We’re often told that a beige plate is unhealthy, and that a balanced diet should always include lot of colour and vibrancy, but why? It’s because beige foods tend to be processed – things like breadcrumb-coated chicken nuggets, for example – while natural, plant-derived foods are always more colourful. This is due to glucosinolates which occur in practically every plant; natural compounds that give fruit and vegetables not only their colour, but also their taste, and their overall properties, too.
Rainbow foods are great for the body. Orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes contain carotenoids that can help to reduce the risk of eye disease, while red vegetables contain anthocyanins which act as pretty powerful anti-inflammatories. So what about green veg? What makes it so good?
Go Green for Health
‘Superfoods’, which are foods that are very nutrient-dense, are often green in colour. Brussel sprouts, bok choy, avocados, spinach, and asparagus are all said to be ‘superfoods’, and that’s because they contain high levels of phytochemicals; mostly indoles and lutein. Indole-3-carbinol has hit the headlines lately, as research has identified a potential ability to protect against certain cancers, especially prostate cancer and oestrogen-related cancers in women such as breast cancer and cervical cancer. Lutein, on the other hand, is believed to be essential for skin health, helping to protect it from harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause damage.
While we should all be making the effort to include green vegetables in our day-to-day diets, it’s believed that these veggies are especially important for women because they contain high levels of folic acid. Folic acid is essential for the healthy development of a baby, and it’s recommended that pregnant women, or women trying to become pregnant, should be consuming 0.4mg of folic acid per day. Peas and broccoli are both excellent sources of folic acid, along with romaine lettuce, collard greens, and green beans.