Green has always had a special place in my life. It has been my favorite color for my entire life, something I've always been drawn to, in fact I'm wearing a green sweatshirt right now as I type. Sometimes I wasn't so drawn to greens on my plate however. Boy has that changed lately - my entire day is filled with vegetables, the majority of them being...you guessed it, the color green!
I start my day with wheatgrass, and fill the remainder of it with as many vegetables as possible. My commitment to a plant based diet has no doubt helped me with the challenge I have been facing, and learning about the benefits has placed me in a position to truly know that the nutrition I put in my body is helping me heal every day, and grow into a better person.
The videos featured in this post are just some examples of how I've incorporated vegetables, in particular greens, into my every day diet. From A(sparagus) to Z(ucchini), I make an effort to have as many greens as I can, and have found ways to make these nutritional powerhouses taste delicious. I've shared the recipes at the end of this posting, and below are some nutritional facts of vegetable I have incorporated as a part of my regimen.
Like other nonstarchy vegetables, beets are low in calories and have a high water content and a good amount of fiber, making them a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight or prevent or manage heart disease. Beets are a good source of folate, a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy hair and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and potassium, a mineral that helps lower blood pressure and preserve bone health. Beets also contain anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that may protect against arthritis and age-related memory loss. The phytochemical betacyanin is what causes the bright red color, and has been linked to fighting cancer. Beets are a great way to detoxify your body, due to beets increasing levels of glutathione.
Broccoli, like any cruciferous vegetable is essential in your diet, and helps maintaining an alkaline system. Broccoli in particular contains glucosinolate and sulforaphane, both great for battling cancer. That same sulforaphane is known to kill bacteria helicobacter pylori, a major cause of stomach cancer. Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body's detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli. This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in body's detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants.
Similar to Beets, Carrots are low in calories and have a high water content and a good amount of fiber, making them a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight or prevent or manage heart disease or type 2 diabetes. They are especially rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that may help prevent arthritis, cataracts, and macular degeneration, in addition to helping maintain healthy hair and skin. The potassium in carrots also helps lower blood pressure and preserves bone health.
Celery is a low-calorie vegetable with a high water content, making it a good addition to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. As with other juicy vegetables, the water in celery hydrates your body and helps flush out toxins, keeping your skin and other organs healthy. Celery is also a good source of quercetin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that some research suggests may help prevent arthritis and memory loss. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to raw vegetables and experience discomfort after eating them. Celery has phytochemicals called coumarin that help white blood cells identify free radicals and cancer cells, and help prevent damage.
Related to spinach and beets, Swiss chard offers fantastic antioxidant protection in the form of phytonutrients known as carotenoids. Specifically, the beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin found in chard help maintain eye health and may reduce the risk of cataracts. Further support comes when the body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which also helps promote healthy vision, boosts immunity, and may even fight cancer.
Green beans are a good source of quercetin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that research suggests may help prevent arthritis and memory loss, and lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of antioxidants that may help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Kale is a low calorie, high fiber vegetable, that is high in iron, Vitamin K, and packed with antioxidants. This cruciferous vegetable contains organosulfur compounds which are known to figh cancer, especially colon cancer, and is full of sulforaphane which helps which nourishes the immune system.
Seaweed is a vegetable that is commonly used in Asian cuisine and is often served as seaweed salad and in sushi. If eaten regularly in large quantities, seaweed is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and may help to lower high blood pressure and raise good cholesterol. Omega-3s may even reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, help maintain healthy skin and eyes, and slow memory decline. Folate, an important B vitamin, is also found in seaweed and helps keep your hair, skin, and heart healthy.
One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Spinach is also full of flavonoids, a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties abundant in spinach that have been shown to slow down cell division in human stomach and skin cancer cells. Furthermore, spinach has shown significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer, and is full of neoxanthin and violaxanthin, two anti-inflammatory epoxyxanthophylls that play an important role in regulation of inflammation and are present in unusual amounts in spinach.
Wheatgrass contains more than 90 elements from the soil, and it is one of nature’s richest sources of vitamins A and C. Contains all of the known mineral elements and is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sulfur, sodium, cobalt and zinc. Wheatgrass is also abundant in vitamin B-17, a substance that can destroy cancer cells selectively.
Zucchini is a type of summer squash that is commonly green in color, although yellow (“golden”) zucchini exists as well. Zucchini contains a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that keeps skin, hair, and teeth healthy and may help prevent arthritis. In addition, zucchini contains potassium, a mineral that helps keep blood pressure in check. Along with vitamin C, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in zucchini help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Recipes from video:
Broccoli with zucchini and sprouts, combined with fresh guacamole (avocado is a fruit)
Broccoli with homemade sweet potato buckwheat pasta
Baby spinach with guacamole, alfalfa sprouts, and quinoa
Baby kale with guacamole, broccoli sprouts, and sesame seeds
Seaweed with ginger, tamari, green onion, and chia