Dietary guidelines recommend that we aim for at least 2 ½ cups, or about five servings, of vegetables every day. Although this might not seem like a lot, nearly 90% of us fall short of meeting these recommendations (1).
Eating a variety of vegetables is an easy way to incorporate wholesome nutrients into your diet. However, most of us are not getting enough. Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and kale are among the most nutrient-packed, but they’re also among the least frequently consumed.
A serving of vegetables is defined as 1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables like broccoli and green beans or 1 cup of fresh leafy greens like spinach and lettuce (1). Dietary guidelines recommend a minimum of five servings of dark green vegetables over the course of a week, but with few exceptions, people across all age groups consume fewer than half of the recommended number of servings (1).
Benefits of Green Vegetables
We’ve all heard the words “eat your vegetables,” but understanding why we hear this phrase so often may inspire you to put more greens on your plate. Scientific research shows that getting plenty of vegetables, including leafy greens, is linked to lower body weight, better cardiovascular health, and a healthier life overall (1-3). Creating balanced meals to include green vegetables is a smart way to reap these benefits.
Dark green vegetables are rich sources of carotenoids and other phytonutrients (4). Phytonutrients are unique compounds in plant-based foods that have positive effects on our health (2).
Vitamins and Minerals
Green vegetables are a rich source of a variety of essential nutrients, including potassium, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C. These nutrients are necessary for healthy metabolic and cellular function (5). In addition to vitamins and minerals, green vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber and are relatively low in calories and fat (6).
Fiber for Appetite Management
Leafy greens are a great food for those trying to manage weight due to their role in promoting satiety. As a rich source of dietary fiber, they can help keep blood sugar stabilized after a meal and increase the feeling of fullness, helping you consume fewer calories throughout the day (2).
Dietary nitrates are compounds found in green vegetables like arugula, lettuce, and spinach that support a variety of health benefits (7). These compounds can promote cardiovascular health, particularly when combined with other heart-healthy dietary habits, like limiting saturated fats and added sugars and eating foods like fish, poultry, nuts, and low-fat dairy products (3, 8). When nitrates are consumed, the body converts them into nitrites and nitric oxide. The nitric oxide is released into the bloodstream and can support blood flow throughout the body, providing added circulatory benefits (3, 8, 9).
Organic Greens: 2 Servings of Vegetables in Each Scoop
When you find yourself struggling to eat the recommended 5 servings of vegetables each day, adding Isagenix Organic Greens to your routine may help. With two servings of organic vegetables in every scoop, it is a convenient and easy way to boost vegetable intake for the whole family.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015.
- Hairston KG, Vitolins MZ, Norris JM, Anderson AM, Hanley AJ, Wagenknecht LE. Lifestyle factors and 5-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS Family Study. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2012;20:421-7
- Van Duyn MA & Pivonka E. Overview of the health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption for the dietetics professional: selected literature. J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Dec; 100(12):1511-21.
- Liu RH. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. AJCN. 2003;78:517S-520S.
- Linus Pauling Institute. The Case is Far from Closed for Vitamin and Mineral Supplements! December, 2013.
- Kushi LH, Doyle C, McCullough M, et al. American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention: Reducing the risk of cancer with healthy food choices and physical activity. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62:30-67.
- Lidder S, Webb AJ. Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;75(3):677-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04420.x.
- McKnight GM, Duncan CW, Leifert C & Golden MH. Dietary nitrate in man: friend or foe? Br J Nutr. 1999 May; 81(5):349-58.
- Joshipura KJ, Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, Speizer FE, Colditz G, Ascherio A, Rosner B, Spiegelman D & Willett WC. The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Jun 19; 134(12):1106-14.