June is national fruits and vegetables month! What better way to celebrate than by indulging in these delicious and nutritious gifts from the Earth? The USDA recommends we eat about five servings of fresh produce every day. With longer and lighter dining this summer, why not replace one meal a day with a healthy salad, wrap, or green smoothie? Here are ten reasons to add fresh greens to your summer diet.
- Lettuce contains vitamin C and beta-carotene, which together, help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, and help protect your heart.
- Watercress is rich in antioxidants and can also help support eye health due to its high levels of lutein.
- Lettuce is low in calories, with only about 12 per shredded cup, so it is a great food to eat in order to help lose weight.
- Watercress is a great source of Vitamin C, which has an anti-inflammatory action and can also help prevent or relieve symptoms of colds and flus.
- Lettuce leaves contain lactucarium, a natural relaxant and sedative, to improve sleep.
- Lettuce and other greens are usually eaten raw, which increases your micronutrient intake.
- Lettuce has a low glycemic index at just 15, which can help lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and age-related macular degeneration.
- Lettuce is high in fiber which aids digestion and can also help with weight loss.
- Lettuce contains minerals known to help remove toxins and balance your alkaline and acid levels. This balance is known to help improve energy and immunity by promoting healthier teeth, gums and cells. It can also help reduce pain and inflammation and slower aging.
- Watercress is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables there are, in regard to a nutrient-to-calorie ratio.
As you can see just by looking at some facts about fresh greens, fruits and vegetables are vital to maintaining good overall health. So there’s no excuse not to head to the store and pick up an array of fresh produce to enjoy today!