There are thousands of different kinds of vegetables in the world. You could eat a new vegetable every day for several years and never repeat a single one. There are as many colors of vegetables as there are types. You’ll find a vegetable in almost every shade of the color spectrum from blazing violet aubergines and raging red tomatoes to sunshiny bell peppers and cool green mint. Colors in vegetables and fruits are not random. There’s a reason for a particular hue in all kinds of life all over the planet. Today, we’ll look at where green vegetables get their color and why that makes them super-foods.
What’s so great about green?
Vegetables get their green color from the presence of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has a structure that is almost exactly like that of the haemoglobin in our red blood cells. In fact, the only difference between chlorophyll and haemoglobin is that the former holds magnesium at its core while the latter holds iron. Vegetables that are green in color have higher levels of chlorophyll. This ensures higher nutrition value because nutrition is responsible for drawing in energy from the sun and converting it into food. That’s why all trees are green. The chlorophyll is literally their green blood!
Thus, the higher chlorophyll content in green vegetables means that we can take advantage of the super health benefits that they offer. But chlorophyll is not the only amazing nutrient in green vegetables. Other important nutritional content includes vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene, fiber, calcium, zeaxanthin, phyto-chemicals, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin E, and lutein.
Some of the green vegetables that include the benefits we’ll discuss ahead include green peas, French beans, lettuce, celery, kale, broccoli, spinach, dill, coriander, okra, cucumbers, zucchini, artichokes, leeks, green onions, mint, fenugreek and cabbage. This is just the tip of the iceberg so don’t limit yourself to these greens alone. Now let’s get right to the inspiring health benefits of green vegetables so you’ll be more enthusiastic the next time you see them in the fresh food aisle of the grocery store and maybe buy a lot more of them than you generally do.
Improves immune system
This is by far the best health benefit of green vegetables. They literally increase the number of cells that form the immune system, thus contributing to more efficient functioning. This means that you have a lower chance of catching the common cold or that virus that everyone else seems to be coming down with.
Is an anti-cancer agent
In a world where cancer is becoming more and more prevalent, any food that helps to fight cancer is welcomed with gusto. We’ve long known that green vegetables were good for human health, but it has now been revealed that they can help to keep cancer at bay too by neutralizing the free radicals that cause cancer. They also help to slow down the proliferation of cancer cells in the body.
Those who are already afflicted by cancer can get help from green vegetables too. Research has shown that eating green vegetables while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer ensures better results. This may be because these veggies improve the functioning of the immune system thereby promoting health. Green vegetables also work to minimise the uncomfortable side-effects of chemo.
Naturally detoxifies the body
Green vegetables are known to be cleansers for the digestive system and blood. So if you’re going on any detox diet, green veggies are vital.
Lowers your risk of several diseases
Green vegetables are known to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease mainly because they lower levels of bad cholesterol, which is one of the main contributors to a weakening heart.
Blood pressure is another major illness that can be prevented with a generous daily helping of green vegetables which help to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood thus cleansing blood cells and making them healthier.
Kidney stones are caused by a buildup of calcium oxalate in the body. Green vegetables can help to prevent this buildup and thus keep painful kidney stones from developing.
Green vegetables often have plenty of fiber and this can help to cure constipation as well as promote regular bowel movements.
Improves eye sight
You’ve probably heard how carrots can help to improve eye-sight. But they aren’t the only veggies to do so. Green vegetables, especially the darker greens like spinach and broccoli, can also improve the health of your eyes. If you are at high risk for cataracts or macular degeneration, green veggies can slow down the process considerably.
If you suffer from overly smelly flatulence or urine, then green vegetables may be able to help you. Consuming them on a daily basis can reduce the noxious quality of the smells associated with fecal matter, flatulence and urine.
Will help you lose weight
Green vegetables provide optimal nutrition to satisfy your body’s need. They are low in carbs and fat but high in other essential nutrients. They have a high fiber content which helps to eliminate waste and toxins from the body. Greens also keep you full for longer periods of time which ensures less snacking. All these factors make them the perfect foods for someone on a weight loss diet.
Notes on getting the best from your greens
- Always eat your greens as fresh as possible. Buy them the same day or the day before you want to eat them. Avoid the frozen variety altogether if possible. Of course, if you live in a place where fresh greens are not easily available then the frozen ones are better than nothing.
- Don’t buy yellowed or wilting green vegetables. This means that they are getting stale and the older they are the less nutritious they become.
- To release all the nutrients in your green vegetables, they need to be lightly steamed. They also need to be eaten with some form of fat like oil or nuts. But that does not mean you douse your green salad in oil. A teaspoon or two lightly sprinkled across will do. Or you can try to stir-fry your green vegetables for just a few moments in a non-stick pan sprayed with olive oil.