Why Mum Was Right When She Said, “Eat Your Greens”…..

greens

From the time you could eat solids and way into your childhood and adolescence you were told to eat your veggies especially the green stuff on your plate. Unlike many nutritional messages which seem to change constantly, eating your greens has definitely stuck and isn’t a fad or myth. Hence, when mum was nagging you every night she was on to something!

Dark leafy greens have a multitude of health benefits. In fact green vegetables are the most nutritious carbohydrate and most nutrient dense of all foods.

  • Green vegetables are little nutrition powerhouses! They are high in B Vitamins. B vitamins are essential for so many processes in our bodies from energy production to hormone regulation, nervous system health and support, digestive health as well as skin, hair, liver and mouth health etc.
  • Greens have great amounts of Vitamin A which supports the turn over and production of new skin cells therefore eating adequate amounts helps prevent rough, dry, wrinkled skin. Vitamin A is also required for the health of epithelial tissue of which mucous membranes are composed. Vitamin A precursors –Alpha Carotene and Beta Carotene enhance the immune system and protect eye health.
  • Greens are high in Phytonutrients and Antioxidants, Vitamins K, C, E, Folate and Carotenoids as well as essential minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Potassium. Vitamin K plays a big role in intestinal function as well as heart and brain health. Good levels of Vitamin K regulate blood clotting and protect bones, decrease calcium in arterial plaques, reduces inflammation, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C plays a major role in immunity, tissue health and healing, adrenal gland function and iron absorption. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant preventing cell damage by inhibiting the oxidation of fats and the formation of free radicals.
  • Phytonutrients found in greens – beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin (important for preventing cell damage and protecting eyes). Phytonutrients also possess antibiotic and antioxidant properties, which facilitate toxin removal improving brain function, immune support and the strength of blood vessels.
  • Greens are full of fibre, which helps keep your GUT healthy and bowels busy at work moving toxins out.
  • Greens get their colour from Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has a very detoxifying action on the body. It cleanses the body of harmful toxins, which can lead to hormone imbalances and flare skin ailments. It also oxygenates blood, alkalizes the body’s ph level and improves circulation to increase nutrient supply to skin cells. Greens are also powerful mood enhancers, lifting the spirit therefore help depression. The colour green is also associated with spring time, the liver in chinese medicine and hence a time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy.
  • Green vegetables stimulate enzymes and bile, which help overall digestion.
  • Leafy greens assist in balancing sugar cravings.
  • Greens are anti-inflammatory on a cellular level, which is scientifically proven to be one of the main causes of illness whether it is heart disease, Crohn’s disease,  cancer or osteoarthritis.
  • Leafy Vegetables have a light flexible energy about them. Therefore, when you are feeling heavy and weighted down eat more of them and less heavy animal proteins for example.
  • Greens improve circulation and clear congestion, especially in the lungs therefore help reduce mucus build up.

Some of my Personal Favourite Greens

Baby Spinach

Endive (Bitter Green therefore great for the Liver)

Romaine Lettuce

Silver Beet

Bok Choy

Rocket

Black Cabbage

Others to Try

Watercress

Cabbage

Chard

Beet greens

Chicory

Collard green

Kale

~ Aim for 2 to 3 cups daily

eat-your-greens

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