What Greens Do To Our Health

green focus: what greens do to our health

Vegetables offer some amazing benefits to our body and are without doubt some of the healthiest foods we can eat. Full of excellent nutrition, each vegetable has its own unique composition of vitamins, minerals, live enzymes and antioxidants that complement each other and work synergistically to nourish your body.

Green vegetables, however, stand out because they are particularly rich in chlorophyll, the pigment that makes them – green. Chlorophyll has long been known as an internal cleanser and has traditionally been used to help improve bad breath and body odour. It is also great for digestion and well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Besides being anti-inflammatory and cleansing, greens are also known to boost the health of our brain, bones, and heart and strengthen our immune system to more effectively fight off infections and prevent disease. They also optimise detoxification – the rate by which toxins are removed from the body, and effectively nourish the body at a cellular level, improving our overall health and wellbeing.

While every vegetable contains some chlorophyll, the amount varies with the intensity of the colour. Generally speaking, the greener the vegetable – the higher the chlorophyll content …and the better is it for you! Increasing your dietary intake of greens is the best way to reap all the benefits of chlorophyll, which is why I have included two simple lists below to help you get started. The first list sums up the many health benefits we get from including chlorophyll-rich greens into our daily diet, and the second lists some common super greens and suggestions to easily incorporate them into your meals.

Benefits Of Eating Greens…

  • Greens cleanse and help build the blood
  • Help rid the body of toxins (particularly heavy metals) by aiding the body’s natural detoxification processes
  • Provide an abundance of essential enzymes that promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, which leads to healthy cell renewal and cell rejuvenation
  • Contain a healthy supply of amino acids that function as building blocks in the body and also aid the process of cell repair and cell formation
  • Extract toxins from the liver and promote healthy liver function
  • Contain potent anti-inflammatory properties
  • Have wound-healing properties that help promote new cell regeneration
  • Boost our immune system, enabling our body to more efficiently fight infections
  • Supply a wide array of powerful antioxidants that neutralise harmful free radicals, thereby protecting our cells and skin cells from premature ageing and other damage
  • Promote a healthy intestinal gut flora
  • Help reverse protein-deficient anaemia
  • Offer effective protection from cancer
  • Act as internal deodorisers
  • Help prevent and heal skin disorders, while improving overall skin health and appearance
  • Improves overall wellbeing and healthy energy production

Super Greens Guide…

Consuming more greens doesn’t have to look like eating bland salads every day. In fact, there are many ways to incorporate more greens into your diet and while raw is best, steamed and cooked is better than no greens at all. Green juices and smoothies are a great way to pack a big bunch of greens into a tasty drink. Other than that, soups, stir fries, slaws, salads and sandwiches are all great candidates for foods that goes well with some extra greens, not to mention fresh herbs which are also packed with chlorophyll and health benefits.

This list combines some common super greens, their nutritional benefits, and some serving suggestions to help inspire you.

Arugula
(Beta-carotene, vitamin K, iron, vitamin C)
The potent peppery flavor makes arugula a great salad green that needs little company; also good on sandwiches and paste dishes.

Beet Greens
(Vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, iron)
They can be found in bunches or still attached to the beets. Saute in olive oil with garlic, then serve as is or mix with pasta.

Collard Greens
(Folic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, vitamin K, iron, vitamin C)
Boil the chopped, stemmed leaves until tender, and serve with olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar. The leaves also make great vegetable wraps. Simply fill a leaf with chopped or grated vegetables and roll up like you would  a regular wrap and serve with a tahini dipping sauce.

Dandelion Greens
(Calcium, beta-carotene, vitamin K, iron)
A member of the sunflower family. The tangy, slightly bitter flavor can come across as too potent when raw, but the greens are delicious when steamed, sauteed, or stir-fried.

Kale
(Vitamin K, beta-carotene, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin C)
Stalks and tough center ribs should be removed from the piquant leaves, which come in many shades and textures. Wonderful in soups, sauteed in olive oil and lemon or chopped in salads. I like to use the stalks in green juices/smoothies.

Spinach
(Beta-carotene, magnesium, folate, calcium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin C)
The slightly bitter leaves may be curled or smooth. Serve raw in salads; use steamed or boiled leaves in lasagna, stuffed chicken, or baked or mashed potatoes. Also great in green smoothies & juices.

Swiss Chard
(Beta-carotene, vitamin K, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin E)
Chard leaves are among my favourite greens. This member of the beet family has celery-like stalks that are usually white or red. Like many greens, chard can be sauteed in olive oil and served with lemon; it’s also nice in soups, salads, juices, smoothies, stir fries & savory pies.

Watercress
(Vitamin K, beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C)
Small, crisp member of the mustard family that’s slightly bitter with a hint of pepper. Delicious in salads; also good in sandwiches and soups.

Greens Guide: inspired by this source.

 

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One Response to What Greens Do To Our Health

  1. Jean says:

    Love your website! I have been eating whole foods and studying holistic health myself for a few decades.

    So I’d like to pass on a pearl of wisdom that I have picked up along the way…

    I agree that greens are wonderful, however, it seems that many do not realize (as I myself did not realize for years) that they must be slightly cooked or steamed to rid them of their anti-nutrients, and oxalic acid. Kale is especially high in oxalic acid.

    Without the slight cooking/steaming you do not actually ingest the nutrients, and the oxalic acid build up in the body can eventually lead to kidney stones and other health issues.

    I find that the raw food community is completely unaware of this dangerous issue.

    So I am hoping that this post and your own efforts can help spread the word.

    Keep up the great blog!

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