Image credit for kale: Stone Soup on Flickr
When it comes to nutrition advice, one thing is for sure: there is a lot of information and even more opinions out there. However, through all of the information overload there seems to be one truth that everyone can agree upon: eat more plants, with a heavy emphasis on greens. Eating more plants, specifically green plants, means that your body will be gaining to benefit from a plethora of important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients by default. Green foods also happen to high in amino acids (the building blocks of protein), high in fiber (which helps clear out the GI tract and balance blood sugar), and also helps both detox and alkalinize the body.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day - the "greenest" holiday of all - we're sharing our top 8 green superfoods! - one of which might actually be growing in your very own back yard.
1. Spirulina (or other superfood algaes like chlorella and E3 Live)
The queen of all green superfoods, spirulina really offers a complete package of nutrition. Like nature's multivitamin/mineral supplement, spirulina offers a wealth of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants as well as very high levels of protein (60% by weight), omega fatty acids, and other unique compounds that help to protect the integrity of our cells. If you're looking for one green superfood to start incorporate, start with spirulina. Check out Amazing Algae from our brand Veggimins for a very synergistic blend of spirulina, chlorella, and E3 Live blue green algae.
2. Dandelion Greens
You might want to think twice before pulling this "weed" out of your garden. While most of us still consider dandelion greens to be a bit pesky, they are actually highly medicinal and potent superfoods for our bodies. Dandelion leaves are incredible for the liver, helping to cleanse and protect this often overworked yet under-loved organ. It is also a rich source of beta carotene (which our body converts to vitamin A), Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Arugula can give thanks to sulfur containing compound sulforaphane for its delicious, signature wasabi-like spicy flavor, however, this compound does far more than just wake up those taste buds. This compound, found in many vegetables within the cruciferous family such as broccoli and cabbage, has been shown to help protect against certain types of cancer.
Once a green that only hard core health foodies were noshing on, kale can now be found in many manifestations on juice bar, cafe, and restaurant menus from coast to coast, as well as in many packaged foods like kale chips. Kale is a hearty green, and helps fortify the blood and build strong bones with calcium, magnesium, iron (more per calorie than beef ), Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and plenty of protein.
Parsley is FAR more than just a garnish. This super herb is rich with Vitamin C (one of the best sources!), and Vitamin K for healthy blood. Parsley is also a powerful detox herb, and even helps freshen the breathe if chewed after a meal.
Want to achieve a youthful, dewy glow? Eat more watercress. This flavorful leafy green is rich with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, B Vitamins,Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and also packs in the iron, calcium and iodine - a cocktail of beautifying nutrition.
For those of us who love avo it's hard to imagine life (or a single salad) without them! While not technically a "green", avocados do have a beautiful muted lime green hue, and by pairing them with our salad greens, actually help aid in the proper absorption of all of those critical fat-soluble nutrients such as beta carotene and Vitamin K, thanks to their high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
8. Hemp Seeds
Don't consider hemp seeds to be a "green" superfood? Look a little closer. These powerhouse seeds contain specks of chlorophyll - in fact a high quality hemp oil will even have a slightly greenish hue. Hemp seeds are one of the best sources of plant based protein, have a perfect ratio of omega fatty acids 3, 6 and 9, and offer a wealth of vitamins and minerals. They're also very hypo-allergenic, meaning they don't tend to trigger allergic reactions like many other nuts and seeds do. As a food crop, hemp is also incredibly sustainable for the environment as well, needing very little in terms of natural resources or pest control to thrive - just one more reason why they make our "green" superfood list.
Written by Anna Speaks - Resident Blogger and Social Media Manager at Windy City Organics and RawGuru