We’ve all been hearing for so long that we need to “eat our greens”. Although this may feel like an annoying reminder that we heard throughout our childhood, there is great truth in this as filling our diet with greens is incredibly important for our health!
Here are 6 reasons why you should eat your green daily:
1) Cleansing. After the holiday season, we’re all ready to cleanse our body from after an overindulgence in rich food. Cleansing also helps us to drop those few extra pounds we may be carrying. Greens are cleansing to our body and blood as they help to rid our blood of toxins, particularly due to the molecule chlorophyll, which is what makes plants green.
2) Nutrient dense. Greens, especially leafy greens contain a concentrated about of nutrients! For example, you can find magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate and more.
3) Antioxidant. Greens contain antioxidants. Oxidation can create free radicals, which reduce cell lifespan and cause premature cell degeneration (think when you peel an apple and it turns brown, this is the process of oxidation and it is similar to what occurs within our blood vessels). Damage from free radicals can lead to disease, such as cancer, and premature aging of the skin. Let’s be clear that free radicals actually occur naturally in the body, but stress and environmental strain, including poor quality foods, can increase the amount of free radicals. Antioxidants help to prevent or slow the oxidative process.
4) Reduces inflammation. Inflammation, which is swelling and redness in the body, is often caused from irritation (e.g. food allergies and intolerances) and disease. Inflammation in our intestinal system can lead to improper absorption of nutrients. The antioxidants in greens are also very useful in fighting inflammation as they contain carotenoids, vitamin K and vitamin E.
5) Alkalizing. Remember back in science class when you learned about the pH scale and acid and bases (alkaline). Certain areas of our body, such as our stomach, are incredibly acidic, which is a good thing, but most parts are alkaline. Disease thrives in an acidic state. Foods such as dairy and sugar, actually promote acidity, while greens are very alkalizing.
6) Fiber! Juicing is great as a therapeutic way to super charge your diet with essential nutrients and enzymes. However, juicing may not be for everyone as the lack of fiber in juice can be disruptive to some people’s blood sugar levels. Green smoothies still contain essential nutrients as well as fiber to steady blood sugar levels. Plus, most of us have a hard time reaching the recommended amount of fiber each day and green smoothies will help us with this.
Examples of greens include: green vegetables (such as celery, cucumber, zucchini, green peppers, green onions, broccoli, cabbage) sea vegetables, algae (including spirulina and chlorella), kale, chard, lettuce, mustard greens, collards, parsley, cilantro, spinach, beet greens, arugula, endive, and the list goes on…
The key to adding greens to your diet is to think about how to can add them to each meal. For example, add extra spinach to your salad, throw greens into your smoothie, add extra green vegetables to your stir-fry, sautéed spinach in your pasta, eat celery with hummus. The options are endless!