Eat Some Green Leafy Vegetables This Summer!
I hope everyone is enjoying time with their friends and family as we are officially in Summer! This is the perfect time to eat clean and green. There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables in the Summer Season. Even though green leafy vegetables’ peak growth is in the Fall into the Winter, you can still find a variety of fresh green leafy vegetables at your local market. But, remember that frozen vegetables are a great substitute. We encourage you to choose organic produce whenever possible because the nutrient content is higher, and it's better for humans and the environment.
Why are dark green leafy vegetables important for our health?
Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, kale, collards, spinach and mustard greens are great sources of nutrition, rich in vitamins A, C, E & K, and rich in B-vitamins. Green leafy vegetables have an abundance of “carotenoids which are antioxidants that protect cells from inflammation and can block early stages of cancer.” Green vegetables contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber acts like a broom within the intestines and colon by removing waste products. Soluble fiber absorbs toxins, excess estrogen, excess cholesterol, and removes them out of our body in the form of solid waste (bowel movements). Soluble fibers are the food for the good bacteria that lives in your large intestines aka colon, the more fiber the healthier your immune system. Eating a high fiber diet can also cause us to feel full and eat less.
Green Leafy Vegetables are packed with everything your body needs to prevent disease, and promote & maintain good health. Some of the largest land animals such as elephants, cows, hippopotamuses, gorillas, zebras, and horses are herbivores, and in their natural habitat eat a diet consisting of over 90% leafy greens vegetables.
Green Leafy Vegetable Benefits:
● High in folate, a B vitamin that prevents certain birth defects, and promotes heart health.
● “Folate is also necessary for DNA duplication and repair which protects against the development of cancers. Folate lowers the occurrence of precancerous colon polyps by 30-40%. Folate decreases the risk of cancer of the breast, cervix and lung.”
● The vitamin K contents of dark green leafy vegetables provide a number of health benefits including: protecting bones from osteoporosis and helping to prevent inflammatory diseases. Consuming adequate levels of green leafy vegetables provide the body with adequate levels of vitamin K to ensure that the blood will adequately clot, helping to prevent bleeding from cuts or
other injuries. ( Consult your doctor before increasing leafy green vegetable intake if on a prescription blood thinner, it could interfere with this medicine).
● High in vitamin C, one cup of raw greens can provide 14% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. This vitamin helps fight infections and viruses.
● High in fiber as mentioned earlier: When we ingest foods high in fiber, it helps to maintain a healthy colon by removing waste products from the foods we eat and toxins released from the liver into the colon.
● Green Leafy Vegetables contain compounds that the body uses to produce nitric oxide which has been shown to relax the inner muscles of blood vessels(vasodilator), which increases blood flow, thereby lowering your blood pressure, increasing circulation and reducing male and female erectile dysfunction.
● Lowers Blood Sugar: The fiber in green leafy vegetables slows down the breakdown and absorption of sugar in foods.
How to Get More Green Leafy Vegetables into your Diet?
We recommend that our clients consume as much as 10 cups of green leafy vegetables a day. Most feel that this is difficult to do, but now let me share with you the strategy that has worked for thousands of clients and ourselves:
First, drink a green smoothie daily and add in 3 - 4 cups of green leafy vegetables. One of my favorite greens is spinach, especially for people new to drinking and making green smoothies at home. Spinach flavor is pretty neutral, meaning that it doesn't have much of a taste by itself, so it won't impact the taste of the smoothie. It will not taste like you are drinking greens! As you get more comfortable with greens in your smoothie, slowly mix in kale and collard greens - my favorites.
Second, eat two salads that have at least 2-3 cups of greens at each meal. Or, consume one big salad meal.
Third, eat 1-2 cups of steamed vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, and callaloo. This strategy gets you really close to 10 cups per day. And even if you eat, let’s say, 5 cups per day, you will be rewarded with the above mentioned benefits leading to better health & vitality.
Quinnie is also available for private consultations to support your journey to healing emotionally, physically and Spiritually.
Stay Healthy and Well for Life!
Qunnie D Cook
National Institute of Health,