Adding More Greens into Your Diet

The benefit of eating greens

Some of the most nutrient dense foods to include into your diet are are leafy greens and wheatgrass.  Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in green plants, and is considered the “blood of the plants,” due to the similarity to our blood in molecular structure.  Drinking juice made from greens can contain up to 70% chlorophyll.  When we have access to chlorophyll, our bodies are able to manufacture high-quality red blood cells which transport oxygen throughout the body and the brain. People who follow the Standard American Diet are in desperate need of the cleansing and detoxification which can be obtained from chlorophyll. Chlorophyll also has the ability to mobilize heavy metals that have accumulated in the body, and is one of the greatest food substances for cleansing the bowel & the other elimination systems of the liver and kidney.

Certain leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, cabbage, bok choy, romaine, wheatgrass, carrot greens, beet greens, and dandelion greens are all superstars in nutrition that should be a mainstay in all anti-cancer diets.  They can easily be steamed, sauteed as a side dish, added to salads, soups and stews, run through a masticating juicer or blended into smoothies.

How to make a green smoothie

My favorite smoothie recipe has a variety of fruits combined with leafy greens, but this recipe can be modified by adding a variety of super-foods to give it more of a nutritional kick.

  • Add your favorite greens: spinach, Swiss chard, kale, arugula, bok choy, watercress, and dandelion just to name a few.
  • Add your favorite fresh or frozen fruits.
  • Hemp seeds
  • Some green foods powder for the benefit of wheatgrass and chlorella.
  • Add some super-foods:  amla fruit powder, raw cacao nibs, maca root powder, moringa powder, bee pollen, camu camu powder, hemp or chia seeds.
  • Add ice if you are not using frozen fruits. Smoothies taste best when they are ice cold.
  • Add enough liquid such as filtered water, almond milk, coconut water, coconut milk, etc to give your smoothie the desired texture.
  • Blend until smooth

Making a side dish with greens 

A simple recipe for cooking with greens is to lightly saute them until wilted using cold pressed coconut oil, add salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or balsamic vinegar upon serving.  This recipe is great for using the greens from carrots, radishes, beets and turnips as they are much higher in vitamin A, C and K and antioxidants than the root vegetables obtained from them.

Kale- is a rich source of organosulfur compounds, which have been shown to reduce the risk of many cancers, especially one of the most deadly forms, colon cancer. The cancer-protective compounds in kale have thus been the subject of intense research, particularly their role in blocking the growth of cancer cells and inducing cancer cell death (apoptosis).  Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods that you can eat.  It is packed with vitamins and minerals, especially high in vitamins A, C, B6, and K and is a standout for antioxidants (especially carotenoids and more than 45 different flavonoids) including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, kaempferol, quercetin and glucosinolates, an anticancer nutrient.

Organosulfur compounds known as glucosinolates are present in the cruciferous vegetables of the Brassica genus family. These compounds are broken down into potent anticancer compounds called isothiocyanates in the body, which are powerful inducers of cancer-destroying enzymes and inhibitors of carcinogenesis. Scientists have found that sulforaphane, a glucosinolate formed when kale is chopped or chewed, works by altering gene expression, helping to clear carcinogenic substances from the body more quickly. It is believed that sulforaphane triggers the liver to produce detoxification enzymes called phase II enzymes, which help neutralize cancer-causing substances.

Such beneficial enzymes induced by kale and other cruciferous vegetables include quinone reductase4 and glutathione-S-transferase. In experimental studies of cancer formation, quinone reductase has been shown to dose-dependently inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Meanwhile, in a study of patients with lung cancer, a high intake of cruciferous vegetables has been found to reduce the risk of lung cancer by 39% only in those with a beneficial variant of the gene called GSTM1. This gene produces the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which detoxifies carcinogens in tobacco smoke. Other studies reveal that sulforaphane helps support a healthy immune system, which is a key component in staving off cancer. Sulforaphane has been found to significantly enhance the production of several chemicals that are involved in the immune response, such as interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma. In other research, sulforaphane has been shown to have a more direct effect on cancer prevention, especially in colon cancer, inducing cancer cells to destroy themselves. This was seen in a recent study in which animals were genetically bred to develop intestinal polyps, a condition that leads to tumor formation. This group of animals was then fed sulforaphane and found to have higher rates of apoptosis (cell suicide) and smaller tumors that also grew more slowly than animals who received no one of the most nutrient dense foods that you can eat.

A simple kale salad

1 bunch of kale, 1 lemon, 1 avocado.
Strip the kale from the stem and put into your bowl, add the juice of one lemon, and then mash them together with the meat of the avocado until it is creamy (clean hands work best for this).
The lemon juice and the meat of the avocado will mix together to make your dressing. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. You can use this recipe as your base and then add whatever vegetables you desire.

How to Make Kale chips

Eating greens if you have thyroid issues:  symptoms of hypothyroidism can include weight gain, heavy menstrual periods, fatigue, depression, cold intolerance, arthritis, muscle aches, dry skin and hair, thinning hair, brittle nails, puffy face, slow heart rate and constipation.

Goitrogens are naturally-occurring chemicals that are found in certain raw foods such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, radishes, spinach, arugula, turnips, millet, and mustard greens. Goitrogens can interfere with thyroid function in two ways:  first by the production of antibodies that can cross-react with the thyroid gland, or they can interfere with thyroid peroxidase (TPO) which is the enzyme responsible for adding iodine during production of thyroid hormones. Either way, the thyroid isn’t able to produce the hormones that it needs to regulate metabolism properly.

When people with healthy thyroid function eat goitrogenic foods, the thyroid can easily compensate and make more of the hormones that are needed.  But when people with a compromised thyroid function eat goitrogenic foods, the thyroid gland may actually grow larger as it tries to keep up with hormone production and this may eventually form a goiter (which is a swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland) and their symptoms will worsen.

Foods that you can safely juice if you suffer from hypothyroidism include: carrots, beetroots, and their greens, Swiss chard, celery, romaine lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, asparagus (is a thyroid supporting vegetable), and ginger root.

Note: rotating goitrogenic veggies, fermenting, or lightly steaming these foods will eliminate the problem so you can continue to add them into your diet.  You can lightly steam them and then blend them into a smoothie along with the water that was used to steam them.

rotating your greens
Rotation:  Use this chart to help you rotate between the various plant families, this should be done about every 2 weeks. Rotation is necessary because all leafy greens contain small amounts of toxins that work as the plants defense mechanism from predation. For example, goitrogens in kale and other brassicas can interfere with the thyroid hormone function in susceptible individuals, and oxalic acid, which is found in spinach, can also be problematic in high amounts. Regular rotation between the families helps to keep this from becoming an issue.

Additional Reading

Read an article about green smoothies

Read an article about juicing

Daily Greens blended with broad spectrum of fruits and vegetables

Natural Strategies For Cancer Patients

Related Articles
Cancer is a wake up call which needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.  It is the result of an overly toxic body with an overwhelmed and collapsed immune system due to eating nutritionally depleted diets, exposure to toxins, and having poor lifestyle habits. Research an anticancer diet, adding supplements, detoxing the body, and making lifestyle changes so you can address a cancerous situation with a multifaceted approach.


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