The benefits of eating spinach and kale and other greens start with the liver, immune system, gut, and more…Spring is the ideal time to introduce these power-packed vegetables to your diet; it’s nature’s time of rebirth, and the greens that grow now are designed to rejuvenate and cleanse your body after the winter season of slowing down and eating warmer, heavier foods.The list of beneficial properties offered by greens is long and includes:
promoting healthy gut flora
improving liver function
strengthening the immune system
Greens provide a whole host of valuable nutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. Chlorophyll (found in all green vegetables) is a powerful blood builder akin to liquid oxygen!
If you need to increase your calcium intake, leafy greens beats milk because it doesn’t put the body into an acidic state the way dairy does. Here are some greens with significant amounts of calcium:
cooked beet greens
Try a variety of methods such as steaming, boiling, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, waterless cooking or lightly pickling, as in a pressed salad.
Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Boil for less than a minute so the nutrients in the greens don’t get lost in the water. If you’re using organic greens, drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea!
Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great if you’re trying to lose weight. Raw salad is also a wonderful preparation for greens. It’s refreshing, cooling, and supplies live enzymes.
Get into the habit of adding leafy green veggies to your daily diet, and notice what happens to your energy levels, your complexion, and your waistline.
If you have some garden space, why not try growing your own?
What Does the Gut Have to Do with It?
Along with the garden in your backyard, there’s also a “garden” in your gut, and it’s comprised of a complex network of trillions of microorganisms that work together to help you maintain vibrant health and achieve permanent weight loss. This is because of their influence on metabolism, appetite regulation, energy expenditure, endocrine regulation, inflammation, and insulin resistance. In fact, the influence is so strong that studies show that imbalanced gut flora contributes to obesity.
To prime your gut to work with nature and help reboot your system—and replenish your microflora, load up on leafy greens. An exciting discovery out of Australia suggests that due to an unusual sugar molecule found in them (sugar sulfoquinovose, or SQ), leafy greens are essential for feeding good gut bacteria. SQ evidently limits the ability of bad bacteria to colonize the gut by shutting them out of the prime “real estate.”
Your Healthiest Option
As always, I recommend you purchase ORGANIC fruit and vegetables as they are better for your health (and the health of the environment)! If it’s not in your budget to do this, consult theEnvironmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and prioritize buying organic for these fruits and veggies—they are the ones sprayed with the highest amount of pesticides.
To your good health,
Karen Malkin is among the first National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches in our country. Karen is the founder of MCT Lean, a plant based, dietary supplement company. She serves on the Philanthropic Council for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine and as a board of director for the Environmental Working Group. Some of Karen’s specialty areas include her 14 Day Transformation series, emotional eating, weight loss, the science of nutrition, high energy superfoods, smoothies, supplementation, managing cravings, and healthy lifestyle makeovers. Learn more: www.karenmalkin.com
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