08 July, 2011
Vitamins in Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables include kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach and romaine lettuce. They can easily be incorporated into salads, soups and stir fry dishes and offer a number of health benefits. According to the Center for Young Women's Health, dark green leafy vegetables may help prevent cancer and heart disease. Colorado State University notes that leafy greens are nutrient rich and and are a healthy food choice because they contain no cholesterol and are low in sodium. Leafy greens are rich in iron, calcium and phytonutrients. They also contain a host of vitamins.
Vitamin A plays an important role in cell division and differentiation and helps regulate the immune system. It also helps fight disease and is essential for vision and bone growth. Vitamin A deficiency may be characterized by night blindness and greater susceptibility to infection. The Office of Dietary Supplements notes that vitamin A deficiency is unusual in the U.S.; however, chronic diarrhea and excessive alcohol consumption can deplete vitamin A reserves.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin needed for growth and repair of tissues in the body. It plays an important role in the formation of collagen and aids wound healing and cartilage repair. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps protect the cells from free radical damage. A build up of free-radicals in the body may lead to heart disease and arthritis, therefore vitamin C may help prevent these conditions. Vitamin C deficiency is characterized by anemia, bleeding gums, weakened tooth enamel and slow wound healing, notes MedlinePlus.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver. It plays an important role in blood clotting and wound healing and may help to build strong bones. According to the U.K. Food Standards Agency, adults need 0.001 mg of vitamin K per 1 kg of body weight per day. MedlinePlus notes that vitamin K deficiency is rare and usually only occurs when they body is unable to absorb vitamins from the gastrointestinal tract. A person deficient in vitamin K may bruise or bleed easily.
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