The best way to boost nutrition in your body is by eating plenty of vegetables.
Among the many vegetables that provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and proteins for your body, greens are some of the most important.
Eating plenty of dark leafy greens supports your bones, reduces inflammation and fights off cancer threats.
Some studies report eating leafy greens support mental health and reduce memory issues later in life.
But eating enough greens every day can be hard for many.
Salads take time to prepare and many don’t enjoy the flavor of dark greens.
Lighter colored greens, like iceberg lettuce, are often more palatable, but relatively low in nutritional value.
Kale, spinach and collard greens, on the other hand, may require an acquired taste to get past a small serving.
Fresh greens can be juiced to condense their nutritional value into a simple drink, but this often takes a lot of time and produce.
You can juice your own greens, but you want to use a slow juicer (masticating juicer) for best results.
A juicing machine that heats up too much with speed can lower the nutritional value of your juice.
The best juicers for making green drinks will get plenty of juice from the greens.
In fact, the ability of a juicer to juice greens can be the best test, seeing how capable it is of pressing juice from the leaves.
Ideally, you want any froth created by greens juice to be low.
You will need a lot of greens for a juice and you will not get the fiber content of fresh leaves.
Most fresh juices will begin to lose nutritional value right away, lasting a max of 24-48 hours in the fridge (adding a little fresh lemon juice can help naturally preserve the greens).
However, freshly juiced greens still offer a great nutrient boost and typically produce a noticeable jolt of natural energy.
Are there easier solutions to getting daily servings of greens?
Greens Powders and Mixes
Sometimes a lack of time or access to constantly fresh produce means finding a convenient solution to supplement a regular diet.
Greens powders are a great way to get in some much-needed nutrients when you cannot consume all the veggies that you would like to.
But just like with any supplement, it is important that you do not become reliant on the greens powder for the bulk of your veggie intake.
Because anytime you process something you lose some of its nutritional value.
Greens powder can still help fill some gaps if you are struggling to get in 6-8 servings each day.
If you are looking for a good greens powder, you will want to find:
USDA organic: Avoiding chemicals and pesticides that may be on greens and could cause nasty side effects when ingested
If you can’t find organic, make sure it doesn’t have any of the Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies in it (twelve fruits and veggies more likely to absorb harmful chemicals—watch out, spinach and kale make this list!)
Make sure it does not have any unnecessary additives, like gums (ex: xanthan gum), emulsifiers and artificial flavors. The drink should add to your nutrition for the day, not giving your body more “stuff it needs to detox out.
Superfoods: Look for a greens drink that is centered around ingredients with the most nutritional value. Ingredients like kale, Swiss chard, collard greens and spinach should be high up in the ingredients of a good greens supplement powder.
Greens powder can make it easy to get in servings daily.
The mix will only take a few seconds to blend into cold water.
It can have a strong, green flavor that isn’t very appealing for many.
If you already struggle with vegetables, you might find that green powder is difficult to ingest.
Some blend their greens into Kombucha to add flavor to that green kick.
Other options for making your greens drink taste better can include:
Blending with banana or mango (turning it into a smoothie)
Mixing it into power balls or protein balls
Eating More Fresh Greens
Veggies are best in the form that is closest to nature, which is in their non-processed form.
Slipping greens into soups, stews, omelets, quiche or pastas can be an easy way to get in a serving without much hassle.
But, it is important to realize that heat will destroy some of the nutritional value.
It is better than not getting your servings in, but the truth is raw greens are the best for you!
Including more raw, dark, leafy greens into your diet will improve your nutritional intake.
Harvard Medical School says most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits, noting only about 9% meet the recommendations for vegetable servings each day.
One great way to get more fresh greens into your diet is blending them into smoothies!
You can blend several ounces of green leaves with some fruit into a delicious drink packed with complete nutrients.
Try this simple recipe:
1 cup greens (like spinach)
½ cup frozen berries (like strawberries or raspberries)
Coconut water, coconut milk or almond milk
Simply blend the ingredients until smooth, adding more liquid until you reach a thick drink consistently.
Drink immediately while cold!
Try substituting the banana for frozen (or fresh) mango.
Try adding a little freshly squeezed lemon or a dairy free yogurt.
There are many smoothie recipes that will help you sneak in fresh leafy greens in all their nutritional glory, but look out for smoothies that are high in fruits (or sugar) and don’t provide a lot of nutritional value.
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