10 Super Green Vegetables That Keep Your Gut Happy And Healthy
“Super greens” are superfoods known for their deep green color. They are also an essential part of a healthy diet.
Super greens are rich in several nutrients that support vital body functions. These include vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and iron. They also contain high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial bioactive plant compounds known as ‘phytonutrients.’
But what benefits do these powerful superfoods provide to your gut and microbiome?
Plant Compounds and Micronutrients in Super Greens Benefit the Gut
Micronutrients and phytonutrients, which are naturally found in green vegetables, benefit the gut in many ways. Such benefits include maintaining digestive health and strengthening the gut microbiome
A few key nutrients and plant chemicals in super greens you should know about for gut health include:
- Fiber – Both boosts satiety and feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
- Vitamins and minerals – Essential in keeping digestive processes efficient and maintaining balanced health of the gut and microbiome
- Phytonutrients – Natural plant chemicals that provide anti-inflammatory effects, along with other unique benefits to the gut
- Antioxidants – Many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in super greens double as antioxidants, helping to protect against gut damage caused by stress and inflammation.
10 Super Green Vegetables for a Happy and Healthy Gut
Kale is considered one of the most nutrient-dense super greens, containing over 100% of the daily value of vitamins A and C and 684% of vitamin K’s daily value.
This super green is also known for helping the body digest bad fats. Kale contains bile acid sequestrants, which reduces the levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family, high in fiber, vitamin C and K, iron, and potassium.
Because it is a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli contains sulfur compounds sulforaphane and glucosinate, which are known to reduce damage caused by stress and inflammation in the intestines.
Collard greens are a relative of kale containing equally high amounts of vitamin K and calcium. Calcium is actually known to have a prebiotic-like effect, allowing it to stimulate the growth of the microbiota.
Spinach is a super green high in folate, which is a B vitamin associated with easing constipation. Folate stimulates the production of digestive acids, which speeds the rate of digestion and colon movement, inducing the excretion of waste.
Parsley is an herb high in vitamin C, antioxidant compounds, and flavonoids like carotenoids. Because of its micronutrient and chemical content, parsley has impressive anti-inflammatory benefits, reducing stress-related damage in the gut.
The colorfully stemmed Swiss chard contains a unique phytonutrient called syringic acid. This phenolic acid has powerful antioxidant properties in the gut, minimizing inflammation by blocking free radical damage.
Asparagus is another Brassica vegetable containing sulforaphane, but it also has several B vitamins that benefit the microbiota. Each B vitamin provides different advantages, such as stimulating gut bacteria to produce enzymes essential for food breakdown in the digestive process.
Bok choy is a cabbage variety high in fiber, which boosts satiety and promotes beneficial bacteria growth. It also contains high amounts of selenium, which reduces inflammation in the intestines that can lead to damage and the development of leaky gut.
Beet greens are super greens high in antioxidant vitamins, but also minerals like magnesium and potassium. These minerals are important compounds in nerve and muscle communication, vital for stimulating intestinal and bowel movement.
Barley Grass and Wheat Grass
Grasses, like barley grass and wheat grass, are high in phenolic compounds. This includes chlorophyll, a plant chemical with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that protects the intestines, allows good bacteria to flourish, and rids the gut of harmful pathogens.
Adding More Super Greens to Your Daily Diet
Adding more super greens into your day can improve your digestive health and enhance the wellbeing of your gut microbiota.
Supplement green vegetables into your diet by slipping them into your morning smoothie or sauté them with olive oil and garlic to serve them as a tasty side dish.
If you’re still not getting enough green vegetables in your day, consider adding a super greens drink to your routine. This is an excellent way to provide your body with the gut-boosting nutrients these green superfoods contain. Search for a greens powder made by a reputable company that sells only the highest quality supplements to benefit your gut.
About the Author:
Allison Lansman, RDN, LD is a freelance writer and owner of The Freelance RD Nutrition Writing Services. She is passionate about creating exciting, research-based nutrition blog posts with her professional background as a dietitian. Allie prioritizes creating articles all readers can understand and incorporate into their daily lives.