This is a great time of year to be eating lots of fresh salad greens, watercress, turnip or mustard greens, kale, chard, even dandelion!
Here are five ways dark leafy greens earn their reputation as anti-aging superfoods.
1. They have lots of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency damages cell DNA and accelerates “mitochondrial decay” that essentially causes cells to age prematurely, lose energy and become dysfunctional.
2. They’re a great source of vitamin K, a nutrient that helps anchor calcium inside bones—and one that’s not often found in supplements. Just 1 cup of cooked kale contains nearly 1,300% of your daily requirement of vitamin K.
3. They’re packed with folate, a B vitamin that can reduce your risk for dementia, stroke and heart disease. (The word “folate” comes from the word “foliage.”)
4. They provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids via alpha linolenic acid, some of which your body can convert to EPA and DHA, the kind found in fish oil. A common edible weed, purslane, is one of the best plant sources.
5. They have antioxidants galore. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids, vitamins E and C, lutein and zeaxanthin, all help prevent cancer, cataracts and premature aging.
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Make sure you are eating at least one large serving of greens per day. You can eat them in salads, sautes or soups. Green juices and concentrated freeze-dried greens powders are also excellent ways to incorporate more greens into your diet.
QUICK TIP: According to Jean Carper, the vitamin K in dark leafy greens can help prevent varicose veins. Learn More
Written exclusively for Stop Aging Now, the authority on anti-aging research, anti-aging nutrition, and anti-aging supplements.