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Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Superfood for a Stronger You

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Dark green leafy veggies, known for their soothing shades of green, are nutritional powerhouses filled with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They are also rich in chlorophyll, a pigment in plants that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and fiber, which is incredibly important to the smooth functioning of our digestive system.

Research shows that the unique, spicy flavor of arugula comes from a chemical compound called isothiocyanates, which offers natural protection to the plant from wild herbivores. In humans, this compound has anti-cancer and anti-neurodegenerative properties. Not only does arugula offer protection from certain cancers, but it is also high in several vital nutrients.

Spinach is among the top iron-packed green leafy veggies one can enjoy! The iron contained in spinach is non-heme iron. Dark leafy greens, including spinach, are packed with vitamin C and substances such as phytates and tannins that can aid in the absorption of non-heme iron.

Chard is an excellent source of potassium and magnesium, both of which help to regulate blood pressure levels. A study with 173,000 participants showed that one extra serving of leafy green vegetables per day led to an 11% reduction in the risk of heart disease.

Of all the super healthy greens that we've talked about so far, kale is probably the king of the dark green leafy veggie kingdom. Furthermore, like most dark green leafy vegetables, kale provides loads of vitamins, especially vitamins K, C and A. One cup, or 67 grams, of raw kale contains seven times the daily recommended vitamin K intake. The vegetable is a good source of plant-based calcium for bone health and contains important minerals such as magnesium and potassium.

Dark leafy greens also promote healthy skin. The beta-carotene in them acts as a natural sunscreen, by helping protect the skin from harmful UV rays, while at the same time bringing a youthful glow to our face. A good rule of thumb is to incorporate a variety of fruits and veggies, including dark leafy greens into a vegan diet. The more diversified your diet is, the more balanced your nutritional intake will be.
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