If you're reading this post the week it's published - St. Patricks day is coming up, so it's the perfect opportunity to talk about all things green.
First, what exactly are “super greens”?
There is no specific definition for "super greens", or the broader "super foods" category, but in general, the "super" designation means a food is nutrient-dense and offers above-average health benefits.
Currently (and for quite some time now), the trend has been around superfood green powders, and I’ll review that in this post, too. But today I’m mainly talking about “super greens” as whole, green, plant foods.
Remember, for me (and you + everyone else in the world, whether they know it yet or not) everything I do comes back to the gut.
So, why supergreens for the gut? Here are 3 sound reasons.
Nutrients from green vegetables (specially one sugar known as sulfoquinovose - SQ) feeds good, probiotic bacteria and prevents bad bacteria, yeast, and fungi from colonizing in the gut by essentially starving them of fuel.
Greens are high in fiber that helps to clear waste through the digestive tract, and also to feed the good bacteria.
Greens are high in potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that is essential to keep an optimal fluid balance in your body. Assuming you don't have a sensitivity and that you're eating the proper amount - this is one reason why eating greens helps to fight bloat.
Dark Green Vegetables
According to the USDA, dark green leafy vegetables provide an abundance of everything from vitamins A, C, E and K to cancer protection.
Here is a list of dark green vegetables to consider:
If you’re looking for the best way to get the benefits from “super greens” in your diet, start there, with getting at least 1 serving per day of any of the greens listed above.
Ways to Incorporate Greens Into your Diet
It’s easy to toss fresh greens like spinach or microgreens into meals you’re already having. A handful here and a handful there really adds up quickly.
Here are some things I’d toss fresh greens into/on:
at the bottom of a pasta or rice dish
sandwiches and wraps
When it comes to heartier greens, like bok choy, kale, swiss chard, or broccoli raab, brussels these can be made and eaten fresh or frozen.
There is nothing wrong with whole, frozen vegetables. In fact, some even argue that when fresh vegetables are frozen, they preserve their nutrients more effectively.
Fresh or frozen, you can use them for…..
You should not rely on greens powder as a source of nutrition - you’re missing the volume-adding benefits of greens, and most nutrients function better when consumed from the whole food source.
However, if you find yourself traveling or in circumstances where life just doesn’t align with eating greens on a daily basis, greens powder could be a good Plan B to get you the nutrients you need until you can get back to your whole food eating habits. There are so many on the market these days. The best way to choose which one is for you is simply by doing a little research.
I've tried a few greens powders, and for me, it's difficult to find one that I can get down, simply because of the taste. The best one I've tried is Optividia "Complete Essentials". I like to mix this with coconut water and drink it in the mornings while I walk to the gym. I also like that the product has been certified by a third party (look for the "informed choice" logo). This means you can be sure that the ingredients are good quality, and what is listed on the facts label is accurate. I'll outline some of the benefits listed on their site, and link to it below!
Whole plant nutrition: This proprietary blend provides you with 22 whole food vitamins and minerals, 29 fruits and vegetables, probiotics, antioxidants and botanicals for ultimate health and nutrition.
2.5 billion CFU's probiotics: Complete Essentials provides probiotics for both women and men to balance digestion and support a healthy immune system.
Non-GMO & Vegan: With an intense focus on the nutritional content of your supplement, Complete Essentials contains only non-GMO flavors, citric acid, stevia, xanthan gum, and tapioca.
Versatile supplement: Fueling your body with healthy and complete nutrients is the best way to boost your immune system, support digestive health, increase energy and support nutrient absorption.
Delicious as a smoothie: We recommend pouring one packet into cold water, juice, milk or smoothie and enjoy daily.