If there’s one food group that is undeniably associated with health and nutrition, it’s green (whole) foods. Health experts can agree that it’s clear we all need to be piling more greens onto our plates. Green leafy vegetables have been an important part of the conversation on health and wellness for decades, if not centuries.
But why exactly do they matter so much?
In a previous article, we talked about the incredible health benefits of carrots. Today, we're going to take a look at the foundation of healthy eating— green food, and why exactly it's so important.
Why eat green?
Leafy green vegetables are foundational to any good diet, but it's important for consumers to understand just why they're so essential. The Harvard Health Blog says that vegetarian diets have been proven to improve and support health, and prevent the risks of developing diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and much more.
Plant-based diets can actually provide all of the necessary proteins, minerals, vitamins, and fats that are essential for daily life. According to a post on the side effects of green superfood powder by Brightcore, a diet rich in superfoods like leafy greens can provide you with tons of antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin K. Green foods also have tons of perks, like digestive enzymes that help break down your food.
Is eating green more expensive?
One of the biggest arguments against shifting to a more organic, plant-based diet is that it's more expensive. Inverse reports that fruits and vegetables cost the most in diets across the world, taking up to 31% of household budgets. They're especially more expensive in higher-income countries.
But does this higher cost translate to all plant-based foods? Not exactly. If you're smart at budgeting and finding good deals, you can actually find tons of green food at more affordable prices. A list of superfoods by Eating Well suggests that you can get for $1 a serving or even less.
Going to your local farmers' market or community garden is one way to bring the prices of your healthy diet down. You can also start meal planning, which helps reduce extra food expenses, as well as cook large portions and simply store the leftovers. There are tons of ways to keep eating healthy on a budget— all you need to do is get a little creative.
How do I adjust my diet to eat more green food?
Eating healthy isn't automatic habit for most people, and that's the unfortunate result of a consumer culture that's based on getting what's cheap and easy. Choosing to eat green might cost a little more in the short term, but the benefits of a healthy body are undeniable. A healthy diet now will save you a ton on medical bills and maintenance medicines in the future, which is more than enough reason to start.
How do you get into the habit of eating green? WebMD has a few tips, including trying out lettuce wraps, adjusting the way you cook vegetables, and adding ingredients to elevate the taste.
You don't have to pile your plate with veggies straightaway. A gentle transition that helps you build the habit of eating healthier is much more forgiving, and allows you to enjoy your food for much longer. Don't be afraid to experiment with recipes and flavors, either.
There are no hard and fast rules to eating healthy— as long as you're focusing on getting all your essential nutrients in, the kitchen is basically your playground.
Have fun, and eat well!