Reasons to EAT your GREENS

Why are greens the one part of our foods that we find hardest to include yet possibly the most important.

I have strong recollections of my younger brother taking down peas like pills, one at a time with a glass of milk.  He definitely has some strong bones yet it really did seem to be a waste of his time and definitely a test of my mothers patience.  Needless to say, he now eats almost anything and is one of the best and healthiest cooks that I know.  We were never forced to eat anything as kids however we were encouraged to try everything at least once to know whether or not we really liked it. So is it really worth going through the drama to get your kids (or yourself) to eat greens?

Why Greens are Important

Antioxidants – Prevent disease

Simply: Green vegetables are rich in antioxidants and plant based vitamins and minerals.  With free radical damage being a primary cause for cell damage, aging and disease it is crucial that our diets are rich in anti-oxidants that counteract this damage and assist in disease prevention.

Broccoli

Powerful anti-oxidant properties.  The broccoli includes phytonutrients that strengthen our immune systems and help build bones.  A rich source of vitamins E, A, C, K & B6 as well as providing a source of potassium, manganese and calcium.  Broccoli contains important compounds such as sulforaphane that have been found protective effect against cancer and possibly cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders and the damaging effects of aging.

Spinach – yes Popeye was right!

Spinach is another nutrient packed green food source.  Rich inVitamins B, A, C, K & E as well as Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium and Zinc.  Whilst the iron in spinach (non-heme iron) has a much lower absorption rate than that found in meat products (heme iron) it can be increased by 200-300% by adding vitamin C.  Hence squeezing lemon juice on your vegetables is a great way to increase the absorption of iron.

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi fruit is an extremely rich source of vitamin C & K.  Boasting a moderate Glycemic Index of 51 along with a compound (inositol) shown enhance insulin sensitivity, kiwi fruit is a great choice for diabetics controlling their blood sugar levels.

Our Acidic Diets – the acid-alkaline balance


pH balance is important in all living things.  Water has a pH level of 7.0 and is considered neutral.  The ideal pH range for the human body is slightly acidic in a range between 6.0-6.8.  Unfortunately, due to our stressful lives, and a diet where over consumption of meats, dairy, bad fats, sugars, alcohol and caffeine, our bodies tend to be far more acidic than the ideal.  This can result in numerous health problems (see below), hence why balancing with more alkaline based foods is your key to optimal health.  A general rule of thumb would be to consume 80% alkaline and 20% acid based foods.  The reverse is probably the reality for most western diets.

Too much acidity can lead to:

  • Poor immunity
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • Weight Gain
  • Bladder & Kidney Conditions
  • Accelerated cell damage from free radicals
  • Pre mature aging
  • Slow digestion and elimination
  • Lethargy and chronic fatigue
  • Poor concentration

This is where GREEN is good.  By adding greens to your meal you are naturally increasing your alkaline food intake and combating the acid forming foods in your diet not too mention they are packed full of important nutrients.

Want some proof? – the litmus paper test is a simple way of seeing how your body measures up.  Purchase litmus paper from your local chemist apply either saliva/urine prior to eating to test your pH.

Easy Ways to Get your Greens

I have mentioned green drink a few times in my posts.  For years I have been using a variety of green drinks in my diet as a means to keep my green enzyme intake high even when I am really busy and have little time to ensure that I am eating enough.  This has taken me on a journey from stuff that tastes like dirt to powders with what I am sure could only be cayenne pepper and a horrible dirt+chilly taste.  Needless to say my mistakes lead to finally finding Vital Greens and thankfully not only was it pleasant tasting, vital greens had more nutrient content than any of other less palatable versions.

The first few times that you drink it, it may be a little unfamiliar however once your body is used to it, it is so easy to drink and is a great instant source of energy as well as ensuring your body it’s dose of essential greens enzymes.

If the taste really doesn’t appeal, mix it with some protein powder for a post work out fix.

For Kids : You can disguise it for kids by adding a little into fruit smoothies or juice then putting the drink in a dark container (they can be very cluey on the colour of things).  Don’t add a lot just slowly increase the dose til they get to a teaspoon.

Note: If you are up for the challenge and mention this blog when you drop by the Bondi Junction GNC they will give you a 10% discount on your purchase.

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