“Eat your greens!”, said the mother to the child.
As we grow & get caught up in the humdrum of a monotonous life, we tend to forget the benefits of eating clean.
Green vegetables are the reservoirs of health & this article is a tribute to how they contribute to healthy living. Read on to discover how eating green goes a long way in boosting your gut health and in turn uplifting your mood.
5 gut-friendly leafy greens that you must add to your diet:
Before we get to the part where we advise you on what leafy vegetables to eat, let us understand how you can boost gut health and micromanage your mood and mental health through the gut microbiome.
The role of the gut microbiome
The gut has billions of bacteria & viruses with fungi living inside it. They form the gut microbiome that plays a critical role in almost all important functions performed by the human body.
The microbiome helps break down food your body can't digest, produce essential nutrients and regulate the immune system. The gut is also known as the second brain because it influences the central nervous system, thereby impacting emotional wellbeing, mood and mental health.
Green vegetables like spinach have loads of fibre. When bacteria digest this fibre, they produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut, improving one’s immune response and mood. The more fibre you eat, the more fibre-ingesting bacteria thrive inside your intestines and vice versa.
Here are 5 green leafy vegetables you must include in your diet for tip-to-toe health:
This is a member of the Mustard & Cabbage family that contains loads of vitamin K. This fat-soluble vitamin helps in forming blood clots in your body and also helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It builds stronger bones too.
A cup of kale contains 200% of your recommended daily dose (RDA) of vitamin A and 140% of vitamin C. Most green, leafy vegetables like kale contain polyphenols that are natural antioxidants too.
Enjoy kale as a smoothie, a palatable salad or saute it to keep its nutrients alive.
Spinach is rich in vitamin K, C, B and A, manganese, folic acid, magnesium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and fibre.
It has micronutrients like iron that give you strong muscles. It also helps preserve your vision and lower blood pressure. Spinach can protect you from colon cancer by boosting your gut microbiome diversity and health.
Whip up the good ol’ Spinach in a quick stir fry, blend it for tasty soups and smoothies or blanch it and toss it in some pasta. Either way, the spinach works the charm for the mind, body and soul.
Amaranthus is a rich source of vitamins A and K, and also in Calcium and Folates making them great for your gut, heart and brain.
Having it raw is best. It can be eaten as a part of your daily salad as it has a spicy, peppery kick. It can be sauteed too.
Dill is rich in Vitamin A, C and Iron making them extremely beneficial for reducing blood sugar levels, improving bone health and also for good sleep.
You can include Dill in your diet by dropping them in salads and soups for a fresh herbaceous and also in stir fry and curries. Dill is most famous for making cucumber pickle.
Healthier than its cousin kale because of the presence of folic acid, a water-soluble form of vitamin B.
Vitamin B has many uses in your body. It boosts nerve health and also supports male fertility. Studies have shown that folic acid supplementation goes a long way in boosting sperm count. Another benefit of this lettuce is that the folate in it helps in regulating mood.
Most commonly used in Caesar's salad, these leaves can also be used for soups, stews, and curries.
How to make the most out of these leafy greens?
It is important to note how green vegetables are cooked to preserve micronutrients. Do remember to only lightly steam, saute or have these green superfoods raw as this helps preserve the fibre content and micronutrients.