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Six Vegetables that can be Life Saving

Update Date: Aug 25, 2014 01:39 PM EDT

Vegetables are some of the only foods that parents, doctors and health experts want people to eat more of. These greens, particularly the leafy dark ones, contribute greatly to one's overall health since they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Not only do vegetables provide energy for the body, they do so without expanding waistlines.

Here are six vegetables that can be lifesaving:

1. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard contains high levels of two important but not widely known antioxidants, which are syringic acid and kaempferol. Syringic acid helps stabilize blood sugar levels by preventing enzymes from converting carbohydrates into simple sugars. Kaempferol can protect cells from toxins that might cause cancer, reduce inflammation and lower one's risk of developing heart conditions, diabetes and other types of chronic illnesses.

2. Arugula

Arugula, which is popular in salads and sandwiches, has very high levels of natural nitrates. Once ingested, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which is a gas that has been linked to reducing blood pressure levels, boosting blood flow and improving sexual function in men. Arugula is also packed with flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help combat heart disease and prevent ulcers.

3. Collard Greens

Collard greens do the best job at binding bile acids in the stomach. When these acids are bound, they can end up lowering cholesterol levels while improving protection against certain kinds of cancers. These greens also have phytochemicals that can help with the body's natural detoxifying system.

4. Bak Choy

Bak Choy, a staple in Chinese cuisine, contains high levels of potassium, which is a mineral responsible for building muscle and maintaining blood pressure levels. Bak Choy is also a good source of vitamin A, which can enhance the immune system by increasing the body's white blood cell activity. The vitamin can also improve the body's response to toxins.

5. Kale

Kale contains both glucosinolates and kaempferol. Glucosinolates have been tied to fighting cancer as well as protecting heart health. The compounds can also reduce blood sugar levels, strengthen bone health and lower inflammation. In addition, kale has antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which help combat age-related eye disease and vision loss.

6. Watercress

Watercress was recently named the number one vegetable to eat based on the amount of nutrients packed in each calorie in a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) journal, Preventing Chronic Disease. This vegetable is extremely healthy to eat because just one cup of it fulfills people's daily-recommended value of vitamin K. Vitamin K helps the blood clot, which lowers plaque buildup on the walls of the artery. Less buildup can reduce inflammation. Watercress, when eaten daily, can also cut DNA damage to white blood cells, which can lower one's risk of cancers and one's level of triglycerides.

There are always ways to dress up a vegetable and make it extremely delicious. The next time you look up recipes, consider finding tasty ones that include these six power foods.

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