Parents' favourite saying at dinner time: 'Eat your greens!'

But why should we eat our greens? My kids specifically asked for an explanation about why green vegetables are so important, so I thought I'd write it down so you can tell your kids too, or just for you big kids!

The predominant green vegetables on our plate are from the cruciferous family of vegetables. These include kale, broccoli, bok choi, rocket, cabbage, brussels sprouts and watercress. 

This particular group of plants are a powerhouse of nutrients which benefit our health in many ways. Cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of:

  • Fibre which is beneficial for our gut, to feed the gut bacteria and promote healthy digestive function; 
  • Vitamin C which is a great antioxidant, important for immune function and the production of collagen,
  • Vitamin E, again an antioxidant and together with vitamin A which is obtained from the beta-carotenes in cruciferous veg important for skin and eye health
  • Vitamin K which is beneficial for bone health and blood clotting;
  • Folate necessary for blood production, cell division and synthesis and repair of DNA.
  • Magnesium is beneficial for easing muscle aches, bone health, improving energy levels and balancing hormones and necessary for the production of proteins and regulation of cholesterol.
  • Iron is essential for essential for the formation of haemoglobin and oxygen transportation, cell growth and proper liver function.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain sulphur compounds known as glucosinolates, which account for their sometimes bitter taste. Once broken down by chewing or chopping these compounds are converted to sulphoraphane which studies are proving to be beneficial for cancer prevention, cardiovascular health and as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. The sulphur content of cruciferous vegetables promotes liver detoxification too!

 So kids, (and big kids) get those green in breakfast, lunch and dinner!