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5 Green Foods and Their Health Benefits

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Just as eating a varied and balanced meal of plants, grains, and proteins, it is important to consume a variety of colors. Yes, colors! Referring to the color of fruits and vegetables, eating a variety of colorful foods offers positive benefits for your health thanks to a number of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants. A note: to reap the most nutritional benefits, buy organic produce whenever possible.

What health benefits does the color green offer? Find out in the five green fruits and vegetables listed here:

1. Spinach

As a leading green powerfood, spinach contains a ton of nutrients making it one of the most nutrient dense foods on Earth. One cup of fresh raw spinach is loaded with many daily key vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and carries a decent amount of fiber and protein. Glycoglycerolipids are plant-based compounds found in spinach that can aid in protecting the digestive track from damage and inflammation.

Improves your health: regulates blood pressure, has cancer fighting properties, helps to build strong bones, protects against heart disease, aids in vision, is a big boost to the immune system.

Dunk your veggies into this green veggie! Try this recipe for a creamy vegan spinach dip. For more about spinach, including recipes, read this article.

2. Kale

Eat this hearty leafy green in a raw salad, lightly sautéed, or baked into a veggie chip to get as much of the amazing benefits of kale as possible. Kale is nutritious, has no fat and is low in calories, and is packed to the stems in essential nutrients. This vegetable is high in fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K, and antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids help in protection against some cancers.

Improves your health: lowers cholesterol for better cardiovascular health, a natural way for detoxing the body, lowers cancer risks, may improve bone health.

Want a healthy and nutrient packed lunch or dinner tonight? This Vegan Kale Waldorf Salad may just hit the spot. For more about Kale, including recipes, read this article.

3. Cucumbers

Made up of mostly water, the cool, crisp, and refreshing cucumber is the perfect summertime snack and has many recommended daily vitamins and minerals. This hydrating fruit (yes, cucumbers are classified as fruits!) has vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and magnesium. As an added bonus, leaving the skin on provides an extra dose of immune boosting vitamin C. Not a huge fan of drinking plain water? Add a couple slices of fresh cucumber to every glass, or add them to your morning juicing.

Improves your health: rehydrates the body, replenishes vitamins lost throughout the day, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps control blood pressure.

4. Guava

If you have never seen a guava before, they can look like a cross between a strange apple and a lime. Guavas have a soft and sweet pulp and are usually eaten raw. This fruit is a powerhouse of rich nutrients packed with dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, and minerals like potassium and copper. Dietary and nutrient value will vary depending on the type of guava.

Improves your health: can lower your cancer risk, promotes good vision, makes skin healthy, reduces risk of diabetes, promotes weight loss, remedy for constipation. For more information about the health benefits of guava, including product picks, read this article.

5. Green Apples

The most popular green apple out there is the Granny Smith. Tart yet crisp, Granny Smiths taste great whole, baked into a pie, even juiced. They are high in antioxidants, dietary fiber, and potassium, and contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamin E that contributes to healthy glowing skin. Eat the green apple skin for an even greater vitamin intake.

Improves your health: promotes weight loss, regulates blood sugar, you get healthy teeth and skin, a remedy for diarrhea and constipation.

In the mood for a sweet treat that includes your favorite non-dairy ice cream? Check out this Autumn Baked Apples recipe any time of the year.

What is your favorite green fruit or vegetable? Share with us in the comment section below!

Image Source: Emily Carlin/Flickr

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