Greens have been consumed for millennia in a myriad of varieties throughout the world. The use of leafy greens in South Africa dates back as long ago as 120,000 years! For thousands of years they’ve been collected from the wild and have long been eaten for their nutritional and medicinal power. Ancient cultures such as the early Romans are believed to have included leafy greens in their diet for detoxifying and aphrodisiac effects. Today our consumption of greens carries on a long tradition from around the globe celebrating these true superfoods.
Green leafy vegetables, particularly the darker greens – romaine lettuce being more nutritious, for example, than iceberg lettuce – contain all the essential amino acids required to create protein, which rebuilds body cells and improves muscle strength. Vegetarians and vegans who incorporate lots of greens as part of their exercise routines are as fit and muscular as those who rely on protein drinks.
Dark greens such as Boston lettuce, spinach, chard, beet greens, kale, cabbage, collards and sorrel contain different minerals, so it’s important to rotate the greens you eat. Asian greens include Bok-Choy, watercress and Chinese broccoli.
Leafy greens are high in vitamins B, C, E and K. B vitamins help to convert food into energy, as well as preventing birth defects, stimulating healthy blood cells and lowering the risk of depression. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, supports healthy skin by scavenging free radicals, promoting fertility in men and women, regulating blood sugar and lowering blood pressure. Vitamin E defends cell membranes from harmful free radicals and reduces the risk of disease. Vitamin K assists in preventing osteoporosis, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and blood clots.
Many minerals essential to a healthy life are also present in leafy greens, including calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. By regularly consuming calcium from natural, fresh sources, the body replaces calcium otherwise lost. Iron is necessary to red blood cell production, protects against cancer, encourages good sleep and helps develop immunity from infection and disease. Magnesium promotes healthy cells, defends against heart disease and is critical in the conduction of nerve impulses. Potassium removes sodium and wastes from the body, assisting in maintaining blood pressure, lowering hypertension and sustaining a healthy heart.
Green Juice & Smoothie Recipes
Sweet Green Juice
6 Carrots – peel only 1/2 the surface – the peel is nutrient rich but bitter!
3 leaves Chard – all greens are full of nutrients but very bitter! Some people develop a taste for juiced greens without any sweet tasting veggie or fruit!
1/8 teaspoon Spirulina – this is one of the very few non-meat foods with high concentrations of B12 and protein – a great juice ingredient for vegetarians!
1 leaf Kale
Several leaves fresh Parsley and Watercress
1 thumb fresh Ginger – peel and all!
More delicious and powerful recipes can be found in Juicing & Smoothie Recipes That Heal! available here in the box on the right and for Kindle, Nook and iPad users at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.