A long time ago, something convinced my Dad of the benefits of eating greens everyday. I honestly can’t remember a single day when he hasn’t enjoyed a big salad.
When I say “big,” I mean really big – a salad mixing bowl’s worth of greens and veggies!
But despite his incredible example and my steadfast commitment to eating only whole-food, plant-based ingredients, I often go days without eating my greens.
Boy, have I been missing out! The amazing health benefits of eating greens everyday are too many to list in one blog post. But I’ll start with the most critical ones I’ve learned from my latest research.
Three Remarkable Health Benefits of Eating Greens Everyday
Eating Greens Daily Slows Cognitive Decline
Most of us would love to live a long life, but you can’t beat a long and mentally healthy life.
A 2017 study headed by nutritional epidemiologist and MIND diet co-developer Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D., found one the “smartest” benefits of eating greens everyday.
Those of the study’s 960 participants (aged 58 to 99) who averaged 1.3 daily servings of greens experienced “slower cognitive decline.”
How much slower? Assessments performed over about 4.7 years showed that eating greens every day resulted in the cognitive equivalent of “being 11 years younger in age!”
The researchers also noted dark leafy greens’ exceptional nutritional profile, with high amounts of:
- vitamin K (phylloquinone)
Eating Greens Daily Lowers Cancer Risk
Many studies have linked daily green intake to reduced cancer risk, but one, in particular, stood out for linking greens consumption to a lower risk of lung cancer.
Headed by nutritionist and World Cancer Research Fund epidemiologist Kristi A. Steinmetz, it analyzed food intake data from 41,847 Iowa women aged 55 to 69.
Those with the highest fruit and vegetable consumption, including green leafy vegetables, saw their risk of lung cancer drop by half.
Focused on the link between diet and squamous cell skin cancer and tracking data from more than 1,000 participants, it came up with some startling findings.
Those whose daily diets were highest in leafy greens had the most significant reduction in risk of squamous cell cancer.
However, the startling number was that eating only 31 grams of greens each day (about three leaves of spinach) was sufficient to lower their risk 53 percent more than those who averaged 6 grams of daily greens, or 2/3 of a spinach leaf!
Eating Greens Daily Lowers Depression
People suffering from inflammation or oxidative stress are more likely to experience depression.
Research from Tehran University of Medical Sciences” Department of Community Nutrition study showed that eating 31.6 grams (again, three spinach leaves) of leafy greens experienced fewer than half the cases of depression of those eating 14.1 grams( about one and one-half spinach leaves)
It found that likelihood of developing depression dropped 60 percent in those eating vegetables, including leafy greens, at least a few times weekly.
Going Greener in My Own Life
With so much research affirming the multiple health benefits of eating greens everyday, I decided it was time to work on a new habit.
On March 1, 2021, I decided to start each day with a bowl of plain, raw leafy greens. No toppings or salad dressing; I just munch away like a rabbit.
On the 21st, exactly three weeks later, I woke up craving greens. Mission accomplished! My new habit will dramatically lower my risks of cognitive decline, cancer, and depression.
All thanks to you, Dad, and the example you’ve set. I hope we both grow old together and stay as sharp as tacks to our final breaths!