Eating green vegetables and other nutrient-dense green foods such as Spirulina, wheat grass, blue-green algae, sea vegetables and seaweed (a.k.a. “super foods”) can give us large amounts of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy and strong. Chlorophyll, which we learned in grade school science class is what gives plants their green color, also happens to be quite similar in molecular structure to human blood. Isn’t that amazing? The same pigment oxygenating the plants in your yard can also help oxygenate your blood. But first, you have to get that green goodness into your body.
That’s where fresh, green juices come in. Starting your day with a juice or smoothie full of green vegetables is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. If you get into the habit of drinking fresh juices every day, you’ll likely notice your energy levels increasing, your digestion improving, and your eyes and skin looking bright and clear.
As they detoxify their bodies by eating raw whole foods, and drinking pure, fresh juices, many people begin to notice their entire systems have begun to work more efficiently, and they will naturally lose weight. By ingesting green juices, you’ll also be giving yourself the gift of antioxidants, as well as decreased chances of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Certain green vegetables have even been shown to help prevent the occurrence of certain cancers.
Here are 5 of the best green vegetables to give you maximum nutrition for a minimum investment:
1. Spinach is a wonderful green vegetable to include in your daily juicing and smoothie regimen. It’s high in the aforementioned cancer-preventing antioxidants, and has also been shown in studies to reduce macular degeneration, heart disease and stroke. One of the best things about spinach as a fresh juice or smoothie additive is that it has a surprisingly mild flavor. When mixed with carrots, apples, and ginger, even the pickiest children have been known to give spinach the thumbs-up. If you find the right blend, it can be a great way to quickly get some healthy greens into your kids.
2. Kale is another amazing green vegetable that has been rapidly growing in popularity, with delicious new kale products (such as kale chips) hitting the markets. In addition to giving our bodies loads of vitamin C and vitamin A, kale is widely appreciated for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. It seems to be no mistake that the word kale starts with a ‘k’ as it is absolutely loaded with vitamin K, to the tune of over 600 percent of our recommended daily allowance. Also abundantly found in spinach, broccoli, parsley, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, vitamin K is very important in the formation and protection of bones, as well as blood clotting and cancer prevention. Kale is also high in calcium, providing the lactose intolerant among us with an easy way to get the nutrients necessary for proper bone health.
3. Parsley has long been known in the world of nutrition as a major player in the treatment of anemia, thanks to its high iron content. In addition to vitamin K, parsley is loaded with the well-known immune system boosters, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B12. Parsley contains vitamin A, which is important for eye health. Folic acid is also abundant in parsley, which lowers cancer risk, and is especially crucial for pregnant women, as it can prevent birth defects in unborn babies.
4. Cucumber can play an important role in your detoxification, which is one of the goals of any juice fast, smoothie or healthy eating program. Cucumber acts as a natural diuretic in the body by eliminating excess water, and as long as you make sure to re-hydrate to replace what you’re losing, this process can cause your body to remove toxins at a faster rate. This diuretic quality is also why cucumber is used to clean the kidneys, with many using it daily to remove kidney stones. An excellent source of silica, cucumber can help those with achy joints, as well as assist in preventing many types of cancer.
5. Celery will give you the same diuretic effects as cucumber, with the added benefit of a natural laxative effect that will help speed up the body’s removal of toxins. Celery has been shown to reduce cholesterol and prevent stomach cancers, and helps reduce acid levels in the body. Creating an alkaline environment is highly desirable, as it will allow your body more energy to dedicate to fighting the bad guys.
Do you want to feel stronger, live longer, have more energy, and feel better about the way you look? Are you ready to glow with good health and vitality? Let green vegetables come to your rescue. With their mega-doses of antioxidants and high levels of vitamins and minerals, green vegetables can be the superfood hero your body has been seeking. To healthy living, fresh juicing, and beyond!
Jennifer Fox is a nutrition consultant. She enjoys sharing her tips and insights on various health and lifestyle topics. Click here for more information about the benefits of a vegetable juice diet.