Vitamins in Green Vegetables: Which Green Vegetables Are Best For You?
All green vegetables, which get their color from chlorophyll, are low in fat and calories. They typically provide vitamins A, C and certain members of the B-vitamin family. For example, just a half cup of boiled Brussels sprouts may provide most of daily vitamin C needs and a cup of raw spinach provides about half the daily need for vitamin A.
In conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle choices, they are thought to help provide protection from heart disease. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are especially significant in this area. The latest recommendations from nutrition experts call for five to 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, but most Americans eat far less than that.
What’s in Green Vegetables for Me?
Different green vegetables may supply vitamins A, C and certain members of the B-vitamin complex. Green vegetables get their color from the pigment chlorophyll. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, some studies have shown that high intakes of cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli and Brussels sprouts, may be associated with a lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer. All vegetables probably contribute to lowering the risk of heart disease. But green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach, and broccoli and Brussels sprouts make important contributions. In two Harvard University studies, for each extra serving of fruits and vegetables in a diet, the risk of heart disease dropped by four percent.
How Much Do I Need?
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The newest dietary suggestions from nutrition experts are now calling for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending on how many calories you eat in one day.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy greens are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable. Spinach and lettuce are low in calories and fat, and high in vitamins A, C and folate, a member of the B vitamin family. A cup of raw spinach provides about half the day’s needs for vitamin A, about 15 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement, and around 10 percent of folate. A cup of shredded lettuce provides half the daily vitamin A requirements and about 10 percent of vitamin C.
Cruciferous Green Vegetables
Broccoli contains vitamins A, C and folate, one of the B vitamins. It’s on the Mayo Clinic’s list of the top 10 food choices, because it also gives you fiber and compounds that may help prevent diseases such as heart disease. Just one ounce of raw broccoli gives you 10 percent of the day’s requirement for vitamin C and 15 percent of vitamin A. One spear also provides some folate. A half cup of boiled Brussels sprouts may provide a whopping 80 percent of daily vitamin C needs, plus about 10 percent of vitamin A and folate needs.
A Word About Asparagus
A half cup of boiled asparagus, a member of the Lily family of plants, gives you almost 20 percent of your vitamin A needs, about 10 percent of vitamin C and about 10 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin B6.