A beautiful slender girl eating healthy food

Eat your greens. This wasn’t because mom wanted to punish us for being naughty. Her constant reminder at the dinner table didn’t have anything to do with us being naughty or nice — she merely wanted to keep us healthy and disease free!

What’s the big deal with the green leafy vegetables, anyway? Really, why are they good for us? A lot, actually. The health benefits of your spinach, cabbage and turnip greens are far more than what you give them credit for. Those leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses that give you fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep you sharp, alert, active and healthy.

Their health benefits are outlined below:

1. Because they are very low in calories, leafy vegetables are ideal foods for weight management. Green smoothies with kale or arugula, for example, may be used to replace a meal or as snacks since they keep one fuller for longer. This can be attributed to the high water content in leafy greens.

2. They reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease because they are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. They also contain phytochemicals like lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene that fight free radicals and cancer. By consuming green leafies regularly, you also lower your risk of developing cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. More importantly, these vegetables keep your immune system primed and functioning to ward off any disease that may attempt to weaken your body.

3. Increasing your leafy green intake to 1 serving per day lowers your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. This is because leafy greens are high in magnesium and have low glycemic values which do not cause spikes in your blood sugar levels.

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