the nutrition values of the leafy greens.

We used to eat our greens, which was maybe cooked spinach and a salad made of iceberg lettuce, but nowadays when we order a salad it is most likely the dark greens that are so much more healthy for us.  Be sure to check out the websites above and also this interesting article in the Shreveport Times.

[1] Yeager, Selene.  The Doctors Book of Food Remedies.  Rodale Inc. 1998.