Leafy Greens 101

Benefits-of-leafy-greens

Looking for better nutrition, higher energy levels and glowing skin?
Say hello to the family of leafy greens – your new best friends!

Did you know that dark leafy greens are among the healthiest foods you can eat? They come fully packed with nutrition and provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to fuel your body. Leafy greens are rich in chlorophyll, which has an alkalizing effect on the body, and the high fiber content absorbs toxins from the colon to help detoxify your body.

If you don’t like eating a big salad with greens every day, putting them in your smoothie mixed with berries and fruit will make life much easier. Have a look for green smoothie recipes in our recipe section.

If you are new to green smoothies, it’s best to choose greens with a mild flavour such as spinach, kale or romaine to start with. The flavour of these greens will easily get disguised by fruit and berries and you won’t taste them much at all.

Even if you love spinach and use it often – remember that it is important to rotate your greens. Use greens from different families below, this will provide you with a broad spectrum of nutrients and keep you healthy.

“Oh how your body will thank you for making friends with leafy greens.”


Amaranthaceae

Swiss-chardSwiss chard
Swiss chard belongs to the beet family and is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin-A that promotes healthy vision and many different anti-oxidants that protects us from various diseases. It contains lutein and many B-vitamins that help balance hormones and it is rich in many minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorus.

SpinachSpinach
Spinach is a wonderfully tender and crisp leafy green vegetable and a favourite amongst green smoothie-lovers. It’s a powerhouse of important nutrients, antioxidants, healthy fatty acids and phytochemicals. It’s cancer fighting, bone strengthening, detoxifying, reduces inflammation and helps balance hormones, just to name a few of the benefits.

Beet-greensBeet greens
Next time you prepare beets for dinner, don’t throw away the green tops! These are edible and a perfect addition to green smoothies for it’s nutritional profile. Like most leafy greens they are a rich source of vitamin A and K and thus helps to boost your immune system and prevents from osteoporosis.

 


Cruciferous

KaleKale
Kale is frequently used as an ingredient in green smoothies and is a very versatile and nutritious green leafy vegetable. Kale offers a high source of vitamin A, which is needed for healthy mucous membranes and good vision. It’s also a great source for vitamin K which protects us from osteoporosis. Further, kale is very rich in vitamin C and iron, a true superfood!


Broccoli-greens
Broccoli
Fresh broccoli heads are an excellent source of folates, important for women during pre-conception and pregnancy. Another fantastic benefit of broccoli is that it contains a chemical called sulforaphane that kills helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for most peptic ulcers and gastric cancers. It is also a good source of various minerals.

CabbageCabbage
Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of the natural antioxidant, vitamin C. Cabbage provides about 61% of RDA of vitamin C per 100 g. Cabbage contains a lot of fiber and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Cabbage also contains glutamine which is an amino acid that strengthens the intestinal walls and can help regulate IBS and intestinal dysbiosis.

Collard-greensCollard greens
Collard is a type of cabbage with flat growing leaves. It’s anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties makes it good for boosting the immune system and fighting off infections. It’s high in various minerals, vitamin A and K. Collard greens, like broccoli, contain a substance called sulforaphane which is effective against testicular and breast cancers. Brevents osteoporosis.

Arugula-mustard-greensMustard greens/arugula
Regular consumption of mustard greens in the diet is known to prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, iron deficiency (anemia) and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases, asthma and colon and prostate cancers. The flavour is peppery and a great addition to salads.

 

Bok-choiBok choi
Bok choi is a very popular green vegetable in Asian countries. It’s packed with vitamin C, just 100 g of raw bok choi provides you with 75% of your RDA. It also contains a lot of minerals, calcium in particular. It’s full of disease fighting plant chemicals that work as anti-oxidants in the body. Bok choi is very low in calories but high in fiber.


Apiaceae

CilantroCilantro
Cilantro, or coriander, not only has a fantastic flavour, it’s highly nutritious too. Cilantro is most often cited as being effective for toxic metal cleansing and rightfully so, this herb is a powerful, natural cleansing agent. The chemical compounds in cilantro bind to toxic metals and loosen them from the tissue.

 

Carrot-topsCarrot tops
The green tops of carrots are nutritious and high in protein. They are packed with chlorophyll, a phytochemical that gives plants their green colour and pigmentation. Chlorophyll is a great source of magnesium, which promotes healthy blood pressure as well as strong bones and muscles, and has been noted to purify the blood, lymph nodes and adrenal glands.

CeleryCelery
Celery is the number one leafy green when it comes to phytonutrients, making it ideal to prevent diseases such as cancer, inflammation and heart disease. Phytonutrients are plant chemicals that help the plant fight off germs, fungi, bugs and other threats from the plant. When we consume phytochemicals they help us to fight off diseases too.

ParlseyParsley
Parsley is extremely rich in vitamin K; providing 1640 µg or 1366% of the recommended daily intake from just 100 g of herb. Vitamin K prevents osteoporosis making it a very important food to include in our diet. It has also established a role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

 

Astaraceae

Dandelion-greensDandelion
Dandelion greens are a nutrient dense, bitter greens. They can indeed be used in green smoothies but you need to add citrus in order to balance the bitterness.
You can also sauté them in coconut oil, which helps the body absorb nutrients from the plant. Dandelion greens are very rich in calcium making them ideal for smoothies for pregnant women.

Romaine-lettuceRomaine
Romaine lettuce is high in protein, close to 17% making ideal to add to smoothies. It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and other important minerals. Romaine lettuce has a mild flavour and is low in oxalate acids making it an ideal leafy green for smoothies and to rotate with.

 

Urticaceae

NettleNettle
Nettle is a favourite wild leafy green in our kitchen. It contains almost all nutrients needed by humans and is especially rich in calcium and iron. Nettles are a wonderful addition to the diet for pregnant and nursing women and is a tasty addition to smoothies as well. Nettles are often used to treat hayfever and other allergy symptoms. It’s anti-inflammatory, diuretic and strengthens the blood vessels. Dried nettles can also be drunk as a tea or an infusion. If you want to add them to smoothies, put them in water and bring to the boil first, then add them to the blender. This removes the stinginess.

 

 

 

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