Healthy food has been all the rage the past few years. A lot of people are trying to integrate the so called ‘superfoods’ into their diets. Green superfoods, in particular, are slowly moving into the limelight. To date, it is estimated that there are 100 varieties of superfoods available in the market.
Green superfoods are the primary ingredients in energy bars, smoothie powders and even in gluten-free cereals. They are claimed to be the most nutrient-rich foods that are guaranteed to give your immune system a much needed super boost!
So, without further ado, here are some of the most popular green superfoods:
This is one of the most adaptable dark leafy greens. It’s also one of the most popular green superfoods, and for a number of good reasons. High fiber kale is packed with all kinds of healthy compounds, making it a certified nutritional powerhouse. Aside from being an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, it also contains generous amounts of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
You can make kale chips, sneak it in smoothies, add to stir fries, or use it the base of your favorite salad. You’ll reap a ton of benefits once you include kale into your daily diet. Here are some of them:
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Protects eyes from harmful UV rays
- Helps with safe and natural weight loss
- Kale has properties that can fight cancer
- It also has anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties
This is a common ingredient in green salads. Also known as rocket, this lesser known cruciferous vegetable is ranked as one of the top 20 foods when it comes to Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI score), which measures vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content in relation to caloric content. In order to achieve a high ANDI score, a food must contain lots of nutrients for a small amount of calories.
Arugula is rich in folic acid and vitamins A, C, and K, making it a natural fighter against free radicals. It also contains calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and over 250mg per 100g of nitrate.
High dietary intake of nitrate has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve muscle oxygenation during exercise, and enhance athletic performance. For expectant mothers, incorporating arugula in their daily diet can be very helpful. It contains high quantities of folate which helps hinder the development of mental defects in newborns. Moreover, arugula has an exceptionally low level of oxalates which inhibit the absorption of minerals into the bloodstream.
It is a blue-green algae which nutritionists recommend because of its concentrated levels of calcium, copper, iron, and protein. Growing in both fresh and salt water, spirulina comes in tablet form, flake or powder. It boasts an array of essential nutrients like chromium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc. It is also rich in vitamins A, B C, D, and E, along with powerful antioxidants and essential amino acids. Lastly, it contains gamma linolenic acid and omega-3, 6, and 9.
A major health benefit from spirulina is that it is capable of detoxifying heavy metals. For instance, arsenic toxicity is a serious global concern as drinking water of several countries is affected. When mixed with zinc, spirulina is effective in neutralizing arsenic. Recent research also indicates that it combines with radioactive isotopes and can help in radiotherapy or radioactive exposure.
A tablespoon of spirulina only contains 20 calories, and approximately 80% of those come from protein, making it an excellent choice for maintaining muscle and metabolic health. In addition, spirulina contains all 9 essential amino acids; hence, it is beneficial to those who are trying to reduce their intake of dairy, eggs, or meat.
This is of great value as a food source because it can grow in different climates, particularly in subtropical ones. As a matter of fact, Moringa oleifera thrives in almost all countries being plagued by malnutrition. Health experts consider it as a vital component of a plan to alleviate malnutrition across the globe.
Moringa is packed with vitamins (A,C,E), minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. It is also loaded with calcium, potassium, and protein. Regular intake of moringa powder has shown multiple health benefits. It is effective in lowering glucose and lipid levels, and it also helps in regulating oxidative stress among diabetics.
Studies reveal that this superfood may help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease because it contains substances that improve the brain function by fighting oxidation. It also treats allergies, anemia, asthma, chronic headaches, fluid retention, and kidney stones.
Other notable benefits include the following:
- Antioxidants in the leaves can help reduce inflammation
- Increase milk supply in breastfeeding mothers
- Protection against arsenic poisoning
- Increase in libido or sex drive
- Natural energy booster
This vegetable may look intimidating but a lot of people enjoy its slightly nutty flavor. So aside from being palatable, artichokes are considered as a nutrient powerhouse. They are chock-full with antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, E, D, and K. They also contain minerals including calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranked artichoke number 7 in antioxidant content, meaning it strongly fights malignancy, particularly breast and prostate cancer. The antioxidants present in artichokes also promote the repair and regrowth of damaged cells in the liver.
Artichokes have also been shown to reduce inflammation of the gallbladder and help unclog blocked ducts in the organ. Subsequently, they stimulate the synthesis and secretion of gastric enzymes, thus promoting a healthy digestive system.
These small cabbage-like heads have been associated by kids with bitter taste. True, there’s an icky taste, but their benefits definitely outweigh the bitterness. Brussels sprouts have a high concentration of protein and vitamins A, B6, C and K. They also contain huge quantities of iron, manganese, potassium, and thiamine.
These cruciferous vegetables have been shown to protect against cancer, fight heart disease, balance blood glucose levels, boost the immune system, promote good digestion and healthy skin. They can also detoxify your body and help maintain good vision.
Brussels sprouts contain fiber-related nutrients that bind to bile acids, helping them to be excreted. This prompts the body to replenish its supply of bile acids by using stored cholesterol, thereby reducing it. A study revealed that steamed Brussels sprouts managed to bind 27% as many bile acids as ‘cholestyramine’, a known cholesterol-lowering drug.
This superfood grows from the seed of Triticum aestivum, more commonlyknown as the wheat plant. It is available in various forms including powder, tablets, and juice. It is considered as one of the healthiest and most complete green superfoods. It contains high quantities of chlorophyll, amino acids, antioxidants, iron, selenium, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K.
Wheatgrass can be consumed in several ways and it is beneficial to virtually every part of your body. For starters, it helps in getting rid of acne, eliminates body odor, treats sunburn, slows down the signs of aging, prevents tooth decay, and eradicates dandruff.
Lots of people also use wheatgrass to relieve nasty hangovers, menstrual cramps, and treat the common cold.
Not many are fond of this perennial flowering plant because it tends to make your pee smell. However, you must appreciate the benefits instead of grumbling over the odor.
Asparagus is a nutrient-dense superfood with a truckload of folic acid. It is also an exceptional source of fiber, thiamine, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, and C. Aside from these, asparagus can protect your skin from sun damage and slow down the aging process, thanks to its high antioxidant content.
The folate in this bright green veggie prevents homocysteine from accumulating in the body. An excess of homocysteine interferes with the synthesis of the ‘feel-good hormones’ serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Other health benefits include the following:
- Acts as a diuretic so it helps eliminate excess fluid and salt
- May also lower the risk of depression
- Can help you achieve your weight-loss goals (asparagus is low in fat and calories)
- A good source of vitamin K which is important for coagulation and bone health
- Can help protect against neural tube defects among expectant mothers
This cruciferous vegetable is native to Italy and is available all year-round. It is another on the list of green superfoods that is an excellent source of beta carotene, fiber, folate, and vitamins C and K. Aside from that, broccoli also has minerals including calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
It also offers generous amounts of antioxidants, phytochemical, and phytonutrients. These bioactive compounds fight against malignancy, particularly cancer of the breast, colon pancreas, prostate, and urinary bladder.
Broccoli is likewise known for lowering blood pressure, maintaining pH balance, helping repair skin damage, promoting healthy digestion, discarding bad cholesterol, and lowering the risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Not only are pistachio nuts tasty, they are also incredibly healthy. Interestingly, folks have been munching pistachios since 7,000 BC. Today, the nuts are popular in a variety of dishes, including desserts and ice cream.
Compared to other kinds of nuts that we snack on, pistachios contain less calories. They are rich in antioxidants, protein, oleic acid, potassium, and phosphorus. Other beneficial minerals include calcium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
Pistachios are one of the most vitamin B6-rich foods in the market today. Vitamin B6 is crucial for a number of physiological functions, including regulation of blood sugar and the formation of hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in erythrocytes or red blood cells.
By far, the most remarkable benefit that pistachios offer is its ability to promote a healthy heart. Eating the nuts on a regularly basis can lower bad cholesterol levels. They can also provide relief from constipation, reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration, promote healthy weight loss, and treat diarrhea.
So there you have it…with ample knowledge about green superfoods, it is time for you to go green and reap the benefits. Try to load up on these healthy options and be on track to a better and healthier you!