Did you celebrate St. Patty's day with green food and green drinks? So did we! But green foods are the BEST foods, naturally green foods that is!
Green foods contain phytonutrients that can have these great benefits:
- Brain health
- Cell protection
- Skin health
- Hormone balance
- Heart health
- Liver health
Here is a "short" list of some of the beneficial compounds found in green foods:
- Chlorogenic acid
- Epigallocatechin gallate
- Folinic Acid (folic acid)
- Isofl avones
- Phenolic diterpenes
- Theafl avins
To understand how these compounds work to help us, here is a deeper break down into just 3 of these compounds:
- Cruciferous veggies get their anti-cancer action from the glucosinolates.
- The glucosinolates are what give some these vegetables their stinky sulfur aroma. But that sulfur comes in handy as it provides the liver what it needs to get rid of toxins.
- When the cruciferous vegetables are chopped or chewed, the glucosinolates turn into active compounds called isothiocyanates (indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, and many others). These phytonutrients change the way estrogen is metabolized or broken down in the body. As a result, eating these vegetables is associated with the decreased risk of estrogen related cancers such as breast and uterine cancer. Eating these vegetables either raw, lightly sautéed, or steamed is best to retain the full array of nutrients.
- The following green vegetables are included in the cruciferous family: arugula, bok choy, broccoli, broccolini, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabaga, and watercress.
- Phytosterols, or plant sterols, are compounds that look like cholesterol, but they are not cholesterol. They actually block the absorption of cholesterol from food in the gut. There are many different types of phytosterols, and because of their known benefits in helping to reduce LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind), they have been added to foods and put into dietary supplements. There may also be some immune system benefits of these compounds.
- Good sources of phytosterols from green foods include avocado, lettuce, and olive oil. Other non-green sources include dried sunflower seeds (probably one of the richest sources at 374 milligrams per ½ cup serving) and rice bran oil (162 milligrams in 1 tablespoon).
- For those of you who have had advanced cholesterol testing done, this is where the “hyper absorber” vs “hyper synthesizer” come from! If you are a hyper absorber, these foods will be extra nutritious for you.
- Catechins are one of the bitter compounds found in green tea. The most famous catechin from green tea is called epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG). Having just one cup of green tea a day has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 50%. Caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions of green tea are available.
Here are just some of our favorite GREEN foods:
- Pesto - see Erica's recipe below!
- Avocado - in smoothies, on toast, in everything!
- Salads - leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula, chard tossed with other yummy ingredients and a nice vinaigrette - yum!
- Veggies - some veggies just shine on their own - Asparagus, Zucchini, Green Beans to name only a few!
What are your favorite GREEN foods? Share your favorite foods & recipes on our Be Well Facebook Community - Click Here.
Health Coach Erica Ballard's Spinach & Kale Pesto Recipe:
- 2 big handfuls organic spinach
- 1 big handful organic kale
- 1 cup herb (basil or cilantro suggested)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. avocado oil
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Add all the ingredients, except salt and pepper, to the food processor or blender and pulse until everything is combined to preferred texture.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Use Pesto to top pasta, spaghetti squash or dress up anything you like!