The health benefits of green food cannot be over-emphasised. Most green food is a complete food, with all the macro vitamins and minerals, many of the trace minerals, is high in protein and contains omega 3. Not only that, but all this is in perfect balance so your body knows exactly how to digest and utilise it.
Many people understand the value of the super green supplements, such as blue green algae. And these are undoubtedly the most health beneficial supplements to take. But you can also get most of your daily requirements from eating a large amount of greens daily.
The common greens available in the grocery stores are silver beet, spinach, kale and collard. New choices coming in include tatsoi, warrigal, lambsquarters and others. But there are many in your garden, that you don’t have to buy and are quite safe to eat as long as you don’t use chemicals on the garden.
Dandelions, as with all greens, are very rich in macro minerals and vitamins. It supports organ health (especially kidney and liver). Dandelion has been used in ancient cultures for its health benefits, since the dawn of time. (My horses always look healthier during the dandelion season, on which they graze heavily.)
Gotu kola, also known as Asian pennywort, is rich in minerals and vitamins, as you would expect. This perennial plant has been used by ancient cultures in Asia to heal wounds and burns, to improve mental clarity, to bring calm, to improve digestion, to revitalise nerve cells, to improve respiratory problems, to reduce varicose veins and more.
Nasturtium was once considered a weed, along with dandelion and other beneficial plants. Not only are the leaves rich in minerals and vitamins, they improve the immune system. The flowers always improve the appearance (and nutrient value) of a salad dish.
Other beneficial greens, often thought of as weeds, include clover, stinging nettle, wild radish, wild mustard, purslane, plantain, chickweed, yellow dock, malva and lovage. There are countless more, depending on what grows in your area.
Herbs are also a green food and their addition to your dishes not only improves the taste, but adds nutrition. Dill, parsley, cilantro, bergamot, mint, fennel, basil, shiso, stevia all add extra quality to your health.
All greens contain alkaloids, which gives them a bitter taste to a greater or lesser extent. These alkaloids protect the plant from being over-eaten by grazers or pickers, and so ensuring their survival. In small amounts, they do you no harm. But if you consume a lot of the same plant for any length of time, they can start to harm. The key is to vary the greens, to rotate on a daily basis, not to consume the same one type every day.
Then there are the medicinal herbs, which need to be eaten in moderation, as they have higher levels of alkaloids. These include milk thistle, salsify, sweet cicely, hosta, horsetail, ginkgo, calendula, aloe, borage, comfrey, hollyhock, oca and more.
In ancient, and not so ancient times, people would forage in the wild for their food. This included foraging for herbs and greens. In a safe, chemical-free environment this provides you with variety, health benefits and freshness.
Other benefits of green food include:
- keeping your bowels healthy
- de-toxing your body
- creating an alkali pH, which is essential for health
- satisfying your appetite, preventing constant hunger
The best way to consume greens is raw. This is most palatable in a green smoothie. However, lightly steamed greens daily is better than no greens at all.
By appreciating the benefits of green food, it easily becomes part of your daily diet. Click here for more information on healthy food that keeps you trim.