The Benefits of Green Food
Have you noticed how hot everything green is lately? Green is everywhere and the benefits of green food are myriad! From your local grocery store to your fave health food store, greens are the star of the show, in fresh, frozen, powder, AND liquid form! So, what's the big deal about greens?
What's in those greens?
Greens aren't just a diet fad: they happen to be packed with a plethora of vitamins and minerals! Consuming more helps our bodies get the good stuff we need! And they are so versatile! They can go with just about anything, so be liberal with them: chop them up in your sauces, add them to soups, stews, and even baked goods! Whir them into your smoothie!! Full of fibre and great detoxifying properties, greens are everywhere and they're one of our favourite superfoods!
The luscious green colour comes from a green photosynthetic pigment called chlorophyll, also referred to as the lifeblood of the plant. Some of chlorophyll’s benefits are through liver support by aiding in detoxification and magnesium is at the center of the chlorophyll molecule, making green vegetables a great source. Locally grown and organic greens have a higher content level because of the rich soil they’re grown in. Magnesium is largely missing in a standard diet due to the overprocessing of food and the lack of leafy greens being consumed. It’s great for all your muscles, including your heart, and magnesium helps you absorb calcium!
Iron deficiency is fairly common in our western culture. Some of the familiar symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue, or lack of energy, hair loss, and tachycardia (an abnormal electrical response in the heart). In order to ensure that we are getting enough iron, we don’t always need to turn to a steak, because leafy greens can pack a good portion of our daily intake. (When looking to increase your iron absorption, make sure to include some Vitamin C!)
We don’t hear as much as we should about this vitamin. It's very important in our diets because of its blood clotting ability, helping wounds heal faster, and maintaining our blood vessels. Vitamin K is also an important nutrient in combination with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. This team of nutrients is important to the integrity of the skeletal system.
Whether you integrate your greens with other foods, or eat 'em straight-up, it's easy and awesome to go green. Try this all-green salad to get your motor running!
The Big Green Salad
- 10 oz baby spinach
- 2 stalks kale, lacinato, or curly kale, chopped super fine
- 1-2 mini cucumbers or half a large cucumber, sliced into small chunks
- 1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Handful of parsley, chopped finely
- 3 Tbsp hemp hearts
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional but has a delicious "cheesy" flavour that'll add richness to your salad!)
Because kale is a tougher leafy green, I suggest removing the stem and then chopping the leaves into thin shreds so that it blends well into the salad.
Wash and spin your leafy greens, then pat dry. For the kale, you want to remove the leaf from the stem. Hold the stem with one hand and grab the leaves at the base of the stem with the other hand and pull up so that the leaf separates from the stem. Once you have removed the stems, take the leaves and roll or bunch them up as much as you can and slice the bunch into thin strips. Add chopped cucumber, celery and parsley. Top with hemp hearts and nutritional yeast, if using.
Garlic Balsamic Salad Dressing
- ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on taste, crushed
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar together and pour into a bottle that can be shaken and stored for later. Add crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Place cap on bottle and shake until well combined.
Pour desired amount onto salad and toss. Once the dressing has been added, this salad should be eaten within 1-2 hours.