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THE POWER OF GREEN

My daughter at the age of 4 proudly announced at the dinner table “I’m allergic to green!” After a moment of laughter from the family and accidently affirming her statement with said laughter, I realised I was in for a LONG battle to get her to eat her greens.

Still to this day I don’t always win the battle but I will win the war.

What I need my little humans to understand is the importance of eating green leafy vegetables. Now green leafy vegetables is a broad term and it’s easy to dismiss them as one type of food. But the reality is there are many, many varieties with a variety of nutritional value.

Did you know there are over 1,000 plants with edible green leaves?

Clearly there are not 1,000 options to select from when you are doing your weekly grocery shop. We are creatures of comfort and habit, we stick to what we know, what we like and what we know how to prepare. Unless you want to go foraging for your food in the wilderness it’s OK to buy what you need, preferably local, even organic if possible, long as we are eating fresh green produce were on the right path.

The importance to our health is undeniable. Green leafy vegetables contain both water-soluble and fat-soluble antioxidants, all of which protect against chronic illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Top of the list for its higher levels of vitamins and minerals are the ones with the darker green leaf. Think spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, watercress and swiss chard. These amazing plants are a major source of magnesium because of its high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is a cool nutrient for plants and for humans. If you can re-call Year 8 science it’s the green pigment that’s found in green plants and algae that allows the plant to convert sunlight into energy aka photosynthesis. What does this mean for my kale? Well it means that it this process has turned sunlight into food.

Sunlight = Green Food = HEALTH

Adults need to consume around 3-4 cups of dark leafy green vegetables each week. They are an essential dietary source of essential fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants as I mentioned above. They are packed with vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens are also excellent source of folate, which again also aid in reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and also memory loss. Another wonderful perk of folate is its ability to assist in the production of serotonin which can help ward off depression and improve your mood.

Simply put we need to ensure we are eating the recommended amount of leafy green vege. They are essential to good health. As adults we have no excuse not to include them in our diet. Now I just have to keep working on getting them on my little humans plate and eaten without any dramatic statements and without too much laughter! 

Please Note: There can be issues for some people with dark leafy greens if you suffer from IBS or if you are taking blood thinner medication, be sure to talk to your health professional before you change your diet as these vegetable are rich in vitamin K which plays an important role in blood clotting.

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