One thing people really struggle to get into their diet is green leafy vegetables. This is a shame because they are extremely nutrient-dense. Rich in vitamins A, C, K and many B vitamins, as well as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and fibre, these nutrients are an important component for many of our body’s processes, and play a huge role in our mental and physical wellbeing. Nutrients in greens also repair damage from free radicals, help to balance blood pressure, help protect against cancer, and support our gut health. Green leafy vegetables also have a high omega 3 to omega 6 ratio, which is exactly what our bodies need to fight inflammation.
Examples of green leafy vegetables are spinach, kale, broccoli, swiss chard, savoy cabbage, spring greens, Brussels sprouts, rocket, pak choi, watercress, romaine lettuce, beetroot tops and even herbs like fresh coriander, basil, chives, and parsley. It’s also important to vary the types of greens we eat because each type also offers a different balance of nutrients and phytochemicals that help our bodies maintain health in a variety of ways.
There are various ways of getting more of these highly nutritious vegetables into your diet, which I’ll talk about in my next post. As a rule of thumb, I’d recommend 2-3 portions per day, especially if you are on a dairy-free diet (green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium and magnesium – important for bone health!) If you can’t manage this at the moment, start with 2-3 portions a week. Simply eating more of these nutrient-rich vegetables will make a huge difference to your wellbeing then, if you can, build up more portions as you get used to your new routine.
In the next post we’ll be looking at exactly how to introduce more greens into your diet.
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