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How Plant Greens Nutrients Works

Jan 2, 2008
The importance of green vegetables has been known for the last few hundred years. Plants have always accommodated a dinner plate and fruits were only used as a snack or dessert. People harvested only the most useful plants and scattered their seeds effortlessly thought out the land we now live on. But it was not until the 16 th century that the fruits and vegetables we now eat were introduced into our diet.

Greens provide essential base forming minerals such as calcium and magnesium that are not found in fruit, nuts and seeds, not to mention other more conventional, acid-forming foods. Most of the fruits available to us are very low in calcium. Although we hear oranges and figs are rich in calcium, we do not eat or digest the white pith or seeds.

Foods from the "Green" groups are among the best for our health. They typically have a high concentrate of two phytochemicals; chlorophyll and carotenoids. These two have been linked to be a prophylactic to tumors and offer protection to coronary disease.

When discussing the importance of "Greens" in our diet, I feel it is important to quickly explain how plant nutrients work. The green color of the leaves is due to the most common of plant pigments, chlorophyll. Chlorophyll acts very similar to blood, only it has an atom of magnesium in the center and a tail of hydrocarbons instead of iron. Thus making this molecule soluble only in fats.

Chlorophyll absorbs violet and red light, appearing to be green. What makes a whole plant green is the absorption capacity which is strong enough to hide the other natural colors in plants. The only time we see the other colors is in Autumn, when the chlorophyll molecule decomposes and we see colors of amber, red, and brown.

The nutrition we get out of a plant depends on the environment on which they are grown. The temperature, humidity, sunlight hours and soil properties are the difference between a healthy plant and one that will not create the nutrients we need.

Green leaf vegetables are our best source of folates and folic acid which is a B vitamin that is essential for cell growth and reproduction . The amount of vitamin C, is a powerful antioxidant is extremely high in leafy greens, especially spinach, kiwi, broccoli and parsley.

Other valuable components are carotenoids, highly unsaturated yellow to red pigments occurring in plants which are components of vitamin A. Vitamin A supports the immune system and also fulfils a specific role in our vision. Potassium, calcium, iron and zinc are also present in great quantities, as is magnesium.

The intake of all of these is essential for human health. Green foods should be cut as little as possible before washing and cooking them to preserve these essential minerals.

Now that we know we need to have those nutrients to live a healthier life, it has become a problem of discipline for people. Not everyone wants to cook up a bunch of fresh greens or throw them into a blender to make a high nutrient, sometimes awful tasting smoothie. While most people consider a salad before or during a meal to be essential, it is clearly not enough to give you everything you need. Vegetables vary in the richness of their nutrients. Some of the vegetables we can consume great amounts of calcium usually not found on a dinner plate or in our average homemade salads are cabbage, collared greens, kale, escarole, turnip greens, mustard greens, watercress and spinach.

Many scientists and doctors have taken this into consideration. There are almost too many types of supplemental "Greens" products available. The most common ways to have ALL of your green minerals is to take it in a pill form or a powder mix that can be turned into a pleasant tasting nutrition drink. These supplements can actually work better than eating the vegetables. Each green has its characteristics and potency but most people do not chew the food enough to release the proper amount into our body. If we eat a vegetable without chewing out the nutrients, it makes it almost impossible for the digestive system to break it down, resulting in a loss of perfect calcium. When supplements for greens are made, they are made up of a blend of the strongest greens and at their most nutritional stage.
About the Author
Steven Johnson is interested in maintaining a vital, active, and healthy lifestyle. For information and products on weight loss and other life-enhancing nutrients please visit his website.
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