Why Greens are a Fountain of Youth
One of the primary explanations is the exceptional nutritional profile of most dark, leafy greens which includes an array of vitamins and phytochemicals that are increasingly scarce in the modern diet and are vital to proper cellular functioning, as well as gene expression. Medical science has been slow to acknowledge that poor quality, inadequate nutrition lies at the root of most of the “Top 10” killer diseases in the United States and other Western societies.
Eating leafy greens can help stave-off dementia. Phylloquinone is an important neuroprotective agent, plays the role of vitamin K1 in the body, which is required for blood coagulation and bone and vascular metabolism. Healthy blood flow and vasculature provide benefits throughout the body and perform vital roles in overall disease prevention. Green leafy vegetables and vegetable oil are the only major dietary sources of vitamin K for humans, with vegetable oil being a highly inferior source thanks to the prevalence of GMO canola (rapeseed) in modern vegetable oils.
Cardiovascular disease, is attributed to one out of every four deaths in the United States. Multiple studies have linked vascular disease to a decreased level of nitric oxide, an important molecule that is produced by the body when nitrates, prevalent in plant foods, are consumed. Maintaining adequate levels of nitric oxide in the body protects arteries and blood vessels, and can even reverse existing arterial damage. Nitric oxide helps maintain the contractility and health of vascular smooth muscle cell. Vegetables high in nitrate include celery, cress, chervil, lettuce, beetroot, spinach, and arugula. Therefore eating adequate greens can therefore be a key strategy to ensuring a strong, vital heartbeat into the elder years. A high blood nitrate count provides yet another anti-aging benefit: it greatly enhances our cells’ ability to utilize energy, creating a more efficient metabolism.
Greens have been clinically shown to benefit patients facing cancer. While some doctors will recommend up to 3 cups of fruits and vegetables per day as part of a cancer-preventive strategy, a 2015 study found that neither citrus fruits nor cruciferous vegetables had the impact on bladder cancer risk that was observed with green leafy vegetables. Risk of bladder cancer went down with every serving size increase (0.2 c) each day. Brassica vegetables contain glucosinolates, responsible for the pungency we taste in greens and horseradish, which have been credited with reducing prostate cancer risk. Greens such as bok choy, cabbage, and mustard and collard greens are excellent sources of glucosinolates, whose metabolic breakdown products protect DNA from damage.
A diabetes study with rats showed mustard greens can prevent the development of insulin resistance in rats being fed a high-fructose diet and improve kidney function in diabetic rats, as well as possessing multiple blood sugar-lowering effects.
Greens also contain the molecule chlorophyll, which has been found to increase the efficiency of energy production within our mitochondria, effectively allowing us to harvest the energy of the sun like plants and convert it into metabolic energy.
You can consume them raw or saute them, as with kale, spinach, and mustard or collard greens. A light steaming has been shown to improve digestion and assimilation.