The Superpowers of Leafy Greens
As a reliable source of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and K, fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, and folate, the addition of leafy green vegetables to your daily diet has a plethora of health benefits that can keep your heart healthy, support bone health, and can even protect you from certain cancers. With heart disease and cancer being the top two leading causes of death in the United States according to 2019 CDC data, it’s more important than ever to be conscious of what we eat. Luckily, there are many different kinds of leafy greens out there so it doesn’t have to be a one size fits all when it comes to your greens. We’ve selected a few of our favorite leafy greens to highlight important health and nutritional benefits so the next time you're at the grocery store, you can be equipped to pick the best greens for your next meal.
Greens: Good for your Heart
One of the special properties of dark leafy greens is that the majority of them contain high levels of a B Vitamin known as folate or folic acid. Folate is a powerful nutrient which promotes heart health, aids in cell growth, and facilitates the production of our genetic material (DNA). Other studies have shown that dark leafy greens could help protect your cells from cancer because of their carotenoids or antioxidants that help give plants their color. The variety of essential vitamins found in leafy greens is also important for your overall health. Vitamin A is a necessary vitamin for normal vision as well as for growth, cell division, reproduction and immunity. Vitamin C protects cells against the effects of free radicals and supports immune system health. Vitamin K helps to protect bones while also facilitating the production of proteins needed for blood clotting. In addition to being a source of so many vitamins and minerals, leafy greens are a great addition to your meals because they leave you feeling full while still being low in carbs, sodium, and cholesterol.
You Are What You Eat
Considered a superfood, watercress is one of the oldest known leafy green vegetables and is rich in vitamins A, C, B9 (in the form of folate also known as folic acid), vitamin E, iron, and calcium. Gram for gram watercress holds more calcium than milk. Research suggests that daily consumption can prevent DNA damage as well as slow the progression between the stages of cancer. Being that they are semi-aquatic plants found natively in shallow waters along streams and rivers, they are a suitable crop for hydroponic farms. Here at Source we offer watercress grown from Imagine Farms’ hydroponic farm in the Little Haiti area of Miami.
As part of the cruciferous vegetable family, collard greens are similar to their relatives in that they are a good source of vitamin A, C, K, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. Collard Greens are special in that they provide a fair amount of vitamin B-6 which is a necessary vitamin that supports enzyme functions such as the breakdown of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Their large green leaves are often pulled away from their stem and boiled or sauteed. We have a great recipe for Corn Soup with Collards which you can find here, Corn Soup with Collards.
Kale is a crunchy, frilled, deep green cruciferous vegetable that is an ample source of immune boosting vitamins, bone building minerals such as calcium, and potassium to support heart health. These minerals and vitamins are oftentimes missing from our diets due to a lack of consumption of vegetables which means kale can have a profound impact on your overall health if added to your diet regularly. You can throw kale into smoothies, salads, soups, and omelets as it pairs well with a lot of different flavors.
Swiss Chard packs a punch like all the above mentioned dark leafy greens and therefore is rich in vitamins C and K, magnesium and potassium, and folate. Consuming one cup of swiss chard provides over 3 times the amount of vitamin k needed in a day which allows for our bodies to more readily absorb calcium. The high amount of chlorophyll present in Swiss Chard has been found to block some carcinogenic amines that are released as a result of grilling foods. We have a great recipe up on our blog for some yummy Indian Style Chickpea Crepes which feature creamy swiss chard. You can find the recipe here, Chickpea Crepes with Chard.
We feel there is no wrong way to get your fill of greens. Whether you choose to enjoy your greens in a smoothie which is fiber rich and helps regulate blood sugar, helping you to feel full, in juice that contains lots of antioxidants and is richer in chlorophyll, a salad that will be more filling than juice, or you try one of our delicious recipes, your body will thank you for adding greens to your diet! Please note, this information is for educational purposes and we always suggest consulting your doctor for any medical treatment .
Source offers a selection of the highest-quality produce, goods and more sourced local, organic, ethical, sustainable and as regenerative as possible. We are committed to sustainable practices for an invested connected community, in an authentic space that will endure.
You can find a variety of leafy greens grown by Imagine Farms in store weekly so be sure to visit us Monday through Friday, 10:30am - 6pm and online shopping is available.