Not many foods can compare to the high nutritional value of leafy greens. Researchers are finding that eating your greens may be even more important than previously imagined. In putting together this article I found lots of quotes that stated “it was common for our ancient ancestors to eat up to six pounds of leaves per day”. Recent research shows that a gene that is essential for producing critical immune cells in your gut, responds to the food you eat—specifically leafy green vegetables. So eat your greens!
We now know that these greens are packed with an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds. Researchers also believe that these vegetables play an important role in controlling food allergies, inflammatory diseases and obesity, and may even prevent the development of bowel cancers (see Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for more on that).
Here’s a nutritional breakdown of the top readily available leafy greens:
Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
High in Calcium (for a vegetable)
Also supplies Folate and Potassium
Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
Good source of Folate, Manganese, and Calcium
Cancer preventatvive glucosinolates (glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin)
Similar in nutrition to Kale but more chewy with a stronger taste
Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
Good source of Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Iron and Vitamin E
At least 13 different Polyphenol Antioxidants, including Kaempferol and Syringic Acid
Unique source of Phytonutrients called Betalains (provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support)
Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
Good source of Folate, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6
Bitter taste linked to high Calcium (4x more than cabbage, 2x more than mustard greens)
High glucosinolate content (phytonutrients with cancer-preventing properties)
Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
Good source of Manganese, Folate, Iron, Vitamins C, B2, B6 and E
Showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.
Glycoglycerolipids help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage — especially damage related to unwanted inflammation.
Excellent source of vitamins A, C, E and K
Good source of Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Zinc, Vitamins B6
Valuable source of Lutein/Zeaxanthin (good for eye health)
Excellent source of vitamin K. Vitamin K has a potential role in the bone metabolism where it thought to increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity inside the bone cells. It also has established role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
Fresh leaves contain good amounts folates and vitamin C. Folates are part of co-factors in the enzyme metabolism required for DNA synthesis and therefore, play a vital role in prevention of the neural tube defects in the baby (fetus) during pregnancy.
Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant; regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
So don’t over look the humble lettuce it’s my favorite green to have in the fridge . . .
How to Choose Leafy Greens
When choosing your greens, you should always look for leaves that are crisp. You want to hear a slight snap when you crack the stems. If they are wilted, soggy, or slimy, keep looking! Ideally, they have been stored in a cool place but watch out for greens stored in ice and the leaves will burn. Greens are loaded with water. Ice can crystallize the water and the greens may end up mushy by the time you get them home.
The leaves should smell fresh and, well, really green!
Colour is also important. If you have a choice, pick the darkest leaves. Don’t worry about a few brown spots, that’s perfectly normal, especially at the farmers markets. However, if the edges are consistently brown throughout all the leaves they are not good. Last but not least, is smell. The leaves should smell fresh and, well, really green!
NOTE: Non-organic greens can be very high in pesticides. This is one of those items that are definitely worth buying organic. It is to buy from a local grower when possible. Make sure your growers are practicing sustainable farming practices and not using heavy chemical pesticides and herbicides. If you can’t buy from a local farm or farmers market, then make sure to choose organically-certified greens at the grocery store. There’s no skimping on greens they should always be organic where possible.
Eat your greens! Add them to each meal in smoothies, juices, salads, use as wraps and serve with dips.
I do not suggest cooking greens . . . if they are not sweet enough to eat raw, then do not eat them at all. Once you cook leaves you loose the nutrients of them and the healing properties they hold.
https://nourishtohealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/images.jpeg171295Hannah Mileshttps://nourishtohealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-nth-watercolour-banner-logo-tagline-social-media-300x114.jpgHannah Miles2017-01-26 17:11:012018-01-29 08:15:06Why Leafy Greens are so good for you and the Nutritional breakdown.
Carbohydrates are an essential building blocks for health and healing but getting the right ones is the key. The key is choosing them wisely, and timing them properly. Used optimally, carbs can enhance your fitness regimen. Settle your hormones and promote sleep or derail it all and cause sickness and disease.
Since I was 16 I’ve heard all the “rules’ about carbs, I remember my old hairdressing clients when I was 18 on the Atkins Diet which was strictly no carbs and the no carbs after 5pm . . . you have seen them all right? But are you confused as I was?
Well I went on a research rampage over the last few years and through my nutrition training this is my take and personal experience with carbohydrates.
From being a vegetarian fruit, vegetable, grain and whole food eater. I went on the ‘low-carb’ bandwagon and I even tried Ketosis (extremely high fat, high protein and very low too NO carbs) and it was the sickest I’ve ever been although I was sick before, but it made me much worst. It has a great effect on obesity as you can loose weight dramatically but not correctly, or on very sick epileptic children who need a high fat diet for the brain to cope . . . being ‘low carb’ can work for some and can be stepping stone to get you where you need to go in short time but it is my belief and through my research that a prolonged time of ‘low-carb’ is not good for the brained can do more harm. I have seen when people cut out all fruit and go low carb the body can not cope and goes into shut down mode, the more I was trying to clear by body and loose weight the worst I got as it was starved of all glucose which is essential for the brain to function for the glands to produce a healthy balance of hormones and for my body to thrive. The Paleo way of eating is still ‘low-carb’ as is the Gaps Diet which promote real foods and healthy living so again can be a stepping stone in your healing journey, so this information below can still be used in conjunction to that way of eating. I still stand by my body feeling so much better without soy, grains, legumes and sugar but it did not go so well with the much needed simple healthy carbohydrate.
So now I eat an abundance of healthy simple carbohydrates in the form of fruit and vegetables each day, at each meal and I have not gained any weight and I’m slowly building the much needed muscles I lost through my Adrenal Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, as simple carbohydrates release energy slowly in to the cells I have energy! Yay to that fellow Chronic Fatigue suffers- you can have it too. I can now exercise without crashing back to bed for days and my hormones are balanced. This has taken a year of trailing how much carbs my individual body needs and slowly slowly introducing the right type of exercise for my body and it’s needs-blocking out the latest fads in exercise and ways of eating and listening to my body and what it needs each day- not comparing my body to any one else body and loving the ride.
So let’s break this information down . . . when you work out, have a busy life you need energy or in my case having Fibromyalgia meant each night as I slept my body switch on the muscles like I was running a marathon; thus waking me up with exhaustion and achy muscles. This is because the muscle needs an energy source or they will start breaking down the muscle for energy. If your food source is low in natural glucose and fructose from fruits the body can not sustain energy and then that effects your endocrine system and your whole body. In others words your body is starving or thinks it’s in starvation/famine so it eat’s the muscles and keeps the fat . . . oh gosh the opposite of what we want huh? By feeding your cells and brain with good healthy complex carbohydrates the body uses what it needs and you get energy stored in a healthy way.
So what’s the good carbs and the bad carbs?
All “Complex Carbohydrates” are nutrients that break down into glucose, your body’s primary source of energy and essential for the brain, and most foods contain them. Fruits and Vegetables!
But not all carbs are created equal and we know not all calories are created equally. Sugars that are added to foods, baked goods, pastas, cakes, crackers, muffins and refined grains (even gluten free products) such as white rice are broken down quickly by your body as these are a simple chains of 2 sugar molecules “Simple Carbohydrates”. That means they provide almost-instant energy, but it doesn’t last and spikes insulin to be released which then has to be stored outside the cells and this kind of sugar can not be used within the cells, the body then sends in hormones to cope and candida to mop up the excess sugar. This unbalances the bacteria and the whole body goes out of balance this is the onset of diabetes and fatigue, all while not fuelling the cells and feeding the brain so you crave more sugar and you are on a roller coaster of energy and emotions. When you eat a complex carbohydrate (fruit or vegetables) in a whole food state that fruit or vegetable is a complete package of fibre, minerals, fructose that can be converted to glucose-remember the brains food. FRUIT DOES NOT SPIKE INSULIN. Other carbs, such as those found in whole grains, vegetables and legumes, take longer to digest, so you get a steadier supply of energy but that can come at a price if you are not combining them properly or our body is backed up with waste.
Simple carbohydrate rich foods like bread can be very high in calories. But many foods that contain complex carbs, such as fruits and vegetables, are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals so you can eat them in abundance without gaining weight. Others fall somewhere in between: Whole grains contain a lot of nutrients and calories, while white bread has no nutrients and still a lot of calories. Neither are good options for digestion and brain health and especially Autism or behavioural issues.
What does this mean? Remove simple carbs like added refined sugar and refined grains like breads, biscuits, cookies, pastas, pastries, sweets, lollies and crackers (even gluten free) and consider all other healthy none processed carbohydrates to be a productive food to fuel your body and can be eaten in abundance like all fruit and vegetables.
What carbs when?
“Complex Carbohydrates” or “Natural sugars” are essential for the brain and if they are lacking in the body the gut can not produce the hormones it needs for proper function i.e. Serotonin and Gaba. So by increasing your healthy none processed carbs you slowly over time balance your energy, brain function and hormones. Loosing symptoms like brain fog, low energy, skin conditions and low mood and low libido. But don’t be fooled to thinking refined sugars “Simple Carbohydrates” will do this as they will cause the symptoms I have just listed . . . so NO lollies, sweets, chocolates and biscuits and trying to justify it’s good energy for the body, you know it’s not even in moderation!
Eating your fruit in the morning to wake up your digestion and allow your body to exercise or work hard is important. If you eat breakfast of fats and proteins your body will have to work hard to convert that into glucose for the brain. Unless you plan to rest for 1-3 hours after each meal, this will not digest and you will then be adding more food on top throughout the day and feel tired and have brain fog. By eating fruit as your first meal to break your fast (sleep) this is easily digestable food and the body will not need to use as much energy to digest it and that energy will go to you for your work or exercise. Then lunch could be a light meal as well like a salad or fruit without fats or proteins so you fuel your brain without loading your body with heavy to digest foods. Dinner can be a light steamed cooked meal with fats if you wish for that as you have 12-18 hours after say dinner at 7pm to digest it. You can of course continue with a light meal of fruit or a salad to aid digestion further and give your body chance to heal. Remember no fruit after proteins, fats and starches!
Team this information up with learning about fruit and how it can heal your body and give you sustained energy and feed your brain; The truth about fruit . . .
So in conclusion Carbohydrates are a great essential food for your brain and cells but you must choose nature offerings not man kinds to get these benefits.
https://nourishtohealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/images-4-1.jpeg166300Hannah Mileshttps://nourishtohealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-nth-watercolour-banner-logo-tagline-social-media-300x114.jpgHannah Miles2016-01-26 19:17:452018-01-29 08:53:26Carbs carbs carbs . . . good, bad and how many is right for you?
This may seem very far off for you to imagine, or you might be ready to add more greens in to their current juices that they drink now. Either way be mindful that green juice is something that takes more caution when giving it to children. Because greens are very nutrient rich and a potent detoxifier, our bodies naturally begin detoxifying a bit quicker with greens then other juices. Not that this is bad and when you are trying to heal Autism this is essential, but it can make you/them feel ill if you do it too fast. If you feel that your child needs to detoxify, their bodies will naturally do it through a good diet full of fruit, herbs and vegetables combined with fresh green juices and or green smoothies over time and a chemical free happy environment. But start slowly and build up so they are used to the taste and their bodies get used to detoxify anything that needs to come out. With my boys we started with carrot, cucumber and celery juice and built up to removing all root vegetables and now they have a few different greens like spinach kale, celery, lettuce and cucumber with lemon, and sometimes ginger and turmeric . they have this most mornings before their breakfast. In the afternoon they might have a beetroot or carrot juice but we personally don’t add fruit as they find it sweet enough and I like them to eat their fruit on its own with out mixing with vegetables, this helps their bodies digest it better. As with my smoothie post go slowly and build them up.
The difference between a smoothie and a juice, is when you make smoothies they contain fiber which means you can only eat a certain amount at each meal before feeling full (we need the fiber so keep making them!) That is the reason I do not suggest fruit juice as it doesn’t have any finer in it. Even cold pressed organic fruit juice.
But with juicing you can include a large amount of greens that you normally would not be able to fit in to your body in one go. A juice is a large amount of vegetables and it’s a nutrient dense shoot of goodness for the gut and each and every cell! Would your child sit down to a large green salad? Maybe not but a green juice sweetened with some apple might go down well.
Here are a few suggestions that taste yummy and mask the bitter flavour some greens can have.
I recommend starting with fruit and wining them off fruit till it is just vegetables as fruit spikes the blood sugar level and causes hormonal crashes. Coconut water is a better option to add with greens.
Enjoy trying them all and play with what your child likes!
Tips: I suggest finding glasses and cups that are fun and even using flowers on top to diguse the colour so they try without making assumptions. Also get the kids involved in chopping and making them it will encourage them to want to try it more.
Good luck and remember they sense your fear and emotions – if you are hesitant and scared they will not go for it. Be confident and set an example by eating well yourself. Monkey see monkey do. Kids can not buy their own food, so only stock the best at home and choose only the best when you are out. If you are suffering with self sabotage and food binging and cravings. Contact me to coach you to break free of these . . . like I did.
https://nourishtohealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/reenjuice3-preview-1.jpg249300Hannah Mileshttps://nourishtohealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-nth-watercolour-banner-logo-tagline-social-media-300x114.jpgHannah Miles2014-09-09 19:09:332018-01-29 09:15:59Getting your child to drink green juices!
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”
Nourish To Health
From Byron Bay, Australia supporting clients around the world.