The Power of Leafy Greens

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I have had a love affair with leafy green vegetables ever since I can remember. As a child, I enjoyed being in the kitchen with my mother helping her prepare meals, especially Sunday dinners. The aroma of homemade cakes, pies and buttermilk cornbread and crispy fried chicken, collard greens, creamed potatoes and macaroni and cheese tickled my taste buds long before I joined my family at the dinner table for our feast.

While I liked every item in the serving dishes placed in the center of the mahogany table, the collard greens were my absolute favorite. I love their texture. I love their smell. I love their taste. I can eat collard greens every day of the week and never tire of  them. The same is true of Brussels sprouts, turnip and mustard greens, spinach, broccoli and cabbage, too. 

It wasn’t long before I learned about the power of leafy green veggies. Trips to the doctor for annual check-ups helped to expand my knowledge about the nutrients they possessed, including vitamins K, A and C. One day, when I was six or seven years old, I discovered another one of their magical powers. After devouring another one of my mom’s amazing meals, which included fresh spinach I was in the bathroom when I noticed something green in the toilet bowl.

I screamed at the top of my lungs for my mom. She ran up the stairs in lightening speed and arrived in the bathroom near panic and almost out of breath. My mother trained her sharp brown eyes on me and demanded to know why I summoned her to the bathroom. “My poop is green,” I blurted. “Why is my poop green?”

Mom leaned against the bathroom wall exasperated, but relieved there wasn’t a major crisis. After catching her breath, she responded calmly, “Your poop is probably green because you had spinach for dinner.” That was an incredible moment for me. I figured if spinach could change the color of my poop, all leafy greens must possess the same power, but how?  

Years later, I learned it’s all about pigment, also known as chlorophyll. Leafy veggies have pigment, which is where they get their vibrant cucumber green color. When you eat them they can impact the color of your stool, turning it from brown to green. Of course, there are other reasons for that to happen, including medical reasons for which I have very limited knowledge. If you’re still concerned, ask your doctor, Why is my poop green? I’m sure there are many causes and medical reasons. They could be serious, especially if you have other symptoms. 

 

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