Green Fruits and Vegetables Health Benefits – the Essentials

Green Fruits and Vegetables Health Benefits - the Essentials

Green fruits and vegetables have essential health benefits. When I was a child I hated spinach, cabbage, leek, lettuce, and Brussels sprouts the most. Do you see a resemblance in this row of green vegetables? I didn’t! Until I started this article about green fruits and vegetables.

I once read an explanation why most kids hate green vegetables: the taste is more often than not bitter. Where children tend to have a sweet tooth. 

Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t that good a cook I am sorry to say. Don’t get me wrong, I love(d) my mother dearly. Besides she made the best apple cake I have ever tasted. You might say that she never lost her sweet tooth.

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Eat more green fruits and vegetables

Spinach is strength

But it wasn’t until my husband started to be the cook in the house that I discovered that food – any food – can taste deliciously. This made me conclude that not only my mother but I too am not that good a cook. 🙂

Nevertheless, it would have been a big advantage if I had eaten more green fruits and vegetables as a kid. For years I suffered from severe bronchitis and one of the major plus points of green food is its ability to dissolve mucus in the lungs!

Green vegetables = strength

Do you remember Popeye the Sailorman? I always thought the comic movies featuring Popeye were a trick from grown-ups to get children to eat more vegetables. As a kid, I never thought that there was actually truth to the benefits of spinach.

Green food has a lot of chlorophyll, which is beneficial for the plant itself. Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from the sunlight and thus produce nutrients.

For us, chlorophyll is wondrous as well. Chlorophyll is rich in magnesium. The darker green the vegetable, the better. Raw is better than cooked. 

Magnesium is essential to all cells of the human body. Moreover, 300 of our enzymes require magnesium ions to function. Enzymes are the biological catalysts that accelerate more than 5,000 essential chemical reactions in our bodies.

The darker green, the better. Raw is better than cooked. 

The health benefits of green fruits and vegetables

Green mint
  • Improves blood circulation and purifies your blood – which makes it great in fighting acne;
  • Strengthens the immune system;
  • Is good for the intestinal flora – it lessens bad breath;
  • Gives a lot of energy;
  • Works preventively against cancer;
  • Dissolves mucus, particularly in the lungs;
  • Makes you clear-headed and works well against depression;
  • Improves the functioning of the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys;
  • Is low in calories – helps losing weight.

Related: The 6 Essential Nutrients to Have a Balanced Diet

Over 1000 edible green leaves  

What we call green vegetables in this article must not be confused with what are commonly called leaf vegetables, or leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens. These are all leaves of plants that we eat as vegetables. Most leaf vegetables share nutritional and cooking properties.

The leaves of almost a thousand different plants are edible. Vitamin K is the most notable vitamin in these plant leaves. This is because phylloquinone, the most common form of vitamin K, is directly involved in the photosynthesis mentioned above. 

We cast the net of green vegetables a little bit wider and also include fruits, such as zucchini and cucumbers.

Green vegetables, fruits, herbs

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli (considered as superfood)
  • Peas
  • Green cabbage
  • Green beans
  • Green peppers
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce
  • Leek
  • Cucumber
  • Endive
  • Kale (by some specifically advised for the elderly)
  • Nopales (a cactus species)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green onions (scallions, spring onions, or sibies)
  • Celery
  • Zucchini (courgette or baby marrow)
  • Avocado (considered as superfood)
  • Green apple (i.e. Granny Smith)
  • Kiwi
  • Green grapes
  • Lime
  • Pistachios (unsalted of course)
Green fruit - Kiwi
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • Cilantro
  • Mint – peppermint, spearmint
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • Chives
  • Chervil
Green herb - Basil

These lists of green fruits and vegetables are not complete of course. There are way more green fruits and vegetables and herbs. Although most green fruits tend to be variations of the better known and different colored types, for instance, green bananas and green mango.

Herbs: the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks

Herbs give flavor to food, but not substance. They can be eaten raw on salads or mixed with every type of food. However, the praise of cooks implies that the cook knows which herb and which amount of herbs or which mix of herbs goes best with a specific dish.

In French haute cuisine, a combination of four green herbs is labeled canonical: finely chopped parsley and chives, and a little chervil and tarragon. Of course, the herbs have to be fresh and organic.

Spirulina is a green superfood

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Spirulina is a biomass of blue-green algae. One of the three species of spirulina, arthrospira platensis, is used as a food supplement. Arthrospira are free-floating, fibrous cyanobacteria. They occur naturally in tropical and subtropical lakes.

Cyanobacteria, or Cyanophyta, contain a pigment, phycocyanin, which has the same properties as chlorophyll. They capture light for photosynthesis. 

Spirulina consists of protein (60%), carbohydrates (24%), fat (8%), and water (5%). The protein of spirulina contains 18 of our essential amino acids. Spirulina also contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals.

The vitamins are: A, Beta-carotene, B1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9, Choline, C, E, and K. The minerals are: calcium, iron (259%), magnesium, manganese (90%), phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. The percentages represent the daily amount needed and are taken for 100 grams of spirulina. 

Because spirulina may have adverse effects, consult your physician when you use prescription drugs.

Salads

Raw is better than cooked. Not all vegetables are tasting that good when they are not cooked. Yet some are delicious in salads. For instance cucumber and (my favorite) celery.

This is a great recipe as a side dish

Mix small cut pieces of celery, cucumber, and Granny Smith apple with walnuts and pistachios. Make a dressing of mustard, vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Decorate with some blades of chives.

It tastes marvelous with grilled prawns or Norway lobsters.


Enjoy your meal and stay healthy!

4 thoughts on “Green Fruits and Vegetables Health Benefits – the Essentials”

  1. Good afternoon Hannie,

    Now ain’t that something, I could not stand Brussel Spouts either when I was small. I always told my poor Mother the house was stinking with the cooking of this vegetable. The taste was even worse. Now I love to eat it raw and enjoy it. There you see one can change over time.

    Recently I have started eating Spirulina, and I have noticed I feel less tired. What we eat has a tremendous influence on our health. As everything is related, taking care of our health will also influence how we feel and improve our mood. Especially nowadays to be in balance physically, mentally, and spiritually is of utmost importance as times are tough.

    Thank you for the great green list and the nice salad recipe. We definitely have to pay more attention to what we eat.

    Regards, Taetske

    Reply
    • Exactly, Taetske, food as medicine is my adagio nowadays. And you’re right, for our mothers, it was not nice to hear that complaining of us as kids. Poor souls, doing their best to feed us healthily, but any gratitude? No way. 😉

      It’s marvelous that you benefit from Spirulina too. Nature has so much good to offer to us. It’s good more and more people are learning to appreciate that. If we take care of the earth in a thoughtful way, mother earth will surely take care of us!

      Oh yes, that salad has been a favorite of mine for a long time now. So simple, ready in no time, and extremely healthy. Glad you like it. Do you have a favorite recipe as well?

      Reply
  2. Hey Hannie,
    I hated green beans so much when I was a kid, and even today, I’m not its biggest fan. However, I always liked spinach, probably because of Popeye the Sailorman, hehe.

    Can you help me with one thing, please! I really like many of those listed fruits and vegetables, but I often “forget” to eat them daily, even though I like them. Maybe it’s the lack of time, so I’m just trying to make lunch as quick as possible, or it’s just me being lazy to prepare something extra to get a healthier meal. How do you make sure to eat enough green foods?

    Reply
    • Hi Petar,

      Thank you for your comment. Since I’m the cook in the house, I’ll reply to your question. But first, let me say that it’s amazing how popular that ugly sailorman is.

      Now your question: “How do you make sure to eat enough green foods?” Much of the preparation of dishes is in the planning. I only go shopping once a week. That saves already a lot of time and effort.

      When I go shopping I buy all the fruits and vegetables we need. I always buy organic food. The advantage of organic food is that the choice of green vegetables is easy. There are always a lot of these.

      I also have a simple rule: what I buy, I will prepare. I never throw anything away that’s good enough to eat.

      The next step of the planning is in the preparation. I usually cook for 2 days. Because I like to prepare exceptionally tasty food, it takes me about an hour to prepare it. Of course, the actual time it takes depends very much on the type of vegetable. Spinach is ready in no time.

      The next day I only have to change a little bit of the preparation, for instance, I use the oven instead of the hot plate. Or I add 1 or 2 other ingredients. Such as walnuts.

      I hope I answered your question properly. When you want to know more, please tell me.

      For now, stay safe, stay healthy.

      Regards,
      Tom

      Reply

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