Many people I consult with say they don’t have the time to make breakfast, let alone make a green. If we were asked something like ‘Which food is rich in this nutrient?’ – I could always say ‘leafy greens and green vegetables’ because they cover almost all bases. Green smoothies are certainly not a fad - their extremely high nutrient content makes them a fantastic option for people that are looking for optimum health but are time poor.
Vitamins and minerals through food
If you’re taking a multivitamin tablet daily, you might want to rethink where your money is going. It is crucial that we get our vitamins and minerals through food, because each vitamin requires enzymes, co-factors, co-enzymes, minerals and other macronutrients to be absorbed and utilised by the body. When a vitamin is chemically isolated, our body cannot do the wonderful things it could potentially do.
Nutrients from natural foods are essential; nutrients that are chemically formulated into tablets or pills by man are certainly not. I crave greens. Without them I feel sluggish, I lack vibrancy and natural energy, I lose clarity of mind and focus and I feel like I lose my spark. When I increase them, I feel like all those things come back to me almost instantly, because my body is being given the tools it needs to thrive as well as it should.
Unfortunately it is fact that we live in a toxic world. We are surrounded by chemicals in our food, personal care products, cleaning products, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Some of these things we can control, but others we can’t. Research has found that more than 200 chemicals can be found in a new-born’s umbilical cord, including BPA, petrochemicals, pesticides, lead and mercury.
Thankfully our body’s innate intelligence can assist us in eliminating some of these toxins, although many do remain within our body so it’s important that we provide it with the correct tools to support constant detoxification. One way to do this is to consume an abundance of greens. Chlorophyll, which is what makes green vegetables green, binds with toxic heavy metals stored in blood and tissue and assists their elimination, counteracting their major toxicity.
Side effects of metal toxicity may include chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases, general brain fog, depression and anxiety, to name a few.
Get greens into your diet
Some people feel that green smoothies and juices often require a sweet touch to it, usually from fruits or honey. Whilst this is fantastic, many individuals are at times unable to have too many sugars in their diet, due to bacterial overgrowths, the need for weight loss or insulin resistance.
Spirulina is one of hundreds of algae species and is commonly known as blue green algae. It is a tiny organism that usually grows in water. Spirulina does not have roots, leaves, or stems, however it does contain a pigment called chlorophyll, which is required by all plants to turn sunlight into food energy. The only difference between chlorophyll and haemoglobin (red blood cells) is that chlorophyll contains a magnesium atom while haemoglobin contains an iron atom.
Spirulina creates proteins and sugars just as animals do. It is an excellent source of plant protein, as well as being a rare food source for the essential fatty acid GLA. It is high in B12, iron which is easy to absorb, antioxidants and phytonutrients. These all help enhance immune function and slow down the aging process, while decreasing the activity of free radicals that damage body cells.
Chlorella like spirulina, is a single cell green algae and is part of plankton. Chlorella provides the highest concentration of chlorophyll known. It is also a valuable source of protein, iron, vitamin B12, betacarotene and nineteen amino acids. Chlorella is also the food substance with the highest known levels of RNA and DNA. Some researchers believe regular use of chlorella might help repair genetic material in cells by providing important building blocks. This in turn helps protect health and slows the aging process.
In some studies chlorella shows promise of helping reduce blood pressure. Fibromyalgia sufferers experienced notable benefits after using chlorella and it can also help speed wound healing. One of chlorella’s most promising benefits comes in the area of immune system function. Scientists do not know the exact mechanism by which chlorella accomplishes this but they believe chlorella boosts the activity of T-cells and macrophages resulting in an increase in interferon which helps the immune system battle bacteria and viruses.
Barley grass. We all know that multiple servings of vegetables are recommended each day but many of us fall short of that goal. Key nutrients of barley grass include chlorophyll, amino acids, carotenoids, essential fatty acids, flavonoids, vitamin K, enzymes, vitamin A, minerals, folic acid and B vitamins. All these nutrients work together to promote health and energy in all systems of the body.
Sweet leaf. A small amount of dried sweet leaf (stevia) has been added to the green powder to add some sweetness but being a herb it also has some medicinal properties. Sweet leaf is 300 times the sweetness of sugar and has a negligible effect on blood glucose. It has been reported to help with high blood pressure and hypertension and has properties to help heartburn when drunk as a tea.
Kelp has over 70 minerals, including iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, along with amino acids and enzymes. This range of nutrients, especially iodine, makes it an essential promoter of glandular health – in fact iodine is essential for the functioning of the thyroid. The thyroid gland makes a hormone that contains iodine which is required for every cell in the body to help with metabolism. Without iodine we may feel listless, tired, have dry hair and skin, lack motivation, cold hands and feet, hair loss, brain fog and anxiety. It’s an important nutrient that also helps in the architecture of our glandular tissue, including breasts, ovaries and prostate. Iodine deficiency has been linked to an increase in cysts, nodules and cancers in glandular tissues.
In 1930, iodine was seen to be lacking in the diet and was added to salt. Then by the 1970’s, salt became something that we were told not to consume due to hypertension. So it’s now believed that a large percentage of the population is not getting enough iodine.
Broccoli sprouts are an excellent source due to the extensive scientific research of the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables and their role in the prevention of chronic disease. In particular, bioactive compounds in broccoli are implicated in a number of health benefits and disease prevention. These include:
- reducing the risk of various cancers
- reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
- protection of the nervous system
- regulation of the immune system