Let’s face it; being green is an important aspect of life today. Preserving the environment through the use of recyclable products, buying produce and other groceries locally, using energy efficient appliances, and using alternative modes of transportation are definitely trendy. Yet, eating green to save the planet and our health has yet to catch on.
Just a few new green dietary habits, can have a serious impact on our health. Eating a diet that includes a variety of vegetables-and no they don’t all have to be green-is one of the best ways to preserve health. The American Dietetic Association recommends consuming at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day because they are packed full of essential nutrients that the body needs, and that most of us lack. While this may not mean a lot at first glance, these nutrients help maintain several important body functions. Plus, our boosted immunity will allow us to skip right through flu season without catching any bugs.
Green veggies such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, cabbage, and leafy green lettuce benefit the circulatory system by supplying magnesium, potassium, folic acid, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and phytochemicals. The fiber in vegetables is also known to reduce constipation. The mineral magnesium can prevent high blood pressure and keep the heart beat steady, and keep bones strong. Potassium maintains the function of the kidneys, heart, digestive system, and muscles. Folic acid manufactures red blood cells and prevents anemia. Vitamin C works to grow and repair tissues throughout the body. B-complex vitamins are essential for turning carbohydrates, protein, and fat into energy that fuels daily activity. The phytochemical lutein protects the eyes by reducing macular degeneration risks. Another phytochemical, beta-carotene is beneficial for vision and growth. Vegetables are also low in fat which can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and help keep the body running in top condition for years to come. To reap the benefits try to regularly incorporate all vegetables into each meal, or at least lunch and dinner.
Going green means more than just eating green. Red, orange, yellow, and purple vegetables provide an array of significant nutrients that may also prevent disease, improve energy, and boost immunity. These veggies should also be part of a well balanced diet. To go green on the inside, plan to dine on a rainbow of color each day!