Monday 6 July, 2020

Turn your diet around with leafy greens

By Meisha-Gay Mattis 

Vegetables. Ugh! Most of us hate to even hear the word. It's been drummed into us since childhood how essential they are to our health. I hate to sound like a broken record, but they are indeed important and you have to find a way to get your required daily intake.

If there is one type of vegetable that you must incorporate into your diet, it’s leafy greens. Add them to your diet today and you’ll be surprised to see the significant improvements to your health.

What’s so special about leafy greens? Leafy greens to me is what tea is to most Jamaicans. They are the most potent in the land of fruits and vegetable. Although they are the most nutrient-dense foods, they are ones that are most often missing from the modern day diet.

When you think leafy greens, think renewal and replenishment. Green vegetables neutralize toxicity and acidic conditions in our bodies because of the high alkalinity present within them. If you are really looking to build your immune system, incorporating leafy greens in your diet is a must.

Greens boast a spectacular nutritional profile, high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Additionally, they are stacked with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytonutrients. The phytonutrients found in leafy greens are: EGCG, flavonoids, coumestans, isoflavones, lutein, isothiocyanate and zeaxanthin.

Some great benefits of consuming leafy greens are:

- Blood purification

- Cancer prevention

- Improved circulation

- Strengthened immune system

- Promotion of subtle, light and flexible energy

- Improved liver, gallbladder, and kidney function

- Cleared congestion, especially in lungs, by reducing mucus

- Promotion of healthy intestinal flora

Here are a few of my favourite leafy greens:

- Kale

- Spinach

- Swiss chard

- Cabbage

- Romaine lettuce

- Iceberg lettuce

- Callaloo

- Bok choy or Pak choi

- Parsley

- Arugula

- Collard greens

- Mustard greens

Leafy greens are very versatile and aren't just for salads. Try sneaking them in your meals as much as possible. Add them to your breakfast in an omelette. Steam or saute them on the side. Another great method is to make them into a green smoothie. They are very filling and perfect for on the go and can be paired with other fruits and vegetables. Just find a way. Your body will thank you for it.

Contributed by Meisha-Gay Mattis, founder of Bodhi, a Kingston-based holistic wellness company. She is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Personal Fitness Trainer. Email for more information or visit any of the following 

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