Health Benefits of Leafy Vegetables
Leafy vegetables include any plant leaves eaten as vegetables and has members from a variety of taxonomic families. A diet plentiful in leafy vegetables has demonstrated a huge range of health benefits.
For example, in a 2004 prospective study of over 107,000 men and women in Japan, leafy green consumption was associated with a 40% lower risk of death from colorectal cancer in men.
A 2016 meta-analysis of eight studies from around the globe found that intake of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 16% reduction in cardiovascular disease—possibly due to their bile acid binding capacity (helping reduce cholesterol levels), their nitrate content (helping contribute to the body’s nitrite and nitric oxide pools), specific micronutrients (such as magnesium), or certain phytonutrients (such as lutein, which acts as an antioxidant).
A 2018 prospective study of 960 participants found that among older and elderly adults, the highest quintile of green leafy vegetable intake correlated with slower cognitive decline (an average of only 1.3 servings per day was associated with the equivalent of being 11 years younger in cognitive age!). And overall, for every 1/3 cup or so of leafy greens you eat each day you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%!
Examples of Leafy Vegetables
- amaranth greens
- beet greens
- collard greens
- mustard greens
- pea leaves
- sweet potato leaves
Nutrients in Leafy Vegetables
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