We all know that leafy greens are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients and vitamins, as well as protein and essential minerals, and make a wonderful addition to your daily diet. In fact, one of the most efficient ways to alkalise your body is easily achieved by drinking ½ litre of fresh green juice with greens powder alongside additional fresh greens like spinach or kale, cucumber, celery, parsley etc. This will provide you with a substantive 2000 mg of ‘alkalinity’ in the form of a variety of alkalising mineral compounds to help neutralise any excess acidity.
However, you can all have too much of a good thing! Raw leafy green vegetables are embedded with a small amount of compounds, like alkaloids, phytic acid and goitrogens, that may be deemed anti-nutrients or even toxic; if consumed in high levels for long periods these compounds may interfere with your body’s unique biochemistry. For example, phytic acid in spinach leaves can bind to essential minerals, like zinc, reducing its gastrointestinal absorption. Oxalic acid, in large quantities, may be problematic for people who are prone to specific oxalate kidney stone formation and goitrogens found in brassica family of greens has been noted to interfere with thyroid function when consumed in high doses by people with low levels of iodine.
However, you should not avoid consuming greens just because of these modest factors. By lightly steaming your greens you can reduce the potential of goitrogens affecting your thyroid function. Phytase, a plant originating digestive enzyme, can be also taken as part of a digestive enzyme complex to help increase bioavailability of minerals from plant material in your diet.
If you really want to enjoy eating raw greens then consuming a couple of handfuls of organic spinach or kale leaves everyday is deemed perfectly safe, and good for you.The easiest way to ensure your greens intake only enhances body biochemistry is to rotate your greens.
Throughout the week use a variety of leafy greens in your diet to ensure that your body is not relying on one source and so you can take advantage of the myriad of nutritional benefits each type or family of greens has. The cruciferous family includes kale, rocket, cabbage, bok choi, mustard and radish greens, as well as broccoli. Spinach, chard and beet greens make up another green leafy vegetable family (Amaranth family), as do dandelion and romaine lettuce (Daisy family) and fennel, celery, parsley and coriander (Umbelifers family).
So enjoy your green smoothie for breakfast and keep a stock of different leafy greens in to enjoy through the week.
After all, variety is the spice of life!