Very few people eat their 5 a day let alone the USDA recommendations of at least 3 cups of dark green vegetables per week. It’s hardly surprising as, in spite of all their detoxing and other health benefits, the majority of people just don’t like leafy greens.
It’s a great pity because certain green leaves are great for detoxing. And even if you think you don’t like them there are tasty ways of getting them into your diet as the wonderful infographic below shows.
Nutrients in green leaves
Green leaves of full of minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and vitamins, including some of the B vitamins as well as vitamins K, C, E. Many of these nutrients are involved in the detox process so it’s important to have a good supply if want your detox system to work efficiently.
Surprisingly, they are full of fiber and low in carbohydrates making them a great addition to a low carb diet. The fiber makes them slow to digest so the small amount of carbs they contain has little impact on blood sugar. Fiber, as you no doubt know, is good for detoxing the bowel too.
Lefy greens contain a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They do not contain vitamin A as shown on the infographic as only animal products contain it, but your body can usually convert the beta-carotene and other carotenoids to vitamin A if and when needed.
Beta carotene is usually found in yellow and orange veg and fruit but is masked in leafy greens by chlorophyll, the green pigment.
Studies have shown that chlorophyll helps in detoxifying heavy metals and other environmental pollutants from your body. These toxins can do much harm if they are allowed to accumulate in your cells and tissues.
Chlorophyll is also a potent antioxidant. The detox process produces free radicals so it’s very important that your body can either produce its own antioxidants which relies on a good supply of certain vitamins and minerals or that you have plenty in your diet.
Some of the leaves such as Swiss chard, watercress, land cress, arugula, spinach, kale, bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi and cabbage come from plants known as crucifers. They contain several compounds that are inducers of Phase II detox enzymes which help you detox which is so important these days as we are surrounded with toxins that get into you body one way or another.
How to eat more leafy greens
One ideal way of getting more leafy greens into your diet is to make them into green smoothies. If you happen to be one of those who doesn’t like the sweetness of the fruit ones make savory ones instead.
If you get bored with salads then quickly steam fry them in a little stock with ginger, garlic and onions.
Add them to any soup or bean based dishes to make them more nutritious or wilt them in a bowl of steaming brown rice, millet, or quinoa. Don’t forget to add some chopped herbs or spices for extra flavor.
Use large leaves as wraps for your favorite ingredients with a dollop of hummus or pesto.
You can incorporate leafy greens into about any dish you like. Studies have shown that more children were willing to eat vegetables after being given repeated small tastes. It’s thought the same methods would work for adults so if you think you could not eat a lot of healthy, detoxing leafy greens just keep on trying them.