The power of a Healthy Breakfast.
One the best things you can do for your health is include plenty of green leafy vegetables in your diet, and a great way to get them in is first thing in the morning. Rich in important vitamins, minerals and health promoting antioxidants, these nutritional powerhouses are one of the most nutrient dense foods around.
6 Crazy-good Benefits
- Consuming green leafy vegetables regularly as part of a healthy well-balanced diet will help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye conditions, osteoporosis and even type-2 diabetes.
- These veggies are also an excellent source of B vitamins, including, folate, B6 and B12.
- Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables can help lower homocysteine levels in the body, a natural compound that can contribute to clogged arteries and heart disease if it reaches high levels. The body uses folate, and vitamins B12 and B6, to keep homocysteine levels under control.
- They contain carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, that act as powerful antioxidants that protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, as well as having cancer-protective properties. Antioxidants such as these, act by neutralizing damaging free radicals before they harm the body.
- They are also rich in calcium, needed for strong healthy bones. A cup of dandelion greens contain more calcium than ½ cup of milk. There are some varieties however, such as swiss chard, collards, spinach and beet greens that should not be relied on for their calcium content as they contain high levels of oxalates, compounds that block calcium absorption.
- Many green leafy vegetables, especially spinach and swiss chard, are good sources of iron, used to produce red blood cells and transport oxygen around the body. Green leafy vegetables are also an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps regulate blood clotting, and may help protect the body against osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and inflammatory diseases.
Sneak them in!
A great way to get all the benefits from green leafy veggies is to hide them in your morning smoothie. Weather you love the taste of kale, or if green drinks creep you out, there's a smoothie out there for you. The fruit included in the smoothie overpowers the taste of your leafy greens, so you get a hydrating, nutritional boost that you won't even know is healthy. Try the following recipe for a great start to the day, or for a pick-me-up snack in the afternoon.
Super Green Juice Smoothie
- 2 Cups Spinach
- 1 Cup Kale
- 1 Banana
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Pitted Cherries
- 1/2 Cup Blueberries
- 20oz Water, Almond or Hemp milk
- 1Tbs Cinnamon
In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend until creamy.
This delicious smoothie is packed with green goodness. It is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants so it will help alkalize the body, reduce inflammation and boost immune function. It also contains sulfur compounds that help support healthy liver detoxification, which will help cleanse and protect the body from toxins. It also contains magnesium to help calm and nourish your nervous system, and iron to help improve energy levels and help transport oxygen around the body.
Lisa Guy is a respected Sydney based naturopath, author and passionate foodie. Lisa owns a clinic called 'Art of Healing' and has a particular love for treating babies, children and helping support women through pregnancy and beyond. Lisa writes for a variety of health magazines, websites, and newspapers and has written books including 'My Goodness: all you need to know about children's health and nutrition, 'Heal Yourself' and 'Pregnancy Essentials'. Visit her website and find her on Facebook.