Dark leafy greens are fantastic for your health. If you’re not eating them, start now and make them part of your daily routine. Here are some of the ways they protect your health and allow your body to heal.
They Unclog Your Arteries
If you have clogged arteries anywhere, you have them everywhere. If you want to start unclogging your blood vessels, the best thing you can do is fall in love with dark leafy green vegetables. These amazing foods heal blood vessels and protect you against crippling heart attacks and strokes.
Stents and bypass grafts are just spot treatments. They’re good in an emergency, but they do nothing for your other at risk blood vessels. To start addressing the problem as a whole, leafy greens are the answer.
Leafy greens are high in nitrates, which the arteries convert into nitric oxide, a gas that naturally dilates blood vessels. This maintains the blood to flow to your organs and tissues so they receive the oxygen they need to thrive.
For example, researchers studied a group of people eating spinach daily for 7 days. They compared them to a non-spinach eating group and found the spinach eaters experienced significantly improved blood pressure as a result. [Ref 1]
Greens Prevent Blindness
Many of my diabetic clients say one of their greatest fears is losing their vision. Fortunately, most cases of blindness are preventable. So instead of dreading the possibility of worsening eyesight, eat more leafy greens to protect your eyes naturally.
The science works like this: The retina is a layer of tissue in the eye that receives light and send signals to the brain to create vision. Dark leafy greens (collards, kale, spinach, etc..) are packed with yellow pigments (lutein and zeaxanthin) that nourish and protect the retina [Ref 2]. After you eat greens, the deep yellow pigments travel in your blood stream to the retina, which soaks them up just like a sponge. Greens also provide beta carotene, another amazing eye pigment to sharpen your vision.
They Help You Build Muscle
Did you know that leafy greens contain protein and help you build muscle? Absolutely they do. As long as you’re eating an adequate amount of plant-based food, you will get enough protein to keep your muscles strong. You don’t have to worry about becoming protein-deficient or weak.
Dark leafy green vegetables are known as super foods because of numerous health benefits. It’s not necessary for anyone to live life worried about catastrophes like heart attack, stroke or blindness. Protect your future health by eating more dark leafy greens as part of your everyday routine.
[Ref 1] Elena Jovanovski, Laura Bosco, Kashif Khan, Fei Au-Yeung, Hoang Ho, Andreea Zurbau, Alexandra L. Jenkins, Vladimir Vuksan. Effect of Spinach, a High Dietary Nitrate Source, on Arterial Stiffness and Related Hemodynamic Measures: A Randomized, Controlled Trial in Healthy Adults. Clin Nutr Res. 2015 Jul; 4(3): 160–167.
[Ref 2] Stringham JA, Bovier ER, Wong JC, Hammond BR Jr. The influence of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin on visual performance. J Food Sci. 2010 Jan-Feb;75(1):R24-9.
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
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Thank you Dr. Carla, I’m going to buy some greens when I get groceries.
Thank you Laura for reading the blog article and letting me that you’re inspired to eat greens. That’s a tremendous action step. Glad to hear this.
Great blog post Dr. Hightower! Keep up the good work!
Dr. Cook, thank you very much for reading the blog and letting me know that it’s helping. It’s my pleasure!
Thank you for this amazing life-chaning information! Per your suggestion a while back, I have been eating roughly 70% plant based foods. This change has afforded me many benefits. I’ve lost 26 lbs, built muscle, my hair has grown tremendously, my complexion is clear and glowing, and I have more energy and clarity in my thoughts. However, your blog today has heightened my awareness of the more important inward benefits of this regimen that are not so readily visualized until they become fatal: I.e., heart attack and stroke prevention. How important is the knowledge that eating plants can prevent these tragedies! Thank you for your desire to heighten the awareness of others regarding how easy and sensible it is to take care of your health naturally by making better diet choices!
Hi Christina, thank you for your generous feedback. I am delighted that you are doing so well and experiencing the benefits of plant-based nutrition. You’re doing an awesome job taking care of yourself and I am so proud of you!