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Eating Well

Green vegetables

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Why it’s worth eating green vegetables and fruit

A colourful diet brings variety to the kitchen. You can support your own health by cooking different coloured vegetables. Many people like to grab yellow peppers, purple aubergines or red tomatoes in the supermarket — but green vegetables can also be regularly added to the shopping basket. Besides green vegetables, such as broccoli and courgette, dark green leafy vegetables are particularly healthy. Lettuce, kale, spinach and other green vegetables are full of nutrients. To get your daily portion of vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and iron, green vegetables can be the ideal choice.1

Where do broccoli, spinach and other vegetables get their green colour?

The rich colour ranges from light green as in grapes to dark leafy greens — but where does the colour come from? In contrast to many other colourful foods, the rich colour of vegetables doesn’t come from artificial dyes — it occurs naturally through secondary plant phytochemicals. As well as colour, these phytochemicals are also responsible for the taste and smell of fruit and vegetables.

Green vegetables usually get their colouring via chlorophyll — a pigment belonging to the group of antioxidants. The natural power of antioxidants can support the immune system and health.2 Health-promoting effects are also attributed to chlorophyll.3

Which vegetables contain a lot of chlorophyll?

Green vegetables are particularly rich in chlorophyll3 including:

  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Garden cress
  • Green beans     
  • Leeks   
  • Sugar peas        
  • Chinese cabbage

What nutrients do green vegetables contain?

Because green vegetables are full of nutrients, a green diet can help us cope with health problems. Green foods are suppliers of fibre, numerous vitamins and other micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium and iron.

  • The consumption of dietary fibre, which is present in various types of cabbage for example, is accompanied by a reduced risk of nutritional diseases, in particular obesity, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.4
  • Green vegetables also contain many vitamins. Lettuce, kale and spinach are, for example, suppliers of vitamins A, C, E and K. Broccoli and pak choi can also supply our body with B vitamins.1 The vitamins are involved in a variety of functions in the human body:
  • Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin, normal vision and normal mucous membranes, among other things.
  • B vitamins: Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 contribute to a normal energy metabolism, and the normal functioning of the nervous system and immune system.
  • Vitamin C contributes, among other things, to normal collagen formation for normal blood vessel function, normal bone function and normal gum function.
  • Vitamin E helps protect cells from oxidative stress.
  • Vitamin K contributes to normal blood clotting and bone maintenance.
  • In addition to fibre and vitamins, green vegetables provide us with other micronutrients:
  • Calcium contributes to normal blood clotting, normal energy metabolism and normal muscle function. Kale, broccoli and rocket, for example, contain calcium.5
  • Magnesium helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue, to balance the electrolytes, and to metabolise energy in a normal way. This nutrient is found in green leafy vegetables such6 as spinach or chard.7
  • Iron contributes to normal cognitive function, normal oxygen transport in the body and normal immune system function, among other things. Spinach, broccoli and kale are, for example, excellent iron suppliers.8

In the past, the effects of green vegetables on our bodies have often been part of scientific studies. For example, a study by the American Academy of Neurology found that eating green leafy vegetables rich in vitamin K, carotenoids, nitrates, and folate can slow down cognitive loss in old age.9 According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, green leafy vegetables are also most clearly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic diseases among all the vegetables and fruits tested.10

Do you eat enough green vegetables?

Take a moment to think about your diet over the past few weeks. Have you consumed a healthy amount of green fruits and vegetables? If so, keep up the good work! Because you are probably laying a good foundation for a strong immune system.11 If your diet becomes focused on green vegetables, continue to make your meals balanced. 

If green vegetables have not necessarily been part of your diet, we would like to encourage you to give green nutrition another chance. You can find many recipes online that make it easy to integrate green vegetables into your everyday life. Dive in and add a new and above all healthy flourish to your cooking.

Drink green smoothies

Why only eat green vegetables when you can drink them, too? There are many vitamins in natural green smoothies. Mixed with sweet fruit, new flavours can emerge. New recipes for green or colourful smoothies always brighten our day. Submit a recipe.

Use green herbs when cooking

Fresh herbs not only smell amazing, they’re also a great addition to almost any dish. Pasta, pizza or salad — green herbs such as cress, basil and chives add the finishing touches to your culinary creations.

Enhance new and old recipes with leafy greens

Spinach, kale, or savoy cabbage — dark leafy greens are all great as side dishes, and can be easily added to a wide range of potato or meat dishes. Have a go and mix green vegetables with dishes you like to prepare.

Green fruit — the best addition to your plate

Green vegetables aren’t the only staple of a healthy diet — let’s not forget about green fruits, either. Have you ever cooked with fruit? Whether you want to refine a salad or add a tasty ingredient to a meat dish, green vegetables and green fruit can be easily integrated into the menu.

  1. https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2013/dark-green-leafy-vegetables/ [] []
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8227682 []
  3. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/chlorophyll-chlorophyllin [] []
  4. https://www.dge.de/presse/pm/mehr-ballaststoffe-bitte/ []
  5. https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/weitere-publikationen/faqs/calcium/ []
  6. https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/ernaehrung/saisonkalender/spinat []
  7. https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/ernaehrung/saisonkalender/mai/mangold []
  8. https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-donation-process/before-during-after/iron-blood-donation/iron-rich-foods.html []
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5772164/ []
  10. https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/96/21/1577/2521033 []
  11. https://www.babraham.ac.uk/news/2019/11/green-vegetables-directly-influence-immune-defences-and-help-maintain-intestinal-health []