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10 Top Healthy Greens PDF Print E-mail

Many people find the easiest way to get their daily dose of healthy greens in is through juicing or blending them into smoothies. Here are 10 all-time super-healthy, nutrient-dense green foods that are superb additions to your green drinks, juice, or smoothies or eaten as part of your daily veggie serving.

A reminder that in order to receive the most health potential, you want your healthy greens to be organic; even better is to grow them yourself!

#1 – Kiwifruit
With more vitamin C than an orange, the succulent, green flesh of the kiwifruit is brimming with disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that help prevent aging, improve skin health, boost respiratory function, protect vision, and improve cardiovascular health, among many other functions. Studies show that the kiwifruit helps keep the organ where most of our immune system lives − the gut − in tip-top shape.
The only thing that’s better than eating the flesh of a kiwifruit it also eating its skin and seeds (from organic kiwifruit, of course) which is where you’ll find high levels of digestion-friendly fiber, protein, and other additional health-protecting compounds. This fluffy skin is where much of the fiber and vitamin C in the kiwifruit is found. In fact, you can triple your fiber intake when eating kiwifruit by consuming it with the skin!

#2 – Kale
These stalks of leafy green goodness are a powerhouse of vitamins A, C, and K. Being a cruciferous vegetable, kale is naturally a powerful cancer-fighting food that studies have shown can help improve detoxification, support heart health, and inhibit the formation and spread of malignant cancer cells. Technically a wild form of cabbage, kale is also notably anti-inflammatory, helping to protect the body against harmful bacteria and viruses. Entice your kids to eat this amazing veg by serving them dinosaur kale; its gnarly apperance will create a buzz around the dinner table. 

#3 – Spinach
It kept Popeye strong and it can do the same for you! Once known as the “Spanish vegetable” in Great Britain, spinach has a rich history of use all throughout the world, and for good reason. It’s packed with B vitamins, vitamins A, C, E, and K, trace minerals like copper and magnesium, and so much more. Spinach is also a powerful antioxidant food that helps to keep cholesterol from oxidizing in your blood vessels, helping to improve circulation while promoting a healthy heart.

#4 – Watercress
Another varietal of leafy green, watercress is a culinary delight that tastes great in soups, salads, and sandwiches. It’s technically a healing herb that contains 15 essential vitamins and minerals (at least!), and many other compounds at quantities much higher than that of a typical vegetable. For instance, watercress contains more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and more vitamin C than an orange. It also contains a treasure trove of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and other “super” nutrients that help protect the body against chronic disease, including cancer.
Watercress is perhaps most known in the “superfood” world for its high levels of vitamin K, which helps protect the brain against neurodegeneration, as well as strengthen bones and prevent heart disease. Studies suggest that watercress is a powerful anti-aging food that can help people live longer lives with improved quality of life. Many people have never tried watercress, so give it a try and add it to your healthy greens shopping list!

#5 – Parsley
Gone are the days when parsley's notoriety was limited to a limp garnish on restaurant food. This popular food garnish is, in many ways, healthier than many of the dinner plates upon which it’s presented. A powerful chelating herb, parsley is recognized for its ability to draw out toxic heavy metals and expel them from the body. It’s also an incredible anti-cancer food, rich in flavonoids like myricetin and apigenin that research show help deter cancer cells and tumors. Parsley has also been scientifically shown to help strength the cellular matrices of bones, as well as balance blood sugar levels to prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. Steep a sprig or two in hot water every morning and drink it as a tea; it will help spring-clean the liver and kidneys, especially after a hectic night out!!

#6 – Broccoli
Another fiber-rich cruciferous vegetable in the same family of greens as kale, broccoli is an incredible anti-cancer superfood of the highest order. It contains high levels of a chemoprotective substance known as sulforaphane that’s been the focus of extensive cancer research as of late. A famous study out of Johns Hopkins University, for instance, found that broccoli, and broccoli sprouts in particular, contain such high levels of sulforaphane that consuming this delicious green food regularly can help significantly reduce your cancer risk.
Sulforaphane has likewise been shown to inhibit an enzyme known as histone deacetylase, or HDAC, that’s directly involved in promoting the spread of cancer cells. By eating broccoli as part of a routine diet, you can help prevent the risk of prostate, pancreatic, esophageal, and many other types of cancer. Not only that, broccoli contains many other anti-cancer nutrients like folate, phosphorus, choline, potassium, and copper that further ward off many forms of this harrowing disease.

#7 – Beetroot Greens

Besides supplying good amounts of protein, phosphorus, and zinc, beet greens are also a great source of fiber. Packed with antioxidants, they’re high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese; based on a 8,000 kJ diet, daily values of beet greens contain 220% of vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C, 16% of calcium, and 15% of iron.

As if that weren’t enough, studies have also shown that the vitamin K in beet greens contains blood clotting properties, helps ward off osteoporosis, works with calcium to boost bone strength, and may also play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Beet greens have a higher iron content than spinach, and a higher nutritional value than the beetroot itself.

The vitamin A content in beet greens helps strengthen the immune system and stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells. The beta-carotene in vitamin A is a known antioxidant that can fight the effects of free radicals in the body along with cancer and heart disease. Doctors often recommend vitamin A to patients at risk of developing night blindness.

#8 – Kelp
A popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, this seaweed varietal is a rich source of vitamins and trace minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, amino acids, omega-3s, fiber, and perhaps most significant of all − iodine. I say this because iodine is tough to find in substantial quantities in most common foods, but it’s abundant in plants from the sea. This is good news not only for your thyroid gland, which regulates hormone production, but also your central nervous system at large.
Iodine is also essential for brain development and proper functionality of the pituitary, as well as the body’s other important glandular systems. Iodine also plays a critical role in cancer prevention, as a cohort of scientific evidence suggests that iodine deficiency is directly correlated with increased cancer progression, and particularly cancers of the breast.

#9 – Celery
Crunchy and mostly made of water, celery might not seem like anything out of the ordinary − but don’t be fooled! Besides its rich fiber content, which is really good for the gut, celery is packed with electrolyte compounds that help keep the body hydrated, as well as enzymes that help keep it nourished and clean. Then there are the antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other nutrient compounds that help protect vital organs, vision, and virility, among other things.
Everything from clearing the arteries to quelling inflammation to protecting against cancer is on celery’s resume of health benefits. Truth be told, there’s very little that celery can’t do when it comes to promoting health, it turns out, which is why it ranks on this list of healthy greens.

#10 – Aloe Vera
This spiny desert plant is known for its ability to soothe the skin that’s been overexposed to the sun. But aloe vera is good for so much more than just a sunburn salve, as it serves as a powerful remedy for upset stomach, constipation, and various gastrointestinal disorders. This due to its soothing anti-inflammatory and gentle laxative properties. Aloe vera also contains significant quantities of enzymes that help to improve food digestion, boost immunity, and create homeostatic balance throughout the body.