Five Super Greens and Their Benefits
We are continuously encouraged to eat our greens, and it turns out that our mums may have known best all along. We list through some important greens and share some delicious smoothie recipes to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients.
Spinach for the Brain
It’s not just Popeye who needs spinach to grow strong – we need it too. Spinach is a powerhouse when it comes to promoting brain function. These dark leafy greens are a great source of vitamin K, which has recently been proven to help keep you focused and sharper for longer. According to the studies that were carried out at Rush University in Chicago, just one portion of raw, fresh spinach (about a cereal bowl) can not only improve brain functioning but could also slow the process of cognitive decline and even reverse the mental decline that’s caused by ageing.
Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin C for tissue repair and vitamin A to support our immune vision and promote healthy vision. Iron and folic acid are also present in the leafy green, which is great news for our red blood cells.
Try a delicious spinach and berry smoothie
Yes, it is as you imagine – spinach and berries. All you need is two handfuls of mixed, frozen berries and a portion of spinach. Blend the ingredients together with half a banana and a cup of milk or a pot of yoghurt – depending on your taste or thickness preference and enjoy the healthy drink for breakfast or a daytime snack.
Mixed berry, banana and Spinach smoothie, Flickr
Kale Cures Bad Skin
Kale is a vegetable you have probably heard of more often in recent years and this is because the green has only recently become a favourite in promoting health benefits.
A good rule of thumb with leafy greens containing antioxidants is the darker, the better. Kale is quite a dark leafy green because it is rich in antioxidants, which helps protect against cancer. Like spinach, kale is bursting with the vitamins – particularly vitamin K and vitamin A. In fact, kale provides an incredible 684% of the RDA for vitamin K and 206% of the RDA for vitamin A.
We love vitamin A because it supports cell and bone growth as well as repairing damaged blood cells. However, what we love most about vitamin A is that it can protect against acne. Vitamin A naturally sheds dead skin cells that block pores which naturally alleviates acne. By increasing your vitamin A intake, you can naturally reduce and clear the skin.
Kale and apple smoothie
This is a quick and easy way to get your daily dose of kale. Firstly, chop two handfuls of kale and remove the stems. Add half a banana and pour in a cup of fresh, organic apple juice. Include a tablespoon of lemon juice and a few cubes of ice to cool.
Wheatgrass for Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is effectively a inflammation of the colon. A small study examined twenty-one participants who suffered from active ulcerative colitis. Half the participants were asked to consume 100 cc of wheatgrass juice each day for a month while the other participants were required to take a placebo. The results showed significant reductions in symptoms for the wheatgrass group with no serious side effects.
Wheatgrass juice drink
Squeeze the juice from three oranges, grate one tablespoon of ginger and 30 mls of wheatgrass juice. Alternatively, you can opt for a shot of fresh wheatgrass juice.
Avocado for Weight Loss
There has been some evidence showing avocado helps promote weight loss. One particular study examined 45 overweight participants by separating them into three groups, each following a different cholesterol-lowering diet. The first diet was low fat (24% of total calories) and didn’t include avocado. The second diet also didn’t include avocado but had a moderate amount of fat (34% of total calories). The third also had a moderate amount of fat but also included one whole Haas avocado per day.
After the five-week trial was over, the avocado diet came out on top with a lower reading of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – 13.5 mg/dl lower than the non-avocado diets. This is thought to be attributed to the monounsaturated fats found in avocado, which may help to lower high cholesterol.
Avocado and blueberry smoothie
Avocado is a great super green to throw into any smoothie, but the simplest one is to blend a whole avocado with almond milk, a couple of handfuls of blueberries, half a banana and a few cubes of ice.
Broccoli for Pregnancy
Broccoli is packed full of folic acid and iron, reducing the risk of anaemia during pregnancy while keeping the haemoglobin count up. While pregnant, the amount of blood in the body increases by 50 percent and does so at a rapid pace. This can lead to iron deficiency and anaemia.
The Broccoli Green Smoothie
A broccoli smoothie may not sound appealing, however adding some sweet fruits to the mix will help to mask the taste of the broccoli. Chop a handful of broccoli florets and combine with half a banana and a couple of chunks of pineapple. Mix with some fresh, organic apple juice. Add some ice cubes to cool.
Author Bio: Jaspal is an entrepreneur with a passion for using health foods, supplements and increased nutrition to benefit the mind and body. Director of startup company FILTUR – a site that compares all the best brands in supplements, health foods and more – his goal is to get everybody living healthier, happier lives.