We all know vegetables are good for us, but most people still don’t eat the recommended 10 a day. One of the first things I do with most of my clients, is to increase their intake of green leafy vegetables – which have incredible health benefits.
- Green leafy vegetables are an abundant source of nutrients. They are a primary dietary source of nitrates which help support healthy blood pressure and eye health.
- Kale is available all year round and is high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients. It contains glucosinolates, which have well documented cancer protective properties and support the detoxification process.
- Cabbage, like kale, is a cruciferous vegetable with enormous health benefits. It’s also high in cancer protective glucosinolates and a number of studies link cabbage intake to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also a surprising gut tonic – as it contains a variety of nutrients beneficial to the stomach and intestinal tract. In fact, its well documented that cabbage juice can help to heal stomach ulcers.
- Spinach is an amazing source of nourishment. It’s high in minerals such as magnesium and iron, and B vitamins too which are essential for things like stress, fertility and energy. It’s also high in fat soluble vitamins A, E and K, so it’s best to consume it with some fat to help with absorption of these nutrients.
Other green vegetables to include are rocket, watercress, bok choy and swiss chard.
The great thing about these vegetables is that they are very easy to incorporate into your meals.
Here are 5 tips to increase your intake:
- Add a large handful to the pot while you are cooking – they are great to add into soups and stews, but also breakfast eggs and mushrooms.
- Balance your plate: pile half of the plate with green vegetables. This includes breakfast – as the most important meal of the day – why should it be vegetable free?
- Add a handful of rocket, spinach, watercress, kale as the base of a side salad. Aim to have a raw salad to accompany each meal.
- Use herbs such as parsley and coriander in abundance. Add large handfuls to your food and to smoothies.
- Try a green smoothie! Kale, spinach, chard, beet leaves, parsley, are all great additions to green it up! Check out my blog on how to make the perfect smoothie here.
Here is a green smoothie recipe to get you started:
2 inch chunk of cucumber
2 tbsp fresh parsley
Large handful of greens (spinach/kale/chard)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
small glass of coconut water
1 orange or satsuma
2 ice cubes
1/2 inch chunk of fresh turmeric (optional)
Add all ingredients to a good blender and blitz! Drink immediately.
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