We all know we need to eat more vegetables. Green leafy vegetables are particularly important, and eating enough of them will reward you with wonderful health benefits.
It’s easy to make vegetables taste wonderful with herbs, spices, different cooking methods such as caramelising and roasting, adding delicious dressings to salads, and of course always eating them with fat. Try to eat as many kinds and as much as you comfortably can!
1. Scrap the botox
Sick of spending money on anti-wrinkle creams? Eat more dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, bok choy, dandelion leaves, and broccoli leaves. Dark green leafy vegetables are packed with carotenoids and flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. With the addition of high doses of vitamins A and C and manganese, dark green leafy vegetables are a smart choice in the battle against premature ageing.
2. Still walking at 100
One cup of kale provides about 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process. The vitamin K in greens further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma. Kale has a whopping dose of vitamin K (there’s 1327% of the RDI in one cup), which is necessary for the synthesis of a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones.
3. Still seeing at 100
A daily cup of dark leafy greens keeps our eyesight sharp. They have plenty of vitamin C, which lowers blood pressure and fights against age-related ocular diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Kale contains the highest levels of antioxidants of all vegetables. Kale’s high content of antioxidants works to prevent and even combat cancer, in particular colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian and gastric cancer.
One cup of kale contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fibre, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating. Kale contains glucosinolate isothiocyanate (ITC), which fights the formation of Helicobacter pylori, a species of bacteria that can lead to gastric cancer if out of control.
6. Happy hearts, brilliant blood
The high fibre content of all vegetables lowers our cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of these bile acids are coupled with fibre, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to do so, ultimately regulating the amount of cholesterol within our bodies. The vitamin K in dark leafy greens such as choy sum also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Don’t forget the fat
Always eat vegetables with some kind of fat because the antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins they contain are best absorbed this way. Plus, fat carries flavour and makes things taste better! Try adding organic butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, nut butters, tahini, or other fats to your vegetables.
I love to sauté my greens in sesame oil with garlic, and add a splash of tamari and some chopped chilli for an Asian twist. Green smoothies, smoothie bowls, and salads are also delicious and quick to whip up.
Certain nutrients are better absorbed when vegetables are raw, while some are enhanced when they are cooked. So, unless you’re a devout raw foodist, I suggest eating a combination of cooked and raw vegetables. And if you can, buy organic or spray-free vegetables to minimise exposure to pesticide residues.
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