Welcome to the monthly Eat Green column for Foodies Galore. Each month, we will look at research discussing the benefits of a green diet. While eating green vegetables boost our immune system dramatically, we will also contemplate other superfoods on nature’s colour spectrum.
You have probably heard the saying, ‘your body is a temple’? When we consider the dramatic incidence of chronic disease these days, this phrase takes on new meaning. Chronic disease like cancer, diabetes, immune-deficiency disorders and heart disease to name a few. And these ailments are not just a cautionary pay attention to our health. Often times, these diseases are killers. So what does this have to do with food?
“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas
Most of us fuel our body all day long with food. Food energizes us. But what food has the best value? The best bang for our buck? Nutritional experts worldwide look at this question seriously. Their job is to investigate and give us conclusive scientific data that we can literally chew on. I know… corny, right? It’s okay, read on.
According to culinary educator and author of The Veggie Queen, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, “Greens are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health”. Leafy vegetables are exceptionally high in fiber, vitamins and minerals that help you remain free of disease.
Right now, you may be thinking, “I eat salad everyday”.
Salad made with lettuce is good … and green. It’s a good start. But you need to go a bit further to achieve the most benefit from eating green. The best place to start is to become familiar with the powerhouses stored in superfoods.
Green leafy vegetables, beets, purple Asian yams, tomatoes, blueberries, black beans, broccoli, salmon, oats and pomegranates among many are classified as nutrient-rich food, packed with antioxidants and polyphenols. The value in superfoods has anticipated health benefits.
An in-depth study of these amazing foods would be lengthy at this point – and I’d probably lose your attention before too long. For now, let us examine a couple of these heroes:
Green Leafy Vegetables
Let’s begin with kale.
By the way, Nussinow gives this leafy green a first place ranking.
A single serving gives you 199% vitamin A, 200% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 8% iron, 15% vitamin B-6, 11% magnesium and 14% potassium of your percentage daily value. You even get 8% protein in this small 100g serving. No wonder they call kale a superfood.
Collard greens are comparable to kale in nutrition. Chewier than kale and much like cabbage, collard greens are hearty enough to survive the winter frost. There is evidence that these greens have been cultivated for food for at least 2000 years. They work well in stews and soup.
Turnip greens, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, red and green leaf lettuce and cabbage are loaded with vitamins A and C, calcium and iron among other minerals. Even romaine and the water-dense iceberg lettuce contain these powerful vitamins and minerals.
The American Institute for Cancer Research says dark green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of fiber, folate and a wide range of carotenoids. Cancer researchers are finding evidence that carotenoids seem to prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants.
Another favourite to foodies worldwide …
Green Chili Peppers
Did you know green chillies strengthen your immune system? And they are great for weight loss? These spicy little jewels regulate your blood sugar levels and manage insulin. True fact.
In addition to being a rich source of antioxidants, the green chili contains an anti-ageing property. Capsaicin, found in all peppers, triggers UV light blockers. Could this be a natural sun block?
For today, we leave you with these findings on eating a green diet.
Consider adding at least 2 varieties of leafy greens and some chilies to your menu this month. Note the health benefits we discussed, and be sure to send us a comment.
Love your food. Love your health.