Welcome back to our discussion on super foods, this time concentrating on ‘Greens’ – leafy greens, wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella.
We’ll look at why they’re so beneficial for us and give you some recipe ideas too and would love to hear from you with your favourites.
You may remember from our previous post on sweet potatoes 1, that this term has no actual scientific meaning but is widely accepted to include foods that are “nutritionally dense and will nourish, repair, rejuvenate and heal the body”. What I do know for a fact is how good I feel when I include these super foods in my diet. If you haven’t already done so, have a go and see how you feel.
Greens rightly take their position centre stage in this category:
There is such an abundance of ‘goodness’ in greens that it’s easy to see why parents from all generations have instilled the need to include them in our diet.
Greens are super rich in chlorophyll, which gives plants their green colour (they absorb all colours of the spectrum except green). The molecular structure of chlorophyll is similar to human blood and when digested, haemoglobin production is increased. This in turn means oxygen rich blood, which is vital for an energy efficient metabolism.
All of this equates to a body that is more efficient ie healthier.
What should we be including in our diet to achieve this?
Several vegetables fall into this category and I’ll share our favourites with you here:
It’s best to eat spinach raw as you lose some of the nutrients when cooked. We love to add it to salads, or in your morning smoothie as follows:
It has a fairly distinctive, strong flavour and makes a wonderful addition to salads. We love this soup recipe too, perfect if you’re feeling under the weather!
3 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
1 onion sliced
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 tbsp Lucy Bee Coconut Oil
500ml vegetable stock
2 large bunches of watercress, chopped
1 onion sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1tbsp Lucy Bee coconut oil
1 pint vegetable stock
30g fresh coriander
1. Sauté the onion and garlic in the Lucy Bee until soft.
2. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and add the broccoli. Simmer for 4 minutes until cooked (take care not to overcook).
3. Transfer to a blender, add the spinach and coriander and blend until smooth.
We love to add raw broccoli to salads, too, by chopping into small pieces.
Broccoli sprouts contain concentrations of the compound glucoraphanin which is a precursor to sulforaphane. This boosts cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage from cancer-causing chemicals.
High in vitamins, you can grow your own quite easily since they need very little space or equipment2, or alternatively you can find them in your local health food shop.
Simply add these to your salad or sandwich for a crunchy texture, sprinkle over a jacket potato, add to your favourite stir fry (at the end of cooking) or munch on them for your afternoon snack.
It’s easy to add this highly beneficial food into your diet by either eating it raw, lightly steaming it or a favourite with us is to add it to a smoothie. Kale crisps are really popular at the moment and make a quick, nutritious snack:
Handful of kale leaves (cut off the stalk)
1 tbsp Lucy Bee Coconut oil
So what are our favourite ways to eat cabbage? Well, first off, choose cabbages that look bright and crisp and avoid those with holes in the leaves as an insect may have burrowed its way in!
It’s thought that steaming cabbage is the best way to retain the fibre-related components so cut it into thin slices and steam for a few minutes until soft.
Or, to add a spicy aromatic flavour to your cabbage try this recipe:
Rocket makes a wonderful addition to any salad. This recipe is not only healthy but eye catching too, definitely one to impress:
2 garlic cloves, crushed
110g flaked almonds
Handful each of rocket, spinach and watercress
2tsp Lucy Bee Coconut Oil
Himalayan salt and ground black pepper to season
Alternatively, you easily include rocket in a breakfast omelette:
2 eggs beaten
½ tsp Lucy Bee Coconut Oil
I tomato sliced
Small handful of rocket
Grated cheese (optional)
Here we’re looking at natural supplements. As always, here at Lucy Bee we advocate eating foods that are as close as Nature intended where possible. This is not to say we don’t enjoy treats, of course we do but we aim to focus on foods that are nutritionally beneficial to us.
When looking at green super foods, there are a selection of natural supplements that we think are important to include to optimise overall good health.
Wheatgrass is the sprouted grass of the wheat grain and despite its name, is wheat gluten free. It’s extremely alkalizing for the body and is available either as a juice, in powdered form, in frozen cubes, grow your own or you can cheat and buy it ready cultivated. We like www.wheatgrass-uk.com/3
You can juice your own with a special juicer or add a shot to your smoothie for that extra health boost. Definitely an acquired taste (!).
Such are its nutritional values, some say you could survive on this alone. It is available as a tablet, flakes or in powder form.
This nutrient rich food source from the Aztecs, is similar to chlorella (see below) and is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. It contains B Vitamins plus C, D and E and makes for an excellent source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and Zinc. It can help regulate blood sugars, too.
As a potent detoxifier, it’s best to slowly add spirulina to your diet (add it to smoothies or juices) to gauge how your body reacts to it. Avoid if you have a seafood allergy though.
It contains vitamins, minerals, magnesium and iron, and is a wonderful source of plant-based protein.
Chlorella has incredible detoxifying properties and is particularly good at ridding the body of mercury (great if you have mercury fillings). Being super rich in chlorophyll, chlorella is great for all round body health (oxygenated blood makes for healthier organs, promoting growth and repair of tissues) and it cleanses the liver, kidneys and bowel. Chlorella will boost the immune system, improve digestion, regulate cholesterol, enhance the ability to concentrate and balances pH levels. Amazing right?
As with spirulina, each of us will tolerate its powerful detoxification differently so take care when adding it to your diet and introduce it slowly. If you’re taking the prescribed medication Wafarin, chlorella is NOT recommended.
Chlorella is available as a tablet or in powder form. As a powder, simply add to your juice or smoothie, sprinkle onto yoghurt or over your salad. To retain its incredible nutritional values, it’s best not to heat or cook chlorella.
A healthy body starts with a healthy immune system and super foods, particularly greens, perfectly support this. They are natural foods and work in harmony with the body, so encouraging good health. They add taste, colour and texture to your plate along with their health boosting properties. Generally eaten raw to obtain maximum benefits, green super foods can be steamed, juiced, blended and sautéed to suit your preference – what choice!
Super foods are both a food and a medicine and are some of the most nutrient rich foods on Earth, nourishing our body at the deepest level. What’s not to like?
About Lucy Bee Limited
Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.
Members of the Lucy Bee team are not medically trained and can only offer their best advice. Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
Please note you should always refer your health queries to a qualified medical practioner.
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Petrina is a friend of Lucy Bee and advocates a healthy lifestyle. Having used coconut oil for over 10 years is a firm believer in its numerous benefits and uses.