Green vegetables such as kale, cavolo nero and spinach are not only versatile and delicious, but also offer a host of nutritional benefits, making them a great choice for summer eating.
Leafy greens contain nutrients which can help look after skin and bones, as well as support normal immune function and heart health and Discover Great Veg Nutritionist Pixie Turner has shared her top five reasons why we should all enjoy more of the veg.
- We tend to associate vitamin C with fruit, but one serving of kale has your entire daily intake of vitamin C, which is especially great if you're not a big fan of fruit! Just a big handful or around 80g of kale and you're getting all the wonderful benefits of vitamin C like wound healing, and for healthy skin, blood vessels, and cartilage. Vitamin C can't be stored in your body so it's one to try and get into your diet every day.
- Spinach is a good source of folate, which you may be familiar with as the nutrient that helps to prevent neural tube defects in early pregnancy. Even if you're not planning a pregnancy anytime soon, not getting enough folate can also lead to a type of anaemia, which can leave you feeling tired and lacking energy. The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) shows that most people in the UK do not get enough folate and are decreasing - so maybe we can use a little more spinach in life!
- Greens in general are a great source of vitamin K, which is an often ignored, very important vitamin for blood clotting and bone health. It's not a very common deficiency if you're otherwise eating a balanced diet, but if you're someone who relies heavily on animal products, getting those greens in is especially important. Osteoporosis is a growing problem in an ageing population, so it's vital to look after your bones while you're young.
- A meta-analysis (amalgamation and analysis of many studies) from 2016 showed that consuming green leafy vegetables can reduce the incidence of heart disease, just in case you needed another reason why greens are amazing. Data from 2018 shows that heart disease is the second leading cause of death in the UK for women, and number one for men. While leafy greens aren't going to prevent heart disease on their own, they can be important component of a pattern of eating that can help reduce your risk.
- Greens, whether it's kale, spinach, or cavolo nero, are all great ways of getting enough beta-carotene (vitamin A), which is important for skin health, eye health, and your immune system. We've all heard the story of eating carrots helping you see in the dark, and while that's not quite true, beta-carotene is good for your eyes! We can look beyond orange vegetables though to get our vitamin A - after all, we've all seen how green leaves can turn orange in Autumn, which is thanks to the presence of beta-carotene (normally the green chlorophyll masks the other colours). Plus, while you can have too much vitamin A, you can't have too much beta-carotene!
For some foodie inspiration, please make sure to check out our recipes.