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Benefits of Leafy Greens

May 12, 2008

If vegetables are the scarcest food in the American diet, leafy green vegetables are lacking most of all. Learning to cook and eat greens is essential for creating lasting health. Greens help build our internal rainforest and strengthen our circulatory and respiratory systems. The color green is associated with spring, a time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Nutritionally, greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.

Some of the benefits gained from eating dark leafy greens are:

  • blood purification
  • cancer prevention
  • improved circulation
  • immune strengthening
  • subtle, light and flexible energy
  • lifted spirit, elimination of depression
  • promotion of healthy intestinal flora
  • improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
  • clearing of congestion, especially in lungs, and reduction of mucus

You can choose from a variety of greens. Broccoli is very popular among adults and children. Be adventurous and try greens you’ve never seen before like: bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion and other leafy greens. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw. Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which depletes calcium from your bones and teeth.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.