The importance of intaking a diet diverse in vegetables has been recognized for years. While eating the rainbow is important and beneficial in its own ways, green leafy vegetables are especially advantageous for a number of reasons including:
- High antioxidant content
- Rich source of vitamins and minerals
- Are low in calories and carbohydrates, providing a low glycemic food source packed with nutrients
- High fiber content helps in regulating digestive function, aids in bowel health and weight balance.
Research has shown that a diet inclusive of dark leafy greens can aid in defending cellular damage to the body, which is associated with a wide array of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and early mortality. Greens can help to fill nutrient gaps, aiding in energy production and day to day vibrancy. They contain bioactive compounds such as niacin (helps turn food into energy), flavonoids (enhance cell signaling pathways), carotenoids (enhance disease prevention pathways), sulforaphane (calms inflammation in body), and omega-3's (an essential fatty acid the body cannot make on its own) .
What Vitamins and Minerals do Greens Contain?
When incorporating veggies into your diet, a diverse selection of colorful veggies is a great idea. In terms of greens, here are a few wonderful ones to focus on. Reference below to learn about exact benefits in your dark leafy green of choice!
Kale: Vitamins A, K, B6 and C, potassium, copper, calcium
Spinach: Iron, magnesium, phosphorus, folic Acid, calcium
Watercress: Vitamin C, magnesium, calcium
Romaine: Potassium, beta carotene & hydration
Arugula: Vitamins C and K, magnesium
Bok choy: Vitamins C, K, and A, potassium, selenium
Beet greens: Rich in nutrients & antioxidants
Swiss chard: Rich in polyphenols
Collard greens: Vitamins A, C, K, Folate, Calcium .
Benefits of Adding Greens to Your Day
Dark leafy greens contain a significant amount of key vitamins and minerals for optimal, vibrant wellness. Read on to learn more about what benefits these nutrients within your dark leafy greens can provide!
B vitamins: help enzymes in our bodies carry out their job, support cellular functions, aid in breakdown of nutrients and transport throughout the body.
Vitamin A: supports vision, immunity, reproduction, growth and development
Vitamin C: helps to protect cells against free radicals (molecules which have been shown to play a role in disease)
Vitamin E: supports blood, brain, and skin health
Vitamin K: aids in bone protection & inflammatory disease prevention
Antioxidants: protect cells against free radicals
Fiber: supports bowl regularity, helps to lower cholesterol, aids in blood sugar regulation, supports weight balance
Iron: involved in growth and development of body’s cells & hormone support
Magnesium: involved in 300+ biochemical reactions in the body
Potassium: regulates heartbeat, ensures proper function of muscles and nerves, aids in metabolism of nutrients in the body
Calcium: aids in building and maintaining strong bones, heart, and nerves 
Greens for Blood Sugar Balance
Aside from leafy greens providing the plethora of nutrients outlined above, they have also been shown to help prevent high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and regulate blood glucose levels. This is mainly credited to the high fiber content in dark leafy greens, which slows digestion and ultimately slows the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the blood stream. While blood sugar balance not only helps you feel your best, the benefits also overflow into other areas of life such as sleep quality, hormone balance, and the body’s energy production .
How to Get Your Greens In
Salads can be a wonderful option to load up on greens. Depending upon your preferences, greens like arugula, spinach, romaine or beet greens can be tossed in a bowl with dressing components such as olive oil, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, or mustard for a tasty kick. Topping salads with roasted or raw veggies of your choice, protein, healthy fats, and toppings like nuts or seeds can be a great option for lunch or dinner any day.
If you’re a grab-and-go-wrap type person, look for one with greens or make your own. They’ll add a nutrient-dense freshness to your favorite wrap. Clean loves Siete brand wraps for a cleanse-approved option, as well as lettuce wraps!
Next time you’re making your favorite soup, load it up with greens of your choice! You’ll notice that even one whole cup of leafy greens boils down to almost nothing, so don’t be shy here.
A Stir-fry can be a wonderful meal to add leafy greens to, along with other vibrant veggies. Again, you’ll notice that several cups of greens will wilt quite drastically here!
Don’t like the taste of greens but want to experience all of these benefits we’ve mentioned? Smoothies do a wonderful job of hiding the taste of greens, without missing out on the nutrients. A handful of spinach or kale might turn your smoothie a pastel green color, but you won’t even taste it when combined with other ingredients .
So this all sounds great, right? But now to actually create a habit of incorporating greens into your life might feel a bit overwhelming. That’s why Clean has created Revive, our superfood greens powder. Not only does this powder contain green leafy vegetables, enhancing all the benefits we just discussed, but it contains other superfoods, herbs, fruits, and probiotics to support vibrant health as well. It can be consumed alone in water or added to your smoothie. We know you’ll love it!
Written by Ashley Stanek, Wellness Coach at Clean