In this week’s blog, I wanted to explore the concept behind ‘greens’. When grocery shopping this past week, I looked down at my cart and noticed that everything I had put in so far was green. I definitely eat a very healthy and balanced diet (including other colors of course!), although not everyone is on that same field. So this week’s blog is my Top Ten Favorite Green Foods, why I love them and why you should consider adding them to your daily nutrition routine.
1. Broccoli – this high fiber food truly is a super food. Broccoli lowers cholesterol, aids in digestion and naturally detoxes the body. Packed with Vitamins D, K and A this tasty vegetable has enormous anti-inflammatory benefits. Some people find it difficult to digest raw, so a light steam can help with that. I eat this daily with hummus or on it’s own.
2. Avocado – loaded with nutrients, this healthy fat is great for your heart, kidneys and overall cell function. Its ability to reduce inflammation has shown links to cancer reduction and help with arthritis. It is also high in fiber which can help with weight loss and keep your digestive system on track. Avocados also help your body absorb nutrients from other vegetables, meaning it works for you! I put avocado with my eggs every day. It’s also a great topper on salads, chicken, toast, or salmon.
3. Spinach – this delicious one is full of vitamins and minerals – everything from A, C, E and K, to protein and flavanoids to calcium, iron and magnesium. It’s basically loaded with good things for every part of your body. Great for your heart, brain, skin, hair and bones. I put spinach in my breakfast wrap every morning right before the eggs on top to give them a slight steam which adds even more benefits to spinach. A spinach salad for lunch is also a frequent occurrence in this household. Add with your favorite veggies, a few Hemp Hearts and some extra virgin olive oil…you are set. Added bonus? Eat spinach with a high vitamin C fruit such as berries to help pack even more of a punch.
4. Brussels Sprouts – everyone probably remembers having brussels sprouts as a kid and hating them. But they seem to have made a come back in my kitchen in more recent years. Packed with vitamins and minerals, they are noted as one of the top 20 healthiest foods by the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. Studies have shown links to fighting cancer, preventing diabetes, obesity and heart disease. They also increase your energy – so really how can you go wrong. After steaming these veggies I love to either roast them or toss them in a pan with extra virgin olive oil or raw organic coconut oil. It’s important to remember the foods we choose are important, but equally important is the way and in what we cook them.
5. Kale – with three grams of protein per serving, this high antioxidant super food is making its way to my fridge every week. It is said to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Studies have shown links to cancer fighting properties, cardiovascular strengthening and can help you lose weight. I find it a harder one to digest so a light steam or baking them in raw organic coconut oil in the oven is a great way to add this one to your day.
6. Bok Choy – as part of the cabbage family, bok choy is loaded with nutrients, omega 3s and anti-oxidants. Cancer prevention is often tied in studies to bok choy and other green leafy vegetables. I find this one great to chop up and add to stir fry. I also make a great cold salad with chickpeas, bok choy, yellow and red pepper and cucumbers. Delicious!
7. Aloe Vera – there are numerous health benefits to drinking aloe vera. A spoonful in the morning helps with digestion, antioxidant support, healthy immune system, reduces harmful toxins, increases nutrient absorption, balances stomach acidity and helps sooth muscle and joint discomfort. For more info on this morning move, see here.
8. Chlorophyll – liquid chlorophyll is an easy one to add to your water to dash into your day. It helps keep your red blood cells clean, healthy and plentiful by rebuilding and replenishing those cells. In such, our energy levels are boosted. Other benefits include detoxifying your liver, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-candida and promotes healthy iron levels. It helps build your blood. And if you think about that statement, your body completely depends on it.
9. Green Tea – I’m not a huge fan of the taste, so when I find I’m ‘over it’ I simply supplement. This way I ensure I get the health benefits on the days I’m not drinking it. Numerous health benefits from this anti-oxidant super star include improved brain function, burns fat, lowers your risk of certain types of cancer, lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by protecting your brain, lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes, and promotes longevity. All that for a cup of tea? Do it!
10. Supplementing – now at the risk of this all sounding overwhelming, I wanted to give two suggestions of how to get your greens in when you don’t manage to eat them all. I have two absolute favorites. First is Green Envy. A one ounce shot in the morning gives you your greens for the day. That doesn’t mean go and eat fast food for the rest of it, but it is a great way to ensure your greens are in no matter what. This can be purchased at both Superstore and Costco. My second suggestion is my absolute favorite new obsession – Magnum Performance Greens. I mix this in my shaker with Spirulina and water while I work out. I have noticed a significant improvement is my energy maintenance while working out and my hair and nail health. I still ensure the above are on my plate every day, but this is truly a tasty added bonus. You can purchase it online or at many local health food stores.
If you enjoyed this blog, we have lots of great info every week on our dedicated health blog. Here are a few more articles you might enjoy about nutrition – www.fitcommunications.ca/category/nutrition