Everyone knows eating your greens is good for you! Why? Green fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that lower the risk of breast, prostate, lung, and other cancers. They also promote eye health, boost immunity, and help to build strong bones. Typically, the more dark and rich colored the food, the more nutrient-packed it is (think kale and spinach).
Examples of greens you can easily find in your local grocery store are: swiss chard, green pears, kiwis, parsley, cucumber, kale, romaine lettuce, cilantro, zucchini, green pepper, celery, broccoli, leek, artichokes, asparagus, endive, limes, peas, watercress, arugula, avocados, green beans, green chiles, green grapes, okra, green apples, green tea, and bok choy.
Some green foods are rich in lutein. Lutein reduces the risk of macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in older individuals) and may protect the lens of the eye from sunlight damage.
Cruciferous vegetables contain more phytonutrients with cancer fighting properties than any other family of vegetables.
Green tea is a potent antioxidant that helps repair damaged DNA. It contains polyphenols which reduce the risk of stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreatic, lung, and breast cancers. Green tea also activates your liver’s detoxification which helps defend your body against such things as cancer.
For optimal health, you should consume all seven colors of the phytonutrient rainbow everyday – red, orange, purple, yellow, green, blue, and white. Next week I will finish up my series on eating the rainbow and discuss the importance of white foods.