We all know that greens are important to eat and top the list when we think about healthy foods. Greens are highly alkalizing to the body, contain a high mineral and vitamin content, and offer good fiber for bowel health. We also require greens to detoxify our body and support liver function.
From kale to spinach, and all the greens in between, here’s your go-to guide on the best greens to eat, what they contain, and their health benefits.
All hale the kale! This marvellous vegetable tops our list of healthy greens and is literally one of the most nutritious foods by weight.
Kale is anti-inflammatory, reduces oxidative stress, and is a potent antioxidant.
Kale aids detoxification.
Kale contains over 45 flavonoids including quercitin and kaempferol.
Kale helps lower cholesterol.
Kale is rich glucosinolates, which form the anti-cancer agent isothiocyanate.
Contains Vitamin A, C, K, B6, calcium and magnesium.
TIP: It is best cooked by lightly steaming for approximately 5 minutes in order to reduce the oxalic acid content in the kale. Oxalic acid in high amounts can prevent mineral absorption.
Chlorella is a single-celled, blue-green algae native to Japan. It is comprised mainly of the blood detoxifying green pigment called chlorophyll. Considered a superfood, it is rich in phytonutrients, minerals, and is high in protein – all of which support detoxification.
A complete protein with high bioavailability.
Almost 10% chlorophyll, which supports blood cleansing.
Helps to detoxify heavy metals.
Rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, beta-carotene, potassium and B vitamins.
High fiber content helps lower cholesterol.
High in essential fatty acids.
TIP: Chlorella can be taken 1-5 teaspoons at a time in a smoothie, along with a frozen banana to mask the taste if needed, or added to your healthy juice or water.
A cousin of chlorella, spirulina is one of the world’s most nutritious foods. A staple in Aztec and African diets, spirulina contains one of the highest mineral, protein and essential fatty acid contents of all the greens. Spirulina is a great vegan supplement to ensure that you get all your nutrient requirements.
Over 50% easily absorbable protein.
Rich in chlorophyll.
Rich in mineral such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Helps to lower high ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Contains all the B vitamins complex, supporting energy.
Neuro-protective for the brain.
High in antioxidants.
TIP: Add Spirulina to your smoothies, juices or straight in water. Aim for 1-5 teaspoons per day. It’s a great substitute for a protein supplement in your smoothies, and is alkalizing rather than acidifying, like commercial protein powders are.
Broccoli may seem to be the old kale, however it is not a vegetable we should be replacing. Broccoli has a whole different action on the body when compared to our other leafy friends, and it’s one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Contains an enzyme that detoxifies bad/toxic estrogen.
Supports liver detoxification.
Rich in fiber.
Reduces high cholesterol.
Rich in B vitamins, vitamin A and K.
Rich in flavonoids, to reduce allergies.
TIP: Broccoli is best cooked by lightly steaming. Those with a thyroid disorder should always cook broccoli before eating. For even higher antioxidants, broccoli sprouts pack a huge nutritional punch.
This enzyme-rich food is loaded with almost the full spectrum of nutrients. A phytonutrient-rich alkalizer, wheatgrass is an easy-to-drink superfood. Despite the name of ‘wheat’, wheatgrass is actually gluten free.
Contains around 20% bioavailable protein.
Rich in chlorophyll.
Rich in live enzymes, when juiced fresh.
Contains potent antioxidants.
Used in enemas at cancer clinics.
Alkalizes the blood’s pH.
TIP: Wheatgrass is best consumed as a fresh juice, because of all of its live enzymes. Otherwise, it can be had in powdered form: 1-5 teaspoons per day.
6. Barley Grass
Barley grass is another superfood that packs a nutritional punch. It is renown for its antioxidant and alkalizing properties.
Rich in chlorophyll.
High fiber content.
Rich in potent antioxidants.
Oxygenates the blood.
Improves wound healing.
Stimulates red blood cell production.
TIP: Consume 1-3 teaspoons in your vegetable juice, water or smoothie.
7. Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is a traditional Japanese drink that has been consumed for thousands of years and is now hitting the scene in the Western world. Matcha is green tea ground into a powder.
High in antioxidants.
Enhances calm (used by the Buddhist monk to elevate consciousness).
Boosts concentration and memory.
Raises energy levels (used by Samurai warriors before war).
Increases metabolic rate, helping to aid weight loss.
TIP: Drink organic when possible. Blend 1 teaspoon into a delicious creamy drink with almond or coconut milk, or hot water.
Alfalfa sprouts are one of the healthiest foods you can consume. They are also cost-effective and very versatile.
Rich in phytoestrogens (healthy estrogens).
Rich in potassium, thereby helping to lower blood pressure.
Supports the immune system.
Lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol.
TIP: Alfalfa sprouts can be super affordable if you grow them yourself. All you need is a jar, some protective mesh, and a rubber band. Most health food shops sell alfalfa seeds. Enjoy alfalfa in salads, on top of your stir-fry, as a side to your meals, and even in your smoothies.
Popeye was so onto it with his spinach! This simple green leaf is one to not miss on the dinner plate. Spinach has been shown to be cell protective, helping to reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer.
Rich in vitamin A, vitamin B’s, manganese, iron and folate.
Helps increase red blood cell production, reducing anemia.
Supports bowel function due to high fiber content.
High in vitamin K, for bone health.
Offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.
TIP: Spinach is delicious eaten raw or cooked. Add to salads or simply stir a handful through curries and soups to instantly boost your intake of greens!
If you ask a vegan for a staple in their diet, they will list avocado. Avocados are loaded with nearly 20 alkaline minerals, healthy fats, vitamins, and are very similar to breast milk in terms of nutrition.
Rich in the heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
High in B vitamins (including folate) and vitamins A, E, K, and C.
Rich in the minerals magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Contains lutein for eye health.
TIP: Avocados are a versatile food that can be added to smoothies, made into chocolate mousse, enjoyed in salads, mashed into a guacamole or even eaten alone.
Disclaimer: This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regime, it is advisible to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.