J. Wellington Wimpey
You Won’t Grow Up Big And Strong!
One of the main indications of financial success and upward mobility amongst socially aware Kenyan men is the ditching of so-called ‘rabbit food’ (vegetables) to be replaced with meat, chicken, sausages, burgers and fish.
But be that as it may, whilst these foods add important nutrients to the body, they cannot supplement the good old, readily available vegetables. Through times of famine, austerity and rationing the humble vegetable has been a mainstay of the diet good old British diet.
It is said that green leafy vegetables ensure beautiful skin and hair while vegetables such collards and kale are rich in calcium for strong teeth and bones. Add to that antioxidants such as vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin found in green vegetables can reduce the risk of cataracts and muscular degeneration. Vitamin C also reduces the risk of arthritis and bone fractures.
The vitamin E found in green leafy vegetables works with vitamin C to keep skin healthy as you age and also helps to protect skin from the sun’s damaging radiation. Green vegetables that contain beta-carotene, such as spinach, help in the growth and repair of body tissues and are a good source of folate, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and memory loss as well as warding off depression.
Collard greens, spring greens and kale are considered to be some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables available due to their many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants particularly vitamins A, C and K. To gain the full benefits that greens have to offer, they are best consumed raw since cooking can reduce their nutrient profile. Vitamin K can also reduce blood clots and promote healthy bones.
Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable and is easily incorporated into a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, smoothies and salads. Packed with iron it is said to be an aid to muscle growth and therefore physical strength!
Cabbage is formed of clusters of thick leaves that come in green, white and purple. It belongs to the Brassica family, along with Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli. Brassicas contain glucosinolates, which give them a bitter flavour. Studies have found that foods that contain these plant compounds may have cancer-protective properties, especially against lung and esophageal cancer. Another benefit of cabbage is that it can be fermented and turned into sauerkraut, which provides numerous health benefits, such as improving the digestion and supporting the immune system.
Beet Greens have been claimed to be beneficial for health since the middle ages. But although they have an impressive nutrient profile, while beets are commonly used in dishes, the leaves are often ignored which is unfortunate, considering that they’re edible and rich in potassium, calcium, riboflavin, fiber and vitamins A and K. Beet greens can be added to salads, soups or sauteed and eaten as a side dish.
Watercress is an aquatic plant from the Brassica family and thus similar to arugula and mustard greens. It’s said to have healing properties and has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. Test-tube studies have found watercress extract to be beneficial in targeting cancer stem cells and impairing cancer cell reproduction and invasion. Watercress has been used in herbal medicine for centuries.
Romaine Lettuce is a common leafy vegetable with sturdy, dark leaves with a firm centre rib. It has a crunchy texture and is a popular lettuce, particularly in Caesar salads. It’s a good source of vitamins A and K. Research in rats showed that lettuce improved their levels of blood lipids, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. Further studies need to investigate these benefits in people.
Swiss Chard has dark-green leaves with a thick stalk that is red, white, yellow or green. It’s often used in Mediterranean cooking and belongs to the same family as beets and spinach. It has an earthy taste and is rich in minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, manganese and the vitamins A, C and K. It also contains a unique flavonoid called syringic acid that may be beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels. While many people typically throw away the stems of the Swiss chard plant, they’re crunchy and highly nutritious.
Arugula is a leafy green from the Brassica family that goes by many different names, such as rocket, colewort, rucola and rucoli. It has a peppery taste and small leaves that can easily be added to salads or used as a garnish. It can also be used cosmetically and medicinally. Like all leafy greens, it’s packed with nutrients such as pro-vitamin A carotenoids and vitamins B9 and K.
Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage that has thick, dark-green leaves which make it wonderful addition to soups and stir-fries. It contains the mineral selenium, which plays an important role in cognitive function, immunity and cancer prevention. Selenium is also beneficial for proper thyroid gland function. This gland is located in your neck and releases hormones that play a key role in metabolism.
Turnip Greens are the leaves of the turnip plant, which is a root vegetable similar to beetroot. The greens pack more nutrients than the turnip itself, including calcium, manganese, folate and the vitamins A, C and K. They have a strong and spicy flavour and are often enjoyed cooked rather than raw. Turnip greens are considered a cruciferous vegetable, which have been shown to decrease the risk of health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and inflammation. Turnip greens can be used as a replacement for kale or spinach in most recipes.Leafy greens are packed with important and powerful nutrients that are critical for good health.
Fortunately, many greens can be found all year round, and can easily be incorporated into the daily diet in many surprising and diverse ways. In order to reap the many impressive health benefits of leafy greens, make sure to include a variety of these vegetables, at least five portions a day.