Green Veggies For Your Immunity, Blood, Bones And More!
No matter who you are, if you come to me for health coaching, I will probably tell you to eat more greens. Eating more – lots more – greens is one of the things that’s made the most noticeable improvement in my own health, and I want to share some ways they can benefit you, too.
A few years ago, I was stretching in a dance class, and I got a terrible foot cramp. If you’ve ever pointed your toe as much as you possibly can, and then found it stuck in that position because of a cramp, you know exactly what I mean! I’ve had this type of cramp in my calves before, too. They’re awful! My dance teacher then said something that has come to my mind again and again. “If you would eat your dark green leafy veggies, you wouldn’t get those cramps.”
Here’s the thing: if you eat a few leaves of spinach in your salad a couple of times a week, or a couple of bites of broccoli show up in your soup, that’s not enough! When I started to listen to Dr. Terry Wahls (whose You Tube video now has a warning label on it, likely because she has become too intimidating for some, with her radical ideas and all), I realized that I needed a lot more green veggies in my diet, and I needed to eat them without fail, every day. I needed to LOVE dark green leafy vegetables – but could I do that?
I was so convinced that I should really give it a try that I began to eat greens every day out of sheer discipline, inspired by the potential results. But then, a funny thing happened. I really started to enjoy greens! I have a green smoothie nearly every day. I put greens in salads, soups, casseroles, eggs, juice, and just about everything. In some traditions, green foods are associated with renewal and spring, which makes sense. I felt so great after learning to eat more greens that I actually craved them. And, I have not had a “charlie horse” in a very long time (probably a result of the calcium and magnesium).
Greens are powerful allies in our fight for great health. They have all sorts of minerals, such as calcium (for bone health), magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc, and vitamins like A,C,E, and K. They are full of fiber, which is great for helping to keep blood sugar stable and intestines in good form. Greens also contain chlorophyll (what gives them that wonderful color), folic acid, micro-nutrients and other things we’ve barely even discovered. They have been credited with better circulation, improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function, stronger immune health, blood purification, cancer prevention, mucous reduction – and the list goes on!
One caution about eating these wonder foods: don’t get stuck in a rut. Greens have what is known as “anti-nutrients,” such as oxalic acid, which hinders absorption of calcium. Beet greens and spinach are high in oxalic acid. However, lightly steaming or cooking makes that problem go away. That does not mean you should never eat raw greens, but that you should, in my opinion, alternate between raw and cooked greens, and rotate the varieties in your diet. There are so many from which to choose that you’ll never have to eat too much of the same one.
Think of all the options available to you! Lettuces alone are full of variety. Then there are spinach, Swiss Chard and beet greens, collards and mustards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, watercress, dandelion, and cabbage. And yes, there are more still! Then there are sprouts and micro-greens, which are surely superfoods. What’s your pleasure? Find out and eat up!