Adding leafy greens and green vegetables to a healthy diet is a simple, delicious and effective way to battle the bulge. While they won’t counteract the negative effects of an unhealthy diet, veggies and leafy greens — when combined with a healthy diet — can assist your weight-loss efforts by nourishing the body on a cellular level.
Nutritional benefits in green produce that help with weight loss
Leafy greens and green veggies are packed with fiber, which keeps you feeling full because it takes longer to be digested. In the digestive process, fiber promotes good bacteria in the gut, sweeps out bad bacteria, while adding few calories! But what’s more important than calories is quality; the nutritional quality in leafy greens and green vegetables surpasses that of all other foods. Green produce contains amino acids, necessary vitamins and minerals, and the alkaline nutrient known as chlorophyll. Chlorophyll reduces cravings for unhealthy foods, and also helps reduce inflammation in the body, both of which can help with weight loss.
Here are five of the top choices from the green kingdom and how to enjoy them throughout the day… it’s not all salads and crudités!
Spinach is one of the most nutritionally dense options you can choose. It contains five grams of protein per cup, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc and calcium, which together support metabolism, mood, bone health, blood sugar and the nervous system. Use baby spinach in a smoothie, salad, or in an omelet for breakfast. This green provides a sweet and hearty flavor that can’t be beat!
Kale isn’t just great for fighting off disease, it’s also a great option if you’re trying to drop a few pounds. Replacing the starches in your diet with kale is a great way to train your body to enjoy more greens. Cook kale, garlic and onions together in some coconut aminos for a delicious side dish in place of grains and bread — you’ll drop a few pounds in no time!
This robust, tall leafy green nearly shouts how good it is for us. Swiss chard is packed with one of the most important minerals for a healthy nervous system and balanced blood sugar levels: magnesium. It’s also a great source of B vitamins and chlorophyll. Try using Swiss chard in smoothies, cut into strips for soups and salads, or even in omelets and frittatas.
Broccoli and broccolini
Both of these veggies are great sources of vitamin B6, calcium, amino acids (protein), and ample amounts of chlorophyll to fight inflammation. Just avoid eating these veggies raw as they contain a sulfuric compound that can be hard to digest, but which dissipates during cooking. Steam broccoli with some grass-fed butter or ghee, cook it in a skillet with some onions or garlic, or even roast it with some coconut oil and sweet potatoes for a delicious, lean side for dinner!
Last but not least, let’s talk about a veggie that’s not just low in calories and high in fiber, it’s great for your gut, brain and kidney health too. Asparagus is high in prebiotics, which feed good bacteria in the body. It’s also a natural diuretic to help you shed unwanted water weight, and it has high amounts of potassium for your blood pressure and joint health. Finally, asparagus is packed with two B vitamins necessary for metabolism and mood: folate and vitamin B6. Grill it, steam it, or nosh on it raw — either way, this veggie is a fabulous choice for your weight with four grams of fiber and four grams of protein per cup.
Remember that healthy weight loss is more about eating quality food than it is about counting calories. Be sure to include all types of green produce, lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats for the best way to manage your weight the natural, healthy way.
How might these green foods benefit other parts of our health aside from just weight loss?
—The Alternative Daily