Dark Leafy Green Vegetables Are More Important Than You Think
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If you've been encouraged to consume more dark, leafy veggies by your doctor, you're not alone. Turns out, dark leafy vegetables have some crucial nutrients and according to a study by the CDC, on average, 'dark leafy veggies supply 10 per cent or more of the daily value of 17 nutrients per 100 calories'. 

Moreover, the USDA and the US Department of Health And Research Sciences classify it as a 'superfood.' One of the primary reasons dark leafy greens are regarded as important is their exceptional nutrient density. These vegetables offer a large concentration of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while being relatively low in calories. This makes them an excellent choice for those looking to maximise their nutrient intake. But there are some other reasons why dark, leafy greens are crucial for a balanced diet. Here are some reasons: 

Vitamins and Minerals 

Vitamin A, which is found in abundance in dark greens veggies like kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, bokchoy etc is essential for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and a sound immune system. These veggies are also rich in Vitamin C which aids in collagen production for healthy skin and connective tissues. Vitamin K, prevalent in dark leafy greens, is vital for bone health and blood clotting. 

Minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium are also abundant in these vegetables. Iron is essential for oxygen transport in the blood while calcium contributes to bone health, magnesium plays a role in muscle and nerve function, and potassium helps regulate blood pressure. 

Combatting Free Radicals 

Dark leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in ridding the body of unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage and contribute to ageing and various diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin found in dark leafy vegetables help counteract oxidative stress, providing a potent defence against chronic conditions. 

Nurturing Cardiovascular Well-Being 

The combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in these vegetables contributes to lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and improving cholesterol levels. Regular inclusion in the diet may lower the risk of heart disease, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. 

Bone Health 

Vitamin K is commonly involved in bone mineralisation, helping to maintain strong and healthy bones. This is why most women over 40 are encouraged to consume  Vitamin K since the calcium levels in their bodies begin depleting by 35. Adequate vitamin K intake is associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures, particularly in older adults. 

Blood Clotting 

Most people may not know this but vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting, which in turn is important for wound healing and preventing excessive bleeding. Dark leafy greens are a natural source of vitamin K and ensure the body's ability to manage blood clotting effectively. 

Vision Health 

Kale and spinach contain compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin that are associated with enhanced vision health. These antioxidants accumulate in the retina and help protect against age-related macular degeneration and other eye conditions. Including these greens in the diet may contribute to maintaining clear and healthy vision