Green Me Up Scotty!
Hi There Everyone!
In my nutrition practice, I never have a set agenda with my clients. I truly believe that each of us has different dietary needs and that there is no one perfect diet for everyone. There is only one thing I really try to work on with people if they are not already on the job and that is increasing their vegetable intake. In particular, their dark leafy green intake (if they have thyroid issues we have to be creative due to the goitrogens or if someone is taking Coumadin they need to be careful as well). Why do I push greens? Only because I want us all to be turbo-charged and energized! Some examples of dark leafy greens are swiss chard, collards, spinach, kale, arugula , romaine lettuce, chicory, and leaf lettuce (green and red).
Greens are packed with so many nutrients that it’s worth taking a minute to talk about.
Here are just some of the powers that dark leafy greens have and give to us:
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps the body make collagen which helps in keeping your joints flexible, keeps your hair and skin gorgeous and may slow down bone loss and reduce your risk of bone fractures.
- Vitamin E
Works with Vitamin C to keep your skin healthy as you get older. Vitamin E also helps protect skin from sun damage and may help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Like Vitamin E, Beta-carotene may protect your skin from sun damage. It is converted to Vitamin A in the body which is good for our eyes. Beta-carotene like other carotenoids helps with the growth and repair of the body tissues.
We all know that calcium is important in nourishing and protecting our bones which reduces our risk for osteoporosis, it also is important for muscle function (including our heart) and keeping our blood pressure at a normal range.
This mineral also reduces our risk for osteoporosis and helps keep our blood pressure at a normal range.
A B-vitamin that may help reduce heart disease, elevate our mood and enhance memory function. There are also studies done that suggest it decreases the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Fiber reduces the chance of developing colorectal cancer, can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Fiber also works as an internal cleanser for our intestines and is helps regulate blood sugar. Since fiber helps us feel full for longer it also helps with weight loss efforts.
Not a greens lover? Don’t worry you still have time to convert!
Here are some easy ways to get more of these power foods into your daily diet by adding a handful or two into the following:
- burrito or quesadilla
- sandwiches or wraps
I like to keep baby spinach on hand and just a wash a handful or so at a time and add to rice, noodles, eggs, to get a speedy green delivery.
Kale chips are a great way to get kids to be open to trying kale (and adults who would normally snub it).
Here is a simple recipe for kale recipe that rocks:
1 bunch of organic kale (Curly kale seems to work best for chips)- washed, dried thoroughly, chopped in medium sized pieces
olive oil (1 tbsp)
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 350, and place chopped kale on cookie sheet. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle pinch of sea salt onto kale. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes until crisp but not burned!
For extra flavor and nutrients add some sesame seeds or nutritional yeast as a topping.
More next week, until then have fun!