Why Greens Should Be Included Into Your Everyday Meals
Have you seen adds or articles popping up here and there that are touting the power of green foods, lately? And it’s left you wondering “what’s up with all the popularity attached to these green foods, anyway? When you stroll down the aisle of your favorite health foods store, you’ll notice that there is an entire sections dedicated to green food supplements. Also, there are many options to choose from. Firstly, you have your land greens and your sea greens. Secondly, you can choice what form of consumption fit you best- powdered or liquid form? Maybe with all this hype, you’ve decided its time to give the greens a go. So, here’s why I think you should definitely hope on board…….
The Benefits of Green Food
The luscious green colour comes from a green photosynthetic pigment called chlorophyll, also referred as the life blood of the plant. Some of chlorophyll’s benefits are through liver support, aiding in detoxification. And, magnesium just so happens to be at the center of the chlorophyll molecule, making green vegetables a great source of magnesium. Be sure to choose locally grown, organic greens- these tend to have a higher source of magnesium because of the rich soil that they’re grown in.
Due to the over processing of food and the lack of leafy green consumption, this mineral is largely missing in a standard diet-this may be a contributing factor in the majority heart disease cases. Magnesium is also important to our muscles, especially the older ticker, our heart. Because magnesium acts as a muscle relaxer, it can help in the prevention of arterial spasms.
Iron deficiency is fairly common in our western culture and there are many reasons why this can be happening. A couple contributors are……..one, a lack of it in our diet, especially if processed foods make up the majority of it. Number two, any underlying digestive issues-this can reduce iron absorption. Lastly, blood loss-through menstruation or through issues along the GI tract, such as peptic ulcers, IBD ( Inflammatory bowel disease), polyps and hemorrhoids.
Some of the familiar symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue or lack of energy, hair loss and Tachycardia (an abnormal electrical response in the heart). In order to ensure that we are getting enough iron we don’t always need to turn to a steak because leafy greens can pack a good portion of our daily intake. Although certain greens contain vitamin C, it’s a good idea to include others foods that contain Vitamin C to improve iron’s absorption. You might think this seems like a daunting task but you might already be doing this without even knowing it….have you ever added peppers, strawberries, avocados, cucumbers or lemon juice to your green salad? 😉
We don’t hear as much as we should with this vitamin. It is equally important in our diets because of its blood clotting ability. Vitamin K is also an important nutrient in combination with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D. This team of nutrients are important in the integrity of the skeletal system.
Green vegetables are known as the power house of nutrients and are at the top of the list of the most nutritious vegetables. Thankfully, we will soon be entering into a season with copious amounts of these powerhouse vegetables. Here is a recipe that is packed with greens. You can enjoy it as a meal anytime of day (maybe not for breakfast though 😉 ) or it can be brought to share at your next potluck.
The Glorious Green Salad Bowl
10 oz baby spinach
2 stalks kale, lacinato or curly kale, chopped super fine
1-2 mini cucumbers or half a large cucumber, sliced into small chunks
1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces
2 green onions, chopped
Handful of parsley, chopped finely
3 Tbsp hemp hearts
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast, optional
Other optional add-ins for more colour and nutrients…..
-Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Avocado, Peppers or any other vegetable you fancy 🙂
¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on taste, crushed
Sea salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
Because kale is a tougher leafy green, I suggest removing the stem and then chopping the leaves into thin shreds so that it blends well into the salad. I’ve incorporated nutritional yeast into this recipe because it adds a “cheesy” flavour along with added nutrients like protein and B12. If you don’t have it on hand, this salad still tastes great!
Wash and spin your leafy greens, then pat dry. For the kale, you want to remove the leaf from the stem. Hold the stem with one hand and grab the leaves at the base of the stem with the other hand and pull up so that the leaf separates from the stem. Once you have removed the stems, take the leaves and roll or bunch them up as much as you can and slice the bunch into thin strips. Add chopped cucumber, celery and parsley. Top with hemp hearts and nutritional yeast, if using.
For the dressing:
Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar together and pour into a bottle that can be shaken and stored for later. Add crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Place cap on bottle and shake until well combined.
Pour desired amount onto salad and toss. Once the dressing has been added, this salad should be eaten within 1-2 hours.
I hope you enjoy this nutritious and delicious salad as much as my family does. Spread the health and share it!