top green foods for good health

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (It's also my grandpa's birthday, so let's wish him a happy birthday, too!) I know today is about celebrating with green-everything, so being the {natural} nutritionist that I am, I couldn’t help but put my own little spin on it: top green foods for good health. I know... not the kind of stuff that makes you wanna jump up and kiss me like I’m Irish. But guess what…this is the stuff we gotta fuel our bodies with if we wanna be doing any jumping at all ;)

So, here is my spin on the St. Patrick’s Day festivities by greening up today in good ways!

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SPIRULINA & CHLORELLA

These greens are the by far my favorite way to green up my life! They are both algae & extremely good for you, here’s how:

Spirulina: a complete protein source, high in iron & chlorophyll, high in health enhancing enzymes & antioxidants, maybe be the only green food rich in essential fatty acid: gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

Chlorella: may contain more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant in the world, available through tablets or powder form, may contain 60% pure digestible protein.

Although these are both algaes, if buying the right brands, spirulina (especially) shouldn’t have that “fishy” taste. I only use Giddy Yoyo’s spirulina & chlorella (disclaimer: I’m an ambassador for this company!) and using their products never makes me feel like I’m eating something from the sea! Plus, adding berries to your spirulina mixes usually masks the flavors pretty well.

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I love adding a tsp of spirulina powder to my smoothies, for added protein + make it that much more nutrient-rich. And for chlorella, I prefer the tabs, which are super easy & convenient to have on you when you’re on-the-go & you can just pop a few whenever you feel like it!

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Next up...

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COLD-PRESSED GREEN DRINKS

As I sit here sipping one while I write this post! So we know that smoothies are beneficial, but adding juices in (especially the green ones!) have their own unique benefits. Since juices have the pulp removed, which basically translates into the fiber removed, it allows the liquid to go straight into the cells. Your body isn’t working as hard to digest the juice, which means it’s a break on your system, but also a quick delivery method to give the body what it needs: nutrients! Also, green juices are high in chlorophyll & if you’re ok with the greens taste, then choose juices that are lower in fruit, which will naturally be lower in sugar.

And then we move onto...

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DARK GREEN LEAFY VEGGIES

You know… the same ones that you hear everyone talking about over and over again?! (And those greens going into the juices we mentioned above.) Well, they’re doing it for good reason. Dark, leafy greens are loaded with chlorophyll (there’s that word again - that makes those veggies green and bursting with life!) & naturally low in calories, so you can eat a ton, say in a big salad?

Try rotating these greens so you’re not repeatedly eating the same ones over and over again. It’s good to switch things up & treat your body to something new every once in a while.

Dark leafy greens to choose from: collard greens, spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, purslane, spring salad mix/salad greens, romaine lettuce, sprouts, wheatgrass, watercress, arugula.

Some ways to get creative with greens:

  • Try adding a big handful to your smoothie (for milder greens choose swiss chard or spinach).
  • Swap out wraps & bread - use collards or romaine lettuce as a wrap instead.
  • Add sprouts (like sunflower) to your salads, sandwiches & even on top of soups!
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And finally...

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MATCHA GREEN TEA

I think matcha is somewhat of an underdog; it’s not really on everyone’s radar, but I think it’s known that it could be good for you. I actually go through phases of using it and then forgetting about it, but luckily I’m in a using stage right now! Matcha is one of those drinks you might want to swap the coffee for every once in a while because it’s high in antioxidants (like, 1 cup = 10 cups of green tea high), helps to calm, boosts your memory & concentration, increases your energy, burns calories, can be detoxifying & help boost the immune system. It’s different from other teas you drink because you’re actually drinking the tea leaf that has been turned into a powder (vs. just steeping the leaves then discarding) which is why it has all these added benefits. Plus, it just tastes really, really good.

Here’s a simple way to make a matcha latte:

  1. Start steaming 1 cup milk (I use almond or almond/coconut mix) in either a milk frother (thanks mom!) or on stove-top over medium-low heat, whisk milk until hot.
  2. Turn on your kettle and boil 1/4 cup water.
  3. Grab a large mug, add 1 tsp of matcha powder to it and when water is done boiling, whisk in the 1/4 cup until all matcha powder is incorporated & a liquid.
  4. Once milk is heated, add to your mug with matcha-water mix in it and stir to combine.

Optional add-ins: sweetener (maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, cane sugar, etc) & vanilla or make it a “dirty” matcha latte by adding a shot of espresso.

My hope for you today is that instead of heading straight for the green beer, that you consider adding a few of these options in, if not in place of the beer, at the very least, before it!!

Now let’s go kiss a leprechaun and find that pot of gold!

What’s your favorite way to “green” up your health?

 
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