Congratulations! You’ve got your NutriBlast routine down. Kale, spinach, with banana, some chia seeds and a splash of almond milk. That’s it, right?
Of course not! Obviously there’s a lot more to NutriBlasts than just one simple Blast (we’ve got a whole book written on it!), but the first thing you should do is mix up your greens. Venturing out can seem time-consuming, but it’s quite fun and very beneficial:
1.) Different Greens Have Different Tastes
The same old foods day in and day out become monotonous and boring. There are literally thousands of species of edible plants. Although all of these may not be available to us, we have the luxury of tasting varieties other than spinach and iceberg lettuce. New Blasters are best to start out with mild tasting greens like spinach, Romaine or red leaf lettuce, parsley, sweet dinosaur kale or Swiss Chard and ramp up to more bitter or spicy leafies like collards, bok choy, arugula, mustard greens, and the detoxifying dandelion greens. As David Wolfe would say, “The more bitter the better!” The darker and more bitter the green, the more benefits it contains! When was the last time you tried a green other than kale? You may be missing out on a wealth of additional phytonutrients.
2.) Different Colors Have Different Nutritional Elements
Even though we call them “leafy greens,” there are actually several other colors within the leaves. For example, Swiss chard is a beautiful sight; it comes in a variety of colors including red, orange, yellow and white. Beet greens retain that stunning red/purple color up throughout the stems and leaves. And have you ever noticed the “blue” in Lacinito Kale (also known as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale because it looks and feels like the skin of a dinosaur)? Purple or red cabbage contains anti-inflammatory anthocyanins and, an interesting side note: it can be used as a pH indicator, turning red in acid solutions and blue in basic. From the red tips of leaf lettuce to the white of bok choy and cauliflower, leafy “greens” have a whole new meaning.
Not only pertinent to leafy greens, eating the rainbow should always be on top of your mind. Here’s why:
Red – Lyopene, anthocyanins and other phytonutrients found in red fruits and veggies promote heart health, may help fight cancer, and improve memory function.
White/Tan – Contrary to popular belief, white foods aren’t so useless after all! These foods have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, balance hormone levels, lower blood pressure, and boost your body’s natural immunity with nutrients such as EGCG and allicin.
Green – Chlorophyll-rich detoxification properties are the most noted value in leafy greens. In addition, luteins, zeaxanthin, along with indoles, help boost greens’ cancer-fighting properties, encourage vision health, and help build strong bones and teeth.
Blue/Purple – Phytochemicals anthocyanin and resveratrol promote youthful skin, hair and nails. In addition, these anti-inflammatory compounds may also play a role in cancer-prevention and urinary and digestive tract health.
Orange/Yellow – Foods glowing with orange and yellow are great immune-boosters and vision protectors, mainly due to their high levels of carotenoids.
3.) Balance and Diversity
Leafy greens contain small amounts of alkaloids and other phytotoxins such as oxalates, goitrogens, arsenic, and opium in order to “warn” the unwelcomed grazers in the fields to move on to another plant family before eating it all. Some believe that over time, these alkaloids can build up in the human body and lead to negative side effects including nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, depression, or anxiety. Sounds like a scare tactic, doesn’t it?
Luckily, the tiny amount of alkaloids in leafy greens is safe when consumed in normal healthy quantities – such as the 2-6 cups a day used in your NutriBlast or salads. But for those that are even the slightest bit concerned by alkaloids, this is where the importance of rotation comes in! By rotating your greens, you prevent any chance of alkaloid build-up and you expose yourself to a variety of nutrients found in these wonderful foods. Plus, each leafy green provides different phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, micro- and macronutrients and antioxidants. Your body needs these to perform at its best. Some alkaloids found in nature have been shown to provide health-promoting properties, like the ability to boost immunity, promote heart and muscle-calming effects, house anti-asthma therapeutic properties, and help lower elevated blood sugar.
So instead of worrying about a particular substance in isolation from the rest, think about the wealth of options, nutrients, and flavors that you have at your fingertips.
A healthy body, when given whole foods and essential nutrients, does an excellent job at processing the nutrients you consume, eliminating substances it finds useless, and protecting itself against harmful invaders.
So, unless you suffer from a condition that warrants elimination of certain leafy green veggies, I encourage you to try the following, stress free!
- Kale (various types)
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Dandelion Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Beet Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
- Bok Choy
- Mustard Greens
- Sprouts (broccoli, alfalfa, radish, sunflower)
What’s your favorite leafy green?