Health benefits of the GREENS pt 1

I always laugh when kids would always do selection on a well served meal. One would see them taking out vegetables, onions and other times crayfish. Later on, shouts like, “mum it can’t come out”,will be emanating from the toilet.

This is not peculiar to children only. Infact the most embarrassing is when an adult finds it hard to use the toilet, all because of constipation. 

The remedy may have been lying at your backyard or sold for at most #50 in local markets. 

The Greens is the answer. 

They vary in so many species like ugu( fluted pumpkin leaves), waterleaf, spinach, amarantus sp (green),Gnetum africanum (Ukazi in Igbo), Gongronema latifolium (Utazi in Igbo),Ocimum gratissimum (scent leaf, Nchuanwu in Igbo), bitter leaf.

Leafy vegetables are ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories. They are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease since they are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. One study showed that an increment of one daily serving of green leafy vegetables, lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11 percent. 

Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index , green leafy vegetables are also valuable for persons with type 2 diabetes . An increase of 1 serving/day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of diabetes. The high level of vitamin K in greens makes them important for the production of osteocalcin, a protein essential for bone health. The risk of hip fracture in middle-aged women was decreased 45% for one or more servings/day of green, leafy vegetable compared to fewer servings.

Green vegetables are also a major source of iron and calcium for any diet. Swiss chard and spinach are not considered good sources of calcium, due to their high content of oxalic acid. Green leafy vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which can also be converted into vitamin A, and also improve immune function. Millions of children around the world have an increased risk of blindness, and other illnesses because of inadequate dietary vitamin A from green leafy vegetables.

Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids found in dark-green leafy vegetables, are concentrated in the eye lens and macular region of the retina, and play a protective role in the eye . They protect against both cataract and age-related macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in the elderly. Some studies suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast and lung cancer, and may contribute to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

Green veggies contain a variety of carotenoids, flavonoids and other powerful antioxidants that have cancer-protective properties . In a Swedish study, it was reported that eating 3 or more servings a week of green leafy vegetables significantly reduced the risk of stomach cancer, the fourth most frequent cancer in the world. In a study, researchers from the Department of Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Unit, Covenant University, Nigeria, validated the leaves of four plant foods commonly consumed in Nigeria namely Gnetum africanum (Ukazi in Igbo), Gongronema latifolium (Utazi in Igbo), Telfairia occidentalis (fluted pumpkin, Ugu in Igbo), Ocimum gratissimum (scent leaf, Nchuanwu in Igbo) for preventing cancers. Studies have identified a gene, connexin 43, whose expression is upregulated by chemopreventive carotenoids and which allows direct intercellular gap junctional communication. In many human tumors gap junctional communication is deficient and its up-regulation is associated with decreased proliferation. Hence, the cancer-preventive properties of carotenoids are partly explained by their impact on gene regulation.

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in leafy green vegetables. Quercetin has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and displays unique anticancer properties . Quercetin is a natural compound that blocks substances involved in allergies and acts as an inhibitor of mast cell secretion, and causes a decrease in the release of interleukin-6. 

To be continued……..


One thought on “Health benefits of the GREENS pt 1

  1. Pingback: Obilo Uchechukwu

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