Link to


Better Options
Bone Health
Breast Health
Diabetes Diets
Community Supported Agriculture
Easy Transition Tips
Food Companies
Importance of Greens
Meatless Options
Necessary Fats
Nutrition Info
Nutrition for Workouts
Preventing Heart Disease
Raw Diets
Raw vs Cooked Food
Reduce Allergies
Tofu Tips
Types of Protein
Vacation Tips
Vegan Cookbooks
Vegetable Wash
Vegetarian Cookbooks
Vegetarian Diets
Veggie Food Pyramid
Weight Loss Tips
Whole Grain Diets
Why Should I Become A Vegetarian?


Email Mama

Milk alternatives
Must-buy organic veggies

100 mile diet

Egg-free products
Healthful fruits
Holiday meal tips
Meat substitutes

Green living

Heirloom vegetables

Greens in a Vegetarian Diet

One of the best sources of nutrients in vegetarian diets (or in any diet) are dark leafy greens. Leafy greens include beet greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, spinach and turnip greens.

Leafy greens supply the body with magnesium, potassium, calcium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K and carotenoids. Carotenoids are protective: they are antioxidants which neutralize free radicals. Carotenoids also activate detoxification enzymes which rid the body of cancer-causing chemicals. Another function of carotenoids is to protect the eyes. Spinach is a great source of cartenoids.

Dark leafy greens are also a great source of calcium. While a cup of milk contains 276 mg of calcium it also contains 146 calories and eight grams of fat. Five of milk's grams are saturated. A cup of lightly steamed collard greens contains 266 mg of calcium, turnip greens contain 200 mg of calcium and dandelion greens contain 150 mg of calcium.

Leafy greens contain very few calories and provide trace amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Greens are high in fiber, leading to slower digestion and very little rise in blood sugar. These powerhouse foods lower levels of the natural compound homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are toxic and contribute to clogged arteries.  The folate and vitamin B6 keep it under control. The minerals magnesium, potassium and calcium in greens facilitate fluid regulation. This helps to lower blood pressure.

A word about calcium oxalates is necessary in any discussion about greens. Calcium oxalates are created when oxalic acid combines with calcium. Oxalic acid occurs naturally in plants, animals and humans. Calcium oxalate has been linked to kidney stone formation in those who have a sensitivity towards kidney stones as well as those who already have a problem.

Some leafy greens contain high levels of oxalates. These include beet greens, collards, spinach and swiss chard. Calcium oxalates bind some of the calcium in greens so it is not available to the body. The vitamin C in greens helps to absorb calcium and inhibit the effects of oxalates. Adding foods with vitamin C, e.g., red peppers, facilitates calcium absorption too.

As long as you eat a variety of greens and are not prone to kidney stones the oxalate issue is not a concern.  Consumption of a very high protein diet provides a greater risk than greens for those with kidney stone sensitivities.

We'll teach you how to #LiveTo100!

Join our newsletter!

Accessibility Policy| Terms Of Use| Privacy Policy| Advertise with Us| Contact Us| Newsletter

RSS| Sitemap| Careers

Mamas Health Inc. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use.

©2000 - 2017 MamasHealth, Inc.™. All rights reserved