You’ve probably heard someone tell you that you should eat more greens, including us! We frequently promote the consumption of leafy green vegetables, as do all doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians everywhere. It’s not just because they’re green and they’re a type of produce either; leafy greens are packed with nutrition in dense, unique combinations that other foods don’t 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 all contain certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can even help reduce or eliminate certain health issues. Manyhealth ailments that you may pass off as something else could just be occurring due to a lack of green leafy vegetables in your diet.
So if you think leafy greens are only good for making salads, then we’re here to show you differently. Don’t ever look at those “leaves” in the produce section again thinking you don’t need them. Here’s why you do:
1. Elevated Blood Sugar Levels
Leafy greens are packed with magnesium and amino acids (the building blocks of protein) which almost immediately 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 helps lower blood sugar, regulate insulin in the body, and assists with the metabolic breakdown of carbohydrates. They’ve even been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and sugar cravings. If you have high blood sugar and aren’t consuming leafy greens regularly, add more of them to your day as much as you can. A green smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch, and a nice bed of sauteed greens with onions and garlic with an entree of your choice are all delicious options. Here’s some tips for flavoring raw leafy greens, and some tricks to flavor cooked greens if you need some inspiration.
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. Consuming leafy greens raw may provide more energizing effects, but overall just focus on working them into your diet however you can. When you do you’ll likely start to feel a more natural stream of energy throughout the day, and unlike caffeine, won’t have a crash hours later leaving you winded. Greens’ amino acid content even provides your body with the support it needs to build protein in the body. Be sure to rotate your greens to get the most benefits, and see these Top 5 Seeds to Pair With Greens lower fatigue even more effectively.
3. Lower Stress Levels
Magnesium and certain B vitamins found in leafy greens (namely vitamin B6) 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 and keep your blood sugar, cortisol and blood pressure low as a result. They’re a win-win for high stress no matter how you look at it!
No one certainly likes to deal 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 and energy. Greens also provide ample amounts of chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants, which cleanses the body naturally as nature intended. Adding just a few servings a day is enough to get the benefits.
5. Unhealthy Cravings
Cravings for sugary foods, fatty foods, and processed foods can also be fought by eating more leafy greens. Sure, everyone gets a craving now and then, but if you constantly crave unhealthy foods, it’s likely due to your body missing out on magnesium and enough alkaline foods that are rich in other minerals. Eat more kale, spinach, fermented cabbage (sauerkraut), romaine, arugula, collards, and even the vegetable broccoli, which all provide B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and more to lower your cravings and give your body the nourishment it desires.
While leafy greens aren’t a 100 percent cure for these issues, most people find they benefit in these five ways above when they focus on eating more greens. Since it’s easy to go all day long and realize you haven’t eaten much fresh food at all, try adding just a cup at each meal if you can. You’ll be surprised just how big a difference these seemingly simple “leaves” make for your health.
Explore all of our recipes to explore dishes with leafy greens so you can work more of them into your diet. Then be sure to let us know what your favorite way to enjoy them is — we’re always looking for new ideas!
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