Oct 11, 2013

Healthiest of ........ Dark Green Leafy Vegetables


Do you know which color of vegetables is the most nutritious and beneficial in our food supply? The answer comes as no surprise: dark green, leafy vegetables.

Most of us avoid eating green and leafy vegetables, and for some it, would be the last choice to have. In spite of our grandmothers continuous explanations about the benefits of eating green and leafy vegetables, as a child, we often hated eating green veggies, and would finish eating only if were offered a good tempting dessert. Similarly, almost every visit at the pediatrician during childhood would end up in a conversation discussing the amount of greens we would consume during a week- without any significant improvement in dietary habits. Very few people eat their greens and actually enjoy eating them; some are new starters and still love eating them; as they are aware of all the good benefits that green leafy vegetables contain. 

Eat Green - leafy and other colourful vegetables to stay Healthy and fit.Green and green leafy vegetables are rich source of essential minerals and vitamins;they help to detoxify our body and regular intake of vegetables helps to keep away the serious diseases.

Dark green leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses filled with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They are rich in chlorophyll, which alkalinizes the blood, and fiber, which keeps the colon healthy. The USDA recommends eating one-half cup of green leafy vegetables each day to prevent nutrient deficiencies and serious illnesses. There are many varieties of edible green leaves, and they are most nutritious when eaten raw or lightly steamed. These vegetables are packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, minerals, and an abundance of phytochemicals so vast that nutrition professionals are still trying to uncover all of their goodness. 

Green foods are crucial to our health for a plethora of reasons including their role in strengthening the immune system, cancer prevention, improved blood circulation, blood purification, lowering cholesterol, promotion of healthy intestinal flora, increased energy, detoxification through improved liver, gall bladder functions, kidney function, and even clearing congestion.

THE 10 BEST LEAFY GREENS

1. MICROGREENS
  • Here’s proof that great things come in small packages. Microgreens—which are the underdeveloped greens of vegetables such as kale, arugula, and broccoli that are harvested just one to two weeks after planting—are a treasure trove of vital nutrients. A 2012 study lead by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that several varieties of microgreens including cabbage and cilantro contain nutrient levels such as vitamins C and E up to six times greater than those found in the mature plants. During early development, vegetables need a full arsenal of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support their growth, so they’re packed with more of the good stuff. Ranging in flavor from peppery to tangy, use microgreens to punch up salads, soups, and sandwiches.
2. KALE
  • When it comes to grown-up greens, kale is deserving of its superfood epithet. It absolutely smashes its competitors in terms of lutein, a potent antioxidant shown to protect eyesight, and leads the way with respect to beta-carotene and vitamin C. As a member of the Brassica family along with broccoli and Brussels sprouts, kale also brings sulforaphane to the table, a phytonutrient shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Steaming or sautéing kale will mellow this all-star’s bitter flavor.
3. SPINACH
  • Perhaps Popeye should have been a nutritionist instead of a sailor. Among the greens, spinach harbors the most folate, and according to a recent American Journal of Epidemiology study, consuming more of this B vitamin helps protect against breast cancer development, likely because folate is needed for proper cell division. Spinach is also tops when it comes to potassium, which is necessary for muscle functioning and to keep blood pressure numbers in a healthy range.
4. MUSTARD GREENS
  • As the name implies, these are the lacy-edged leaves of the same plant that produces mustard seeds. Mustard greens tend to be a little less bitter and more peppery tasting than kale or Swiss chard and come second to only kale in beta-carotene. In our bodies, beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A to bolster eye and bone health. The greens also contain an arsenal of phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can rev up detoxification enzymes to help protect the cells of our liver and other organs from all the nasties of free-radical damage.
5. COLLARD GREENS
  • This Southern favorite has large, leathery leaves and a somewhat mild flavor, but its tough texture calls for longer cooking times than other greens. On top of providing a payload of vitamin K, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, collards contain higher amounts of dietary fiber than other leafy greens. A 2012 Swedish study found that women who ate the most fiber had almost a 25 percent lower risk of suffering heart disease than those who consumed the least.
6. SWISS CHARD
  • There are two primary varieties of Swiss chard in markets: one with multi-colored stems and veins, called rainbow chard, and another with white stems and veins. Both types have a slightly bitter taste that wanes once cooked. Among chard’s many nutritional highlights is more vitamin K than any other green—three times the daily quota in a mere cup serving. On top of its role in proper blood clotting, vitamin K helps fortify bone strength and Dutch researchers recently determined that high intakes can slash the risk for type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
7. ARUGULA
  • Arugula has a pungent, peppery flavor that has worked its way into the recipes of many rock star chefs. You’ll most often find it at the grocery store in plastic containers alongside baby spinach. Vegans, those lactose-intolerant, and anyone who doesn’t like milk should note that arugula is a surprisingly good source of calcium—it has more of this bone-builder than the other greens on this list. Loading up on arugula may also help you breeze through your workouts since it has high levels of natural nitrates—what your body uses to nitric oxide, which increases muscle blood flow—that Swedish scientists found can help your muscles work more efficiently during exercise.
8. ROMAINE
  • If darker greens are too bitter to swallow, try this crispy lettuce. The medley of nutrients romaine provides includes beta-carotene, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Science shows that women who consume higher amounts of vitamin C have healthier blood pressure numbers. Heads of romaine tend to be more perishable than heartier greens, though, so store them in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel for up to three days.
9. BUTTERHEAD
  • Resembling a blooming rose with deliciously tender light green leaves, many people find eating raw butterhead lettuce more appetizing than the robust darker greens. Swap out your carby tortillas or flatbreads for the large, pliable leaves when making wraps for a good dose of vitamin K and manganese, a mineral necessary for proper carbohydrate and protein metabolism. And like other greens, this leafy green is exceptionally low-cal—a cup will set you back a mere seven calories.
10. ICEBERG
  • This vegetables is far from nutritional nirvana. Made up mostly of water, iceberg lettuce pales, so to speak, in comparison to darker greens in terms of vitamins, minerals, and disease-busting antioxidants. Still, with just 10 calories in a shredded cup, it won’t do any harm to your beach body and its toothsome crunch can enliven sandwiches, tacos, and mixed green salads.
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