Monday, February 22, 2010

Dr. Arthur AgatstonA:

Research shows that eating dark greens may help maintain good health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, some cancers, and several other illnesses. Some of my favorites include spinach, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, romaine and red leaf lettuce, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts — all antioxidant power-houses. They're rich in beta-carotene, folate, and vitamins C, E, and K, which help protect against free radicals (damaged cells that injure good cells and harm DNA). Eating dark greens regularly may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promote normal eyesight, and improve gastrointestinal function.

Current dietary guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend consuming at least three cups of dark-green vegetables per week, but if you're like most Americans, you don't get enough. The good news: All vegetables contain components that contribute to a healthy eating plan. So eat a wide variety, both green and otherwise, throughout the week, and you'll take a big step toward getting all the nutrients your body needs.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Heart Health Center.

Last Updated: 06/26/2008
Arthur Agatston, MD, is a practicing cardiologist and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is also the creator of The South Beach Diet.

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