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What does power greens do for you?

Power greens are leafy green vegetables that pack a nutritional punch. They contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that provide many health benefits. Adding more power greens into your diet can help improve overall health and reduce risk of chronic diseases.

What are some examples of power greens?

Some of the most nutrient-dense leafy green vegetables that are considered power greens include:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Arugula
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Watercress
  • Dandelion greens
  • Beet greens
  • Mustard greens

These greens are packed with vitamins like A, C, E, K, folate, and minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. They also contain carotenoids, flavonoids, glucosinolates and other powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

What are the nutritional benefits of eating power greens?

Here are some of the top nutrients provided by power greens and their health benefits:

Vitamin A – Important for immune function, vision, reproduction and cellular communication. Deficiency can cause vision problems.

Vitamin C – Crucial antioxidant that fights inflammation, boosts immunity and helps make collagen. Low intake is linked to poor immune function and higher infection risk.

Vitamin K – Necessary for proper blood clotting and bone health. It also helps regulate calcium in the blood. Inadequate vitamin K is associated with increased fracture risk.

Folate – Essential for red blood cell production and growth. Folate deficiency in pregnant women can lead to neural tube defects in babies.

Potassium – Required for heart function, fluid balance, nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Low potassium can cause muscle cramps and heart arrhythmias.

Calcium – Vital for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Inadequate calcium increases osteoporosis and fracture risk.

Magnesium – Needed for energy production, nerve and muscle function, blood sugar control and more. Deficiency is linked to fatigue, muscle cramps, anxiety and migraines.

Iron – Carries oxygen in the blood to cells and tissues. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue and weakness.

What phytonutrients do power greens contain?

In addition to vitamins and minerals, power greens are rich in beneficial plant compounds called phytonutrients. Key phytonutrients in greens include:

Carotenoids – Such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotene. These antioxidants promote eye health and lower risk of eye diseases.

Anthocyanins – Pigments with anti-inflammatory effects that may improve brain function.

Nitrates – Help widen blood vessels to lower blood pressure. Also boost athletic performance.

Sulforaphane – Has potent anti-cancer effects and helps boost protective enzymes in the body.

Resveratrol – Antioxidant found in some greens that may mimic effects of calorie restriction and slow aging.

Quercetin – Antihistamine that helps reduce inflammation, allergies and arthritis symptoms.

Kaempferol – Phytonutrient linked to decreased heart disease risk and anti-cancer effects.

These special compounds give power greens many of their disease-fighting abilities by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

What are the health benefits of eating greens?

Research shows that increasing your intake of leafy greens provides many benefits:

Supports heart health – Greens contain potassium, magnesium, fiber, nitrates and other nutrients that help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This reduces heart disease risk.

Reduces cancer risk – Compounds like sulforaphane and indoles have anti-cancer effects. Eating more greens is associated with lower risk of several cancers.

Promotes eye health – Lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A in greens help prevent macular degeneration and development of cataracts.

Builds strong bones – Greens provide calcium, vitamin K and magnesium – key nutrients for bone density and preventing osteoporosis.

Boosts immunity – Nutrients like vitamins A, C, E and zinc stimulate the immune system and help fight infections.

Improves digestion – Greens help maintain a healthy gut and microbiome. They also provide fiber for regular bowel movements.

Enhances athletic performance – Nitrates in greens boost endurance, increase efficiency of oxygen use and reduce fatigue during exercise.

Slows cognitive decline – Antioxidants like lutein and anthocyanins protect the brain and help preserve memory and cognitive function.

How do you incorporate more greens into your diet?

Here are some easy ways to eat more power greens each day:

  • Add greens like kale, spinach or arugula to smoothies and green drinks
  • Use leafy greens in salads, sandwiches, wraps and tacos
  • Saute greens in olive oil or coconut oil as a side dish
  • Blend greens into soups, stews, casseroles and pasta dishes
  • Snack on raw veggies and greens with hummus or Greek yogurt dip
  • Make a green juice or green protein shake for breakfast
  • Use lettuce leaves or collard greens as wrap replacements
  • Stir cooked greens into rice, quinoa or other grains
  • Top pizza with spinach, kale, arugula or other greens

Aim for 1-2 cups of leafy greens at both lunch and dinner. Buying pre-washed greens makes it easy to add them to meals. Frozen greens are another good option when fresh are unavailable.

Are there any risks or downsides to eating a lot of greens?

Leafy greens are very low in calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein. Eating large amounts can potentially lead to:

  • Calorie deficit – If eating many greens in place of other foods, this can cause excessive weight loss.
  • Low protein intake – May not provide adequate protein compared to meat or dairy foods.
  • Gastrointestinal issues – Some people get gas or bloating from digesting lots of raw greens.
  • Kidney stone risk – Greens high in oxalates like spinach may increase kidney stone formation in prone individuals.
  • Thyroid problems – Goitrogens in some greens can interfere with thyroid function when consumed raw in very high amounts.
  • Reduced mineral absorption – Compounds like phytic acid and oxalic acid in greens can partially inhibit iron and calcium absorption.

However, these concerns only apply to eating extreme amounts of greens. Eating the recommended 1-2 cups per day is not linked with any risks or adverse effects in healthy people.

Which power greens provide the most nutritional value?

Ranking greens based on nutritional content shows that kale, watercress, spinach and collard greens are among the most nutrient-dense options:

Green Key Nutrients Notable Phytonutrients
Kale Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium Sulforaphane, Lutein, Kaempferol
Watercress Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Calcium, Manganese Sulforaphane, Lutein
Spinach Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin A, Manganese Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Quercetin
Collard Greens Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Manganese Sulforaphane, Quercetin

While kale reigns supreme in terms of nutrient density, all leafy greens provide their own set of benefits. Eating a variety of power greens ensures you get a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and health-promoting compounds.

What is the best way to cook greens to preserve nutrients?

To maximize the nutritional content of leafy greens, avoid overcooking them. Here are some tips:

  • Steam or saute greens lightly to soften them but retain some crunch.
  • Microwaving is fast but can diminish heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C. Use brief cooking times.
  • Roasting greens brings out delicious flavor but also reduces some vitamins. Roast briefly at low temperatures.
  • Boiling leaches nutrients into the water. Consume the broth or opt for shorter blanching instead of boiling.
  • Stir-frying and sauteing retain the most nutrients. Use minimal oil and cook quickly over high heat.

In general, the less time greens spend cooking, the more nutrients they’ll provide. Enjoying greens raw also preserves nutrients but may hinder digestibility.

Should you buy organic greens instead of conventional?

Organic produce has some advantages over conventionally grown:

  • Fewer pesticide residues – Organic limits certain pesticides linked to health issues
  • Higher antioxidant content – Organic greens contain 20-40% more antioxidants on average
  • Lower heavy metal levels – Organic greens are grown in cleaner soil with less heavy metal contamination
  • Better taste – Many people find organic greens to be fresher and better tasting

However, conventional greens are more affordable and still provide great nutrition. Washing well and peeling off outer leaves reduces any pesticide residues.

Prioritize buying organic versions of greens highest in pesticides, like spinach and kale. But conventional greens can still be part of a very healthy diet.

What are simple ways to use up greens before they go bad?

Leafy greens spoil quickly, usually within 5-7 days. Here are tips to use them up while still fresh:

  • Store properly – In the fridge in a perforated plastic bag to retain moisture but allow airflow.
  • Blanch and freeze – Quickly blanch greens then freeze in portions to add to future meals.
  • Prep salad kits – Wash, chop and store greens in containers with other salad ingredients.
  • Make a green smoothie – Blend greens with banana, berries, nut butter and milk or juice.
  • Saute into frittatas – Add raw or pre-cooked greens to egg mixtures and bake into frittatas.
  • Blend into pesto – Make pesto out of kale, spinach, arugula or other greens.

Planning quick and simple ways to use greens while they’re fresh will reduce food waste and maximize their nutrient content.

Should you take a green supplement instead of eating greens?

Green supplements like powders and capsules provide concentrated extracts of greens and convenient nutrition. However, whole greens have benefits over supplements:

  • More complete nutrition – Whole greens provide a wider range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
  • Greater bioavailability – Nutrients may be better absorbed from greens than supplements.
  • Higher antioxidant content – Processing destroys some antioxidants in supplements.
  • More fiber – Greens provide dietary fiber for gut and heart health.
  • Live probiotics – Raw greens contain beneficial bacteria that supplements lack.

While green supplements make an easy nutritional boost, they should complement rather than replace greens in your diet for optimal health benefits.


Eating more power greens provides a wealth of nutrition and health benefits. Greens like kale, spinach, arugula, watercress and collard greens are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect your body and optimize health.

Aim for at least one serving, ideally two, at both lunch and dinner. Quickly steam, saute or blend greens to preserve nutrients. They make great additions to salads, sandwiches, main dishes, smoothies and more.

Focus on getting greens from whole food sources. But green supplements can provide an easy nutrition boost as well. Incorporate more greens in your diet to take advantage of their many benefits for your heart, brain, vision, bones and overall health.