Green vegetables are absolutely packed full of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, as we all know, but which vitamins and minerals? And how exactly do they keep us healthy? Love Your Greens are here to give you a helping hand and explain the specific benefits of eating brassica veggies.
Green vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, kale and sprouts in particular, contain phytochemicals. These are a type of chemical that are only found in plants. Just a few of the phytochemicals found in green vegetables include lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants which reduce high-blood pressure and help to prevent heart disease, and are also found in our eyes, in the retina. Therefore, eating green veggies improves your eyesight by helping your retinas retain phytochemicals. This also helps prevent us developing cataracts in old age. So Mum was right after all when she told us eating vegetables helped us to see in the dark!
Beta-carotene is also a powerful antioxidant, but along with having the same benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin, beta-carotene also helps to boost your immune system and helps to fight off colds by converting into vitamin A when digested.
Green veggies also have many cancer-preventing properties. Some studies have concluded that lutein and zeaxanthin may actually help to prevent us developing breast and lung cancers. While those particular studies didn’t yield any solid results, scientists do know that indoles definitely do help to prevent us from developing breast, prostate and bowel cancers. Vegetables rich in indoles include sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli – basically all the brassica veggies except swede.
Quercetin is also found in brassicas. Like lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, it is a powerful antioxidant which prevents heart disease and some types of cancer, but it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. It blocks allergic reactions from occurring and stops certain cells from secreting fluid, which also means it’s great for skin and helps to prevent acne. Broccoli is particularly rich in quercetin, so next time you have trouble getting a teenager to eat their broccoli, remind them that it can help to fight spots!
Brassica veggies are rich in vitamins, including vitamin K which helps the production of osteocalcin, a substance which protects and maintains healthy bones, and vitamins A and C, which help to boost the immune system. The minerals magnesium and calcium are also found in abundance in greens. Calcium helps to strengthen bones, while magnesium helps to prevent us from developing type 2 diabetes.
Green veggies are truly a natural miracle, and are tools for preventing and curing a whole host of different diseases, infections and conditions. If this isn’t a solid reason to eat more and grow more greens, we don’t know what is.