The benefits of leafy greens make them a vital part of any balanced diet. That much is certain.
But have you ever wondered what the benefits of leafy greens are? What makes them so unique? Why do countless experts and gurus recommend consuming them?
There are many reasons why you might want to add leafy greens to your diet, and we’ll look at them below. Let’s dive in.
Amazing Benefits of Leafy Greens
The most notable benefit of leafy greens is their nutritional profile. They are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals we need to function well and remain healthy. Plus, they are also a fantastic source of fiber – a complex carbohydrate that plays a massive role in our digestion and gut health.
Another considerable benefit of leafy greens is their low energy density and strong effect on our satiety.
For example, a large bowl of mixed greens can be as little as 100 calories but fill you up and keep you satiated for at least a couple of hours. This is an amazing benefit if you’re struggling with hunger and are trying to maintain your weight.
Health Benefits of Leafy Greens
Besides their general benefits, leafy greens directly impact our health in numerous profound ways.
Most notably, leafy greens are fantastic for weight loss.
Folks who regularly consume these veggies tend to lose weight more easily and maintain their results afterward. This helps normalize blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and prevent cardiovascular issues down the road.
If you’re interested in remaining lean year-round, leafy greens are a must-add to your nutrition because they keep you satiated without adding many calories to your daily total.
In general, research finds that people who consume more leafy greens are happier, healthier, and live longer lives (1).
The Best Types of Leafy Greens
Here are the five healthiest leafy greens you should add to your diet:
- Spinach – a fantastic vegetable full of vitamins A and K and folate.
- Kale – one of the most nutritionally-dense vegetables with tons of antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Collard Greens – related to kale, these greens are incredibly healthy and boast impressive amounts of vitamins A, B9 (folate), C, and K.
- Cabbage – also related to kale and spinach, cabbage is an incredibly nutritious and low-calorie green you should be eating.
- Romaine Lettuce – a veggie rich in vitamins A and K, Romaine lettuce is crunchy, low in calories, and can improve blood lipid profile.
The Importance of Nutritional Variety
Most experts agree that we should eat plenty of leafy greens. But this doesn’t mean we should only consume them. Instead, we should aim to include all colors when putting together a balanced diet (2).
Good examples include:
- Orange – carrots
- Red – tomatoes and Bell peppers
- Yellow – squash and yellow Bell peppers
- Purple – eggplant and onion
- White – garlic, onion, and cauliflower
Each offers its unique benefits in the body, and we should have some of all to optimize our health. For example, purple veggies are good for the brain and bones. Orange veggies are good for growth and the immune system. Red veggies support our prostate health.
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1. Enloe, A. (2018). The 13 Healthiest Leafy Green Vegetables. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/leafy-green-vegetables.
2. Vegetables and Fruits. The Nutrition Source. (2021). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/.