Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Green Vegetables Keep Away Illness, Disease

When you are planning meals, be sure to include lots of greens in your diet. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collards, green beans, sugar snap peas, and broccoli are loaded with nutrients, fiber, and vitamins and minerals your body needs to function and keep the immune system and many other important body functions running smoothly. Here's the types of nutrients you will find find these fabulous foods and what they do for your body:

Vitamin K - leafy and collard greens, spinach, broccoli, and brussel sprouts; helps blood clot and maintain good bone health

Folic Acid - dark leafy greens; very important for cell development, helps protect against birth defects, helps red blood cells form and promotes heart health

B6 - spinach and green beans; aids in helping the body break down proteins and critical to a healthy nervous system and enables the body to break down stored sugar

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli; converts food into energy and aids in production of red blood cells

Alpha-lipoic acid - spinach and broccoli; helps rid the body of harmful substances (toxins), prevents cell damage, and is helpful in growth.

Vitamin A - leafy greens; assists in the normal functioning of the immune system and aids eyesight

Vitamin C - asparagus and broccoli, turnip greens; helps promote healthy immune system and enables the production of chemical messengers in the brain

Certain members of the dark green family deliver great health advantages to your body - try the cruciferous varieties such as arugula and broccoli. These vegetables contain phytochemicals known as indoles which prevent cancer and prevent and repair damage to DNA that can lead to cancer. They also block enzymes responsible for initializing carcinogens and reinforce detoxifiying enzymes.

You can find beta carotene, zeaxathin, and lutein in leafy greens such as chard, kale, bok choy, collards, and romaine lettuce. These nutrients also help thwart cancer development. Studies show a connection between consumption of these foods and a reduction of skin, lung, and breast cancer as well. Potassium and magnesium can also be found in these vegetables. These minerals regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

Recommended amounts of leafy greens and other greens by nutritional experts are 3 cups or more per week. The average American consumes about 1/2 per week or less. Clearly we are lacking in our intake of important vegetables, as is evidenced by our nation's poor health state. Eat more of these every day - your body needs them for good health!

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