Green Foods & Plants
Nutrient dense sources such as green foods have protein, vitamins, and energy. These plants make around 145 billion tons a year that equals to twenty-three tons per person in the world (Blake, 2019, pp. 100)! The air you breath is caused by plants as a result from the science behind photosynthesis. When it comes to eating a balanced meal, plants such as leafy green foods are essential foods that provide nutrients to our body.
Primarily in the form of glucose, this nutrient expends four grams per calorie as the main role for providing fuel to the body (Blake, 2019). Green foods are vegetables that come in many forms such as romaine lettuce, zucchini, squash, broccoli, cucumbers, kale, collard greens, spinach, etc.
The term “green vegetables” are products of plants in the kingdom Plantae of 300,000 species. One of the best benefits, fiber, comes from eating vegetables. Vegetables offer two types of fiber such as viscous and fermented that help our digestive tracts.
Types of Fiber
Viscous fiber is soluble and moves quickly through our digestive tract (Blake, 2019):
- green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli
- lowering cholesterol levels
- overall improving heart health
Fermented fiber is insoluble and digested by bacteria in your large intestine (Blake, 2019):
- are in complex starches such as oats, rice, & potatoes
- kills off bacteria that might make you sick
- allows the small intestine to absorb nutrients
Green vegetables have many vitamins that help our body function. Adding a few cups of these vegetables will give our bodies the right amount of vitamins each day:
- Vitamin A, E, K, B
- Vitamin C (We consume this vitamin from vegetables as it synthesizes certain amino acids; is an antioxidant to reduce the risk of heart disease; and boosts the immune system)
After eating a heavy meal of vegetables, your blood is flooded with glucose from the carbohydrates. A hormone called insulin is released to take the glucose from the cells to use later when giving up or storing energy. Your body needs 200 grams or more of carbohydrates on a daily basis. When we first wake up and until we fall asleep for the night, our bodies need a constant fuel source to keep us functioning throughout the day.
As the Earth provides one of the most important food sources, plants are essential to our body’s overall health. Vegetables are the products or edible parts reserved in the roots, stems and leaves of the plant. Yet vegetables also provide 70-95% of water (Researchers at the University of California, n.d). When we decide to eat our meals, consuming vegetables will make for easier digestion, provide our vitamin daily intake, and give us a boost of energy to last throughout the day.
Author: Jamie Moore (senior at Sam Houston State University Pre-Nursing)
Blake, J. S. (2019). Nutrition & You (5th Edition) (5th ed.). Pearson.
Researchers at the University of California. (n.d.). Plants consumed as vegetables & discussion. Discoveries in Natural History Exploration. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/%7Elegneref/botany/vegetab.htm