Dose of Dark: Four Super Veggies!

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We all know what we should be eating but are we really stocking up our fridges with the best of the best? (KFSN)

We all know what we should be eating but are we really stocking up our fridges with the best of the best? Well, you might need to go dark green to get healthy!

New research shows you should be eating more dark, leafy greens! Nadine Pazder, Registered Dietician of Morton Plant Hospital told Ivanhoe, "Leafy greens are part of the category of super foods."

SubmitSome great greens to first consider are kale and spinach. Kale contains more than 100-percent of your daily requirement of vitamins A, C and K which can improve bone health and skin elasticity. It also has more iron per calorie than beef! Another great green is spinach. It's packed with vitamins and also has lots of lutein which protects against eye diseases.

"The blue wave length tends to be very damaging to the eye and over time it can actually lead to macular degeneration, so what lutein does is it filters out the blue light and protects the eyes" Pazder explained. Some research shows lutein may be even better absorbed if it's consumed with a little fat like olive oil.

Collards are also a great green to consider. In addition to providing numerous vitamins and minerals, these dark greens also contain five grams of fiber per cup and can support digestive health when consumed regularly.

Lastly, Swiss chard is a super green to add to your diet. This slightly salty green has many health benefits. For one, it's rich in biotin, which may promote hair growth and strength and all dark leafy veggies are cancer protectors.Submit

Pazder told Ivanhoe, "One of the compounds they contain is indoles and indoles tend to prevent carcinogens from getting into individual cells."

So next time you're at the super market, you might want to fill your cart with a little dark green!

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, about a third of the most common forms of cancer in the U.S. can be attributed to and prevented by a person's diet, physical activity and being overweight.

Beth Hardy
Communications Manager, BayCare Health System

Dose of Dark: Four Super Veggies! -- Research Summary

BACKGROUND: Studies have shown that eating 1 to 4 cups of vegetables as part of our daily diet is vital for our body and overall health. Vegetables have been linked to many nutrients and have reduced the risk of many diseases. However, a recent study shows that Americans eat green less than any other color of vegetable. The dark green leafy vegetables are the ones that are especially consumed the least. These vegetables are some of the most important and they need to be consumed more. These vegetables include greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage and Bok Choy. The benefit of these vegetables is that they are rich in minerals as well as vitamin A, C, E, and K. These foods are also important to many different aspects of our health. These foods are believed by many experts to purify blood, improve blood circulation, strengthen the immune system, rid our liver and gallbladder of toxins, give the body more energy, and even can help prevent cancer. (Source: and

KALE AND ITS BENEFITS: Kale has continuously been called a super food, and has been ranked as the number one leafy green in studies. Kale is only 33 calories per cup, and contains 9 percent of calcium, 134 percent of vitamin C, 206 percent of vitamin A and a huge 684 percent of vitamin K needed daily. Kale also contains carotenoids and flavonoids which are antioxidants connected to helping prevent cancer. A study also showed that eating a diet full of Vitamin K can also significantly decrease your chances of dying from cancer. Eye health can also be improved because it is full of lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. Since kale is loaded in fiber, it helps lower cholesterol and lowers the chance of heart disease by binding bile acids. By cooking kale, rather than eating it raw, this benefit is increased even more. Kale and other dark leafy greens can be found year round, even in the winter because they grow in cooler environments. Kale is the most fresh when it has deep colored leaves and strong stems.

NEW RESEARCH: According to, dandelion, red clover, plantain, watercress and chickweed are all edible green leaves that are likely to grow in your own backyard. Dandelion greens promote a healthy liver, plantain and watercress keep skin cells healthy, red clover regulate hormones and chickweed has anti-inflammatory properties. You can add these greens to salads, stir-fries, or even soups!

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