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Why You Need To Eat Your Greens

Most people simply don't get enough fiber in their diet. People eat too much snacks, meat, eggs and dairy and not nearly enough plants like oats, beans and - leafy greens! Unfortunately, most Americans only eat green leafy vegetables about 1-2x a week, when in reality they should be consuming about 4 cups - A DAY!

Greens are SO vital for our health - they're a low calorie option, great for people conscientious about their weight. They're also low in fat, high in fiber, rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, like lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene (which can be converted into vitamin A, and improve immune function). All of these things can help to reduce the risk for things like cancer and heart disease. Greens are also high in dietary nitrate, which has important vascular effects, including reducing blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, preserving or improving endothelial dysfunction, enhancing exercise performance in healthy individuals and patients with peripheral arterial disease. Pre-clinical studies with nitrate or nitrite also show the potential to protect against ischaemia-reperfusion injury and reduce arterial stiffness, inflammation and intimal thickness.

The high level of vitamin K in greens makes them important for the production of osteocalcin, a protein essential for bone health. Green vegetables are also a major source of iron and calcium. While vitamin K and D are important for bone health, so is calcium as a raw building block.

Greens are also an important source of folate - which isn't just important for fetal development. Folate is also important to prevent elevated homocysteine levels (which can impair endothelial function and is a risk factor for heart disease).

Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also very valuable for persons with diabetes, or people with pre-diabetes. Studies show that a greater intake of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 14% reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes. Magnesium plays a part in the function of over 300 physiological processes in the human body - such as ATP, which the mitochondria uses magnesium to produce. ATP is an energy currency that every cell in our body can use and it keeps us alive.

Other than the health reasons listed above, greens also affect our skin!

Greens like kale contain lots of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that absorb and neutralize the free radicals created by UV light—including the wavelengths that actually get through sunscreen and reach your skin.

Plus, being chock full of antioxidants like vitamin C and A, green leafy vegetables are great for keeping the skin healthy!

If you're looking to add more leafy greens to your diet (& you should), here are some of the best:


Collard Greens

Turnip Greens

Swiss Chard




Dandelion Leaves

Romaine Lettuce


Bok Choy

To help you start getting your greens in, you may also want to use a powder supplement like this one. Or this one.

The bottom line is that leafy greens are rich in fiber, antioxidants and nutrients, all of which help keep your body and your skin healthy. Try adding more greens into your diet by adding them to smoothies, in salads, or sauteed as a side dish.


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