6 Good Reasons To Eat Greens Every Day

Collard greens in a basketAre you interested in being healthier? How about slimmer, smarter, or more beautiful? Well, eat your greens and you’ll be on your way to all of those.

Greens are amazing and here’s why:

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1. Weight Control. Leafy greens are extremely low in calories, yet super high in nutrients. Make them the base of your lunch and dinner and weight control can be breeze.

When I had a weight problem years ago and joined weight watchers, I learned that there are some kinds of vegetables that you can eat pounds of and still lose weight. As an over-eater, this was great news to me! While on weight watchers I’d cook two-pound bags of vegetables in a large pot and eat the whole thing. Greens are among the vegetables you can eat in unlimited quantities and still lose weight. Three cups of most kinds of greens contain less than 100 calories. I lost 20 pounds in a few months.

Of course, you can’t add high calorie ingredients like butter and creamy dressings, but you can season with herbs and spices, lemon, and low calories salad dressings.

If you’re trying to lose weight, but unable to master portion control, do consider satiating your need to chew and swallow with hefty helpings of greens as part of your meals.

Try them like this:

RAW: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or lemon and a little (no more than one tablespoon) olive oil to flavor them. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and crushed pepper

COOKED: Boil the greens in fat free reduced sodium chicken broth or water and add some chopped garlic and lemon juice. Cook until the leaves are tender.

Serve with broiled, or baked chicken, or fish and a baked sweet potato, or some brown rice.

2. Youthful Skin. Leafy greens like Kale, Spinach and Swiss Chard contain antioxidants including beta carotene, which helps renew and repair your skin.

I was traveling recently and did an experiment. Usually when I take the red-eye from LA to New York and get no sleep, when I arrive, my skin looks sallow and scary. On my last trip, before leaving, I ate a pound of greens that I’d prepared with chopped garlic and a bit of olive oil.

The next morning, instead of looking like the zombie I usually do after an overnight flight, my skin had an amazing healthy glow.

Greens also contain folate, a vital nutrient for DNA repair and lutein, which balances the lipids in the skin, increasing hydration and elasticity. Lutein also protects against sun damage that ages the skin.

3. Clear Skin. While researching a book I wrote about preventing acne, I discovered that leafy greens have clear skin benefits.

The long held belief that diet has no bearing on acne has been debunked. Studies have shown that high glycemic foods do trigger breakouts in some people. High glycemic foods are those that contain refined grains and refined sugars that cause a spike in blood glucose level, which your body tries to lower by producing more insulin and male hormones. These hormones cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, in turn, blocking pores. Too much sebum in the pores causes the acne bacterium (propionibacterium acnes) to over propagate, inflaming the pore causing a pimple.

Switching to a low-glycemic diet, which includes leafy greens, has proven to be effective. (Other low-glycemic foods that benefit acne include whole grains, fish, and green tea).

Leafy greens are chock full of inflammation fighting ingredients and they also contain lots of fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels in check.

4. Beauty. Yes, leafy greens (and other high color vegetables) can actually make you prettier. Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Well, a recent article in the LA Times by Karen Ravn referenced a study done at The University of St. Andrews in Scotland, that sought to find out how many fruits and vegetables a person would have to eat, and for how long before this could be detected in the skin.

According to the article, scientists have long known that the pigments that give vegetables their color, “carotenoids,” accumulate in the skin and give it color, too. Apparently, they enhance our natural coloring and when we see someone whose skin reflects these enhanced carotenoids, they appear healthier and more attractive to our eye.

In the study, they showed undergraduate students sets of pictures; for each set of faces one reflected the look of having ingested about 3.3 servings of high color fruits and vegetables, and one did not. The students deemed the fruit/veggie eaters to be more attractive than the non-high color food eaters. More servings were associated with more attractiveness.

So, eat lots of leafy greens (as well as other high color vegetable and fruits) and you may find yourself getting more compliments than you used to.

To read more amazing benefits of getting in more greens, visit HelloBeautiful today!

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The 7 Best Flu Foods

Young woman drinking hot beverage

When you have the flu, you may not feel like eating anything at all. Or, you may resort to eating things that your body doesn’t need. The problem? While your body is busy fighting off viruses, it needs support to do its job. What’s one primary source of that support? Nutrition.

But what are the best flu foods that help increase your body’s defenses, while replenishing your system?

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Hot Tea

Green, oolong, and black tea offer disease-fighting antioxidants. Also, breathing in the steam can help relieve congestion. Add a spoonful of honey and lemon slices to help detoxify your system and soothe a sore throat. If caffeine bothers you, opt for decaf or herbal versions.

Turkey

Turkey is a good, lean protein, essential to solid nutrition. And although you may not feel like it, eating can help give your body energy to fight illness. Try adding cranberry sauce for a spike of flavor and comfort-food taste.

Popsicles

An icy popsicle can soothe a sore or dry throat. It can also help keep you hydrated, which is essential when fighting the flu. Getting enough fluids can keep mucus thin and help lessen congestion. Look for popsicles made from 100% fruit juice to make sure you’re getting vital nutrients and not just sugar water.

Vegetable Juice

Making and eating a salad may be more than your weakened body can handle. Instead, try drinking a glass of low-sodium vegetable juice, which is filled with immune-boosting antioxidants. If you’re craving something sweeter, try 100% fruit juice.

Chicken Soup

Nourishing and hydrating, there’s also some scientific evidence that chicken soup may help with healing and have mild anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have found that hot chicken soup can improve the ability of cilia, the tiny hair-like parts of the nasal passages, to protect the body from bacteria and viruses.

Crackers/Toast

If you can manage food, try toast or crackers. They can be convenient foods when you’re fighting illness. Plus, they pair well with chicken noodle soup, and their satisfying crunch can take the edge off hunger when your stomach is having trouble with other types of food.

Garlic

If you feel up to it, garlic can be a good thing to try, particularly in chicken soup. It appears to have antimicrobial and immune-stimulating properties and may give you slight relief from congestion.