Monday, March 17, 2014

All Things Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope y’all are wearing your green so you don’t get pinched! In celebration, I want to talk about all things green. There are so many wonderful green things that you can eat, drink, and use that provide plentiful health benefits and make you feel pretty darn good.

Green superfoods are at the top of the list. Superfoods by definition are nutrient dense foods found in nature that are also calorically sparse, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight in terms of nutrients. Superfoods are fantastic sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients, nutrients the human body cannot make therefore must be acquired through diet. I’m positive y’all were told to eat your spinach in order to look like Popeye. We know eating greens is good for us but eating greens in the superfood family are even better! They have the highest concentration of easily digestible nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They provide proteins, phytochemicals (what gives fruits and vegetables their colors and antioxidant properties), and help aid in healthy digestive function.

Green superfoods get their pigmentation from the biomolecule Chlorophyll. Research has shown that the molecular structure of Chlorophyll resembles that of human blood and when consumed, the production of hemoglobin has increased. In turn, an increase in hemoglobin in the bloodstream signifies more oxygen-rich blood, a necessity for all cells to thrive.

Here are top green superfoods that are easy to work into your diet:

  • Green leafy vegetables- Such vegetables are readily available and extremely nutritious, yet most people do not eat enough of them. Greens include spinach, kale, bok choy, endive, broccoli sprouts, watercress, parsley and dandelion greens.  
  • Spirulina- Maybe you have seen Spirulina protein at the grocery store or heard of it but have no idea what the heck it is. Spirulina has been consumed for many many years in Africa and Mexico. It is a cultivated micro-algae and is contains roughly 70% complete protein (steak only contains about 25% protein when cooked). Spirulina has been shown to control blood sugar levels and can be a key food for diabetics.
  • Wheat grass- Wheat grass is sprouted from a wheat seed, but unlike the whole grain, once it is sprouted it no longer contains gluten. Wheat grass has been shown to normalize the thyroid gland thus stimulating the metabolism and aiding in weight loss and healthy digestion.
  • Seaweeds- Seaweeds are nutritionally dense, more so than most plants on earth, and also a rich source of minerals because they have access to all nutrients in the sea. Seaweeds are high in calcium (contain 10x more calcium than milk) and are also rich in chlorophyll, boosting your body’s ability to detoxify itself.  
  • Brussels sprouts- These mini cabbage looking vegetables contain more glucosinolates (compounds that detoxify our bodies and work against cancer) than many other vegetables.
  • Green Tea- This type of tea is made from un-oxidized tea leaves therefore making it the least processed type of tea. It contains the most antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols. Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in individuals. Green tea may also lower your risk of certain cancers such as breast, prostate, and colorectal.

As you can see, there is more to celebrate about the color green than just St. Paddy’s day! Here is a favorite recipe that includes some superfoods!

Take care of you!


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