One of the most interesting (and disappointing) trends I’ve noticed is that many vegans don’t consume anywhere near as much real vegetables as they should. With so many vegan “alternatives” on the market, many vegans eat more processed food than plants.
While most of these processed foods are fine in moderation, you should still be fueling your body with healthy fruits and veggies every day. In today’s post, I’m going to show you 7 incredible greens that all vegans should eat.
7 Greens You Should Always Keep In Your Kitchen
Are you ready to turn into a green machine?
Here are some of the healthiest greens on the planet that can be found in almost any grocery store or your local health food store.
Broccoli is a very high-fiber food, which is why it’s so filling. It’s naturally high in vitamins C and K. Most notably, broccoli has high levels of iron and potassium – essential minerals that many vegans are deficient in (as they’re generally obtained from meat).
Nutritionally, spinach is very similar to broccoli. It’s a high-fiber food that makes a great base for a salad. Spinach is high in vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains iron, potassium, and folate (commonly known as vitamin B9).
Kale is often touted as a “superfood” and mixed into smoothies, salads, and supplements. It doesn’t taste as good as other leafy greens, which is why it’s often mixed with spinach or mixed into a smoothie that contains sweet juice. It’s high in vitamins A, K, C, and B6. It also contains calcium, manganese, copper, and potassium, making it one of the most mineral-rich greens.
Asparagus is packed full of fiber, and makes for a great side dish to your favorite plant-based protein. Like spinach, asparagus is high in vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains high levels of folate.
5. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are very high in vitamin A and K and very high levels of antioxidants. They’re one of the most fiber-rich greens, and a small handful is usually enough to fill me up.
6. Seaweed & Algae
Seaweed, algae, sea moss… All of these oceanic vegetables are incredibly healthy. They’re naturally high in minerals, and have very high antioxidant levels, which is why they’re often touted as superfoods that can increase longevity and fight diseases.
7. Green Peas
If you have a sweet tooth, then green peas will be right up your alley! They’re one of the sweetest greens you can buy, and their soft, chewy texture makes them the perfect side for any meal. Peas are a great source of vitamin E and A, and also contain a fair amount of zinc – a mineral which is difficult to find outside of meat-derived foods.
Why Green Veggies Are Vital For Your Health
Just because a food is “plant-based” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. For example, many plant-based meat substitutes are loaded with preservatives, salt, and other chemicals. If foods like these are your dietary staples, your body really won’t be in any better shape than a non-vegan.
Compared to some of the more processed vegan foods on the market, green veggies are:
- Naturally high in antioxidants
- Contain vitamins and minerals that are vital for your health
- Are low in sugar
- Have a low caloric density
- Are high in dietary fiber
These are some of the main points that raw vegans (vegans who only eat raw, uncooked, unprocessed foods) use to explain their dietary choice.
Let’s take a minute to briefly go over each of these points to help you understand why green veggies are so important to the success of your plant-based diet.
High In Antioxidants
Most green veggies are naturally high in compounds called antioxidants. These compounds work positively with your body by combating free radicals.
Free radicals are harmful compounds that are caused by physical and mental stress, drugs/alcohol, and poor dietary choices. When free radical levels become too high, the body can begin aging prematurely and your overall inflammation levels can increase.
Consuming foods that are high in antioxidants (such as leafy greens) allows your body to combat free radicals. This, in turn, can slow the process of aging and reduce inflammation in your body.
Vitamins & Minerals
Leafy greens have naturally high levels of vitamins and minerals. While you can certainly supplement with plant-based trace minerals and vitamins, your body absorbs vitamins and minerals best when they come from real food.
Low Sugar & Low Caloric Density
Compared to fruits and starchy vegetables, leafy greens are naturally low-calorie and low-sugar. This means that you can eat as much as you want without having to worry about over-consuming calories.
High In Fiber
Leafy greens tend to be high in dietary fiber. Fiber is found in plant-based foods and is a form of carbohydrate that can’t be fully digested and absorbed by your body. Instead, dietary fiber passes through your intestines and helps clean out your digestive tract. This can prevent intestinal disease, inflammation, and even colon cancer.
You don’t have to switch to a 100% raw vegan diet to reap the health benefits of leafy greens. Just adding a few servings of green veggies to your daily routine allows your body to get more vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber than it would otherwise receive.