Why You Need Leafy Greens in Your Diet
By Genevieve Cunningham
There seems to be two kinds of people when it comes to salads: Those who love it and those who want salad to burn in a fiery chasm. Salad can be low calorie, packed full of nutrients, and quite refreshing. But, it could also be interpreted as … boring. Though you can add plenty to a salad to make it more interesting, the staple will always be those leafy greens. Lettuce, kale, baby spinach … some love these types of foods while others feel like a rabbit gnawing on grass. If you’re in the latter group, it might be time to re-evaluate. Besides being a great addition to any meal, leafy greens can bring a ton of healthy benefits to your body. Read on to find out why leafy greens should be a part of your regular menu.
They’re Packed Full of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient that we can’t live without. If you’re deficient in Vitamin C (which is what’s known as scurvy), you’ll have some serious side effects. This vitamin aids your body in multiple ways, one of which is by boosting your immune system. If you want to be able to fight off illness and germs, you definitely need more Vitamin C. For this benefit, stick to the darker leafy greens such as kale, spinach, or collard greens.
It’s Rich in Folate
You’ve likely heard of folate in regards to expectant mothers. Women who are pregnant need a great deal of folate in order to help their little one develop properly. But, we all need this nutrient. Without it, you may suffer from heart problems, hormone imbalances, and other negative side effects. Since there are very few places that you can get enough folate in your regular diet (liver, anyone?), eating leafy greens is essential to your diet and your health.
If you’ve never heard of roughage, you probably haven’t been around livestock. Roughage, such as hay, is what helps to clean the digestive tract of the animals. In a similar way, leafy greens work as roughage in our bodies. Lettuce and other leafy greens help to calm and clear the digestive tract of toxins and waste. Though it’s not a pretty side effect, it is essential for your long-term health.
If you hate leafy greens, you’re in a little bit of luck. You don’t have to eat it raw in order to gain the benefits. Try jazzing up your salad first. If you still can’t stomach it, put your leafy greens in a blender with some fruit and water, and make yourself a smoothie. Get creative and you’ll likely find a way to enjoy these beneficial and necessary additions to the everyday diet.