Why Should You Include Leafy Greens In Your Plant-Based Meal?

Plant-Based Meal
Plant-Based Meal
Plant-Based Meal
Plant-Based Meal

Leafy greens are an important part of any plant-based diet as they have many health benefits. Also, they are essential for maintaining a healthy balanced diet. You must know that they are a good source of dietary fiber that helps to maintain gut health. Because of this, nutritionists and health care experts ask their patients to include leafy greens in all types of diet. The purpose of this article is to discuss the importance of including leafy green in a plant-based meal; read on to know more about this.

What Are Leafy Greens?

Leafy greens are plant leaves that are eaten as vegetables, and they are popular among health-conscious people because of their high nutritional content. Remember that dozens of edible leaves are consumed as plant-based food. Often, they are green in color, but there are also leaves with purple or red pigmentation. The major difference between them is their different antioxidant profile.

Listed below are some common leafy greens used as vegetables:

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard greens
  • Peas shoots
  • Mustard greens
  • Bok choy
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Beet greens
  • Arugula
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress
  • Dandelion greens
  • Lettuce
  • Herbs like oregano, mint, thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.

Even though broccoli is a flower, it is considered a leafy green because of its nutrient composition.

The Nutrient Content Of Green Leafy Vegetables

Leafy greens are plant-based food rich in nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. However, they are low in fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Also, remember that their lower calorie and higher fiber content is an ideal combination, especially for those who are trying to reduce weight.

Leafy green vegetables are good sources of antioxidants like polyphenols and carotenoids. These compounds help to neutralize and reduce oxidative damage to cells and tissues by free radicals. This is important because free radicals are one of the primary triggers for oncogenesis.

The Antinutrients In Leafy Greens

The absorption of nutrients from leafy greens is reduced due to the presence of antinutrients like oxalates. It is found in most plant-based food, and it prevents the absorption of calcium. Leafy greens are good sources of calcium; cooking them reduces their oxalate content and thereby improves calcium absorption.

Listed below are leafy greens with low oxalate content:

  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Mustard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Turnip greens
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard greens
  • Watercress
  • Romaine lettuce

Listed below are leafy greens with high oxalate content:

  • Spinach
  • Endive
  • Beet greens
  • Swiss chard

We hope that this article clarified your doubts about the importance of including leafy greens in your plant-based meal.