Do you remember Popeye? He was the sailor always downing tins of spinach to be healthy and strong. No doubt too, your mother was always reminding you to ‘eat your greens” growing up. Whilst we know that we’re supposed to eat vegetables as part of a healthy diet, why are green vegetables highlighted as being particularly good for you?
Green vegetables, and in particular green leafy vegetables, are packed with a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Being so nutrient dense they play a key role to help prevent disease (cancer in particular) as well as assist in healing your body when consumed regularly.
Regular consumption of green vegetables will:
- reduce inflammation in your body
- eliminate carcinogens from your body
- maintain your DNA health
- regulate you body’s glucose levels
- increase your metabolism
- assist with weight control
- support your immune system
- regulate cell growth and reproduction
Popeye was certainly onto something good!
According to Ty Bolinger from The Truth About Cancer, the Top 10 Greens to regularly eat to optimize your health are:
- Gentle laxative properties
- Assists healthy gastrointestinal function
- Boosts immunity
- Assists in balancing your body systems so that they function well
- Contains high levels of sulforaphane that significantly reduces your risk of cancer (broccoli sprouts in particular) by preventing the spread of cancer cells.
- High fibre content assists gut health
- Contains electrolytes to hydrate your body
- Contains enzymes to nourish and clean your body
- Contains antioxidants & phytonutrients to help protect vital organs, vision and virility
- High in protein and omega 3 fatty acids
- Helps to prevent cancer
- Helps to detoxify your body
- High in vitamins A, C and K
- Cancer fighting by inhibiting the formation and spread of cancer cells and providing protection
- Detoxes your immune system and provides protection from harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Rich source of vitamins, trace minerals, phytonutrients, amino acid, omega 3 and fibre
- Significant source of iodine: critical for brain development, pituitary gland function and cancer prevention
- Assists central nervous system function
- Assists the thyroid to regulate hormone production
- Has more Vitamin C than an orange
- Helps to prevent aging and skin health
- Improves gut health, cardio vascular and respiratory function
- Protect vision
- Removes toxic heavy metals from your body
- Helps to prevent the formation of cancer cells and tumours
- Strengthens bones
- Balances sugar levels helping to prevent diabetes
- High in B group vitamins and vitamins A, C, E & K
- Improves circulation
- Lowers cholesterol
- Promotes heart health
- Contains more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than an orange and more iron than spinach
- High in vitamin K to assist in the prevention of aging, neurodegeneration, heart disease
- Increases bone strength
(to read Ty Bolinger’s whole article click here)
What is the best way to eat greens?
With such a vast range of green vegetables to choose from, green fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw and cooked used in your juices, smoothies, salads and vegetable dishes in many combinations.
When selecting greens always choose:
- non GMO foods
- organic or non-spray when possible – if not, commercially grown vegetables are still better than no vegetables so insure that you wash thoroughly and remove peels and core to minimise pesticide exposure
Juices are an ideal way to consume a number of greens in one delicious nutrient hit. My favourite green juice combines kale or spinach, cucumber, celery, fennel (adds a licorice taste), and broccoli. Greens on their own can be bitter so by adding carrots and/or apple plus the juice of ½ lemon you will end up with delicious green juice.
To smoothies I will often add baby spinach leaves, cucumber, celery, avocado and kiwi fruit. With a base of nut milk plus a date, banana and some berries, you have a delicious, health promoting smoothie. Add chia seeds, LSA and coconut oil to supercharge your smoothie even further and power you along for several hours.
Until next time, wishing you a delicious day filled with love, laughter, happiness AND plenty of greens!
PS: Keep a lookout out for my blog on why eating sprouts will massively boost your nutritional intake.