Let’s Go Green: It’s a Challenge!

Kale is SO the New Black

Many of you may have heard of the benefits of eating your veggies and adding more to your diet, but many of us don’t know why exactly. Something about vitamins or fiber maybe, but what’s the REAL answer of why you should add more to your daily diet?

The Good Stuff

The “latest” dietary recommendation is that adults eat 3 cups of green leafy veggies per week…this would mean about 1/2 cup per day. Now, me being me I think we need much more, but we start there. Are you eating your 3 cups a day? Dark green veggies provide potassium and magnesium which are linked to healthy sugar levels and blood pressure (REASON #1 TO GO GREEN).

So which veggies should we eat? Leading questions? Sure I’ll answer…well, romaine lettuce – and even darker green leafy vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, the famed kale, collard greens, mustard greens and turnip greens – contain beta-carotene as well as lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are all powerful antioxidants that seem to play a role in blocking early stages in the development of cancer (THIS IS YOUR REASON #2 TO GO GREEN).

Some studies even link them with a lower risk of breast, lung and skin cancers. In addition, lutein seems to help slow the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a cause of age-related blindness (REASONS #s 3 & 4).

These same dark greens can also supply a significant amount of folate. Folate is a B vitamin that promotes heart health and helps prevent certain birth defects. Folate is also necessary for DNA duplication and repair. Without repair, damaged cells can develop into cancer. (REASON #5). The importance of folate should not be underestimated (especially if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive). Even after considering the presence of other cancer-fighting nutrients, several studies show that the risk of colon polyps, which are the source of most colon cancers, is 30 to 40 percent lower in people with a high folate intake compared to those with diets low in folate.

The Week 12 Challenge!

Get your 3 cups of green leafy veggies/week PLUS add in an extra cup for good measure. This will not only ensure that you’re getting more good stuff in, it will help you to eat less of other stuff that’s not as beneficial for you! It’s the 4 cups of green challenge! Steam, saute, eat raw…it’s your call. Let’s GO GREEN!

It’s a Challenge Thursday: Past Challenges

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I can see you GETTINGFIERCE!

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