Welcome back to Healthy Living 101, a monthly health column featuring articles written by Marla Brodsky (RD, LD, BCIM). Marla is a Registered Dietitian and specialist in integrative medicine, with many years experience in clinical nutrition and research. To learn more about Marla, read her bio here. *This post is not intended as medical advice.
Top reasons for “going green” from the inside out
“Going green” is all the rage due to environmental concerns, but what about the environment inside our bodies? Green foods provide some of the most potent nutrients for our skin, bones, nerves and immune system. Here are a few of the health benefits of green foods and a couple ways to add them into your diet each day:
- Green foods contain chlorophyll. This green pigment allows plants to produce oxygen, which we breathe in. When we eat green foods in plants, we provide needed oxygen to our cells and our blood for good circulation and energy. The more oxygenated our body, the more blood to our extremities and skin to keep us going and glowing. Chlorophyll is exactly like hemoglobin of blood, except with a magnesium center instead of iron. This magnesium keeps our muscles and nerves working smoothly.
- Green foods also have many enzymes which allow almost every metabolic process in our body work.
- The enzymes in greens help our body digest food better, allowing us to get rid of toxins. Greens also have potassium, which helps the bowel contract to move waste out. The better we digest food, the more our calories turn to energy instead of fat.
- Greens help to alkalinize the blood. Acid is needed to digest food and absorb nutrients. However, when we eat processed food, we get too much acidification causing indigestion. For those taking Tums or antacids due to indigestion or heartburn, this neutralization of acid of one meal creates the inability to digest the next; hence more reliance on antacids. Greens break the cycle by making the blood more alkaline and helping digestion at the start.
- For those on dairy free diets, many greens such as Bok Choy and other Asian greens have bone building calcium, vitamin K, and boron to help prevent osteoporosis.
Three easy ways to go green in your diet
- Make a green smoothie: Try some spinach, kale or parsley, a green apple, ginger, lemon, berries and ice water
- Sauté greens with garlic, lemon juice, pepper flakes, and add a few raisins and almonds
- Make a parsley salad with parsley, garlic, tomatoes, salt/pepper, feta, lemon and olive oil
“Going green” is not only good for the planet, but for those who live on it!