Ministry of Health column |28 May 2022
Supercharge your health with leafy greens
The first stop in your Plant-based journey should be to the market or your nearest street vendor to load up on leafy greens.
Leafy green vegetables are brimming with fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Your body can feel more satisfied since it is getting the essential nutrients each cell requires to function properly.
Make greens a daily habit
Eating at least one portion of green leafy vegetables every day can help protect you from many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
First, let's take a look at the broad advantages of loading up on them for your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Health benefits of leafy greens
Here are some examples of how these vegetables can improve your well-being:
Most green vegetables are low in calories. You can eat as much as you like without putting on extra weight. It is important however to avoid cooking them in a lot of oil or added fats.
Cardiovascular disease prevention
Greens are low in fat, high in dietary fibre, and rich in folic acid, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, E and phytochemicals with antioxidant properties.
One extra portion per day can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Type 2 Diabetes management
The lower carbohydrate content and high amount of dietary fibre gives leafy greens a low glycemic index which is ideal for the management of blood sugar in diabetes.
For those with diabetes therefore it is recommended that leafy greens are included several times per week.
The high levels of vitamin K, Magnesium, and calcium in leafy greens helps in the mineralisation of bones to keep it strong and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Reduce cancer risk
The rich beta-carotene and antioxidants in leafy greens helps to improve immune system functions and can help lower your risk of cancer.
Eating 3 portions or more per week of green leafy vegetables can lower a person’s risk for certain types of cancer.
Carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) found in leafy greens are concentrated in the macular region of the retina and the lenses of the eye.
A diet dominant in leafy greens helps protects the eyes of both children and adults.
Our local choices of leafy greens
Chinese cabbage (Bred Soudsin)
When it comes to nutrition, Chinese cabbage packs significantly more vitamins and minerals than regular cabbage. In addition to its high vitamin C and K levels, it's also full of folic acid and antioxidants. You can use it as a natural way to reduce inflammation.
Moringa (Bred Mouroum)
Moringa has many important vitamins and minerals. The leaves have many times more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas. It also has calcium, protein and iron which help your body heal and build muscle.
Watercress is one of the most nutrient-rich foods naturally available. It is rich in vitamin K, but also contains small amounts of vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper. It is also rich in antioxidants which protect body cells against oxidative stress.
Water spinach (Bred Lanmar)
Water spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients that benefit your body as well as your skin and brain. It contains abundant quantities of water, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A and other nutrients.
Amaranth leaves (Bred Paryater)
Amaranth is rich in antioxidants, including gallic acid and vanillic acid.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which are damaging by-products of normal cellular activity, helping to reduce everything from signs of ageing to heart disease.
We hope we have given you enough reasons to prioritise leafy greens in your diet.
Next week we shall give you tips on some best ways to prepare and enjoy our local leafy greens.
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Yours in health
The E4OH Team