Monday, January 10, 2011

Challenge For Week #1

Our challenge for the week is to eat at least one serving of green leafy vegetables every day. You can eat them raw in salads or green smoothies or cooked. 1 cup is 1 vegetable serving of greens. My favorite way to eat greens is in my daughter-in-law Alli's green smoothie. Here's her recipe:

1 banana (frozen is best)

1/2-3/4 bag of spinach (I also like to use Kale)

6 large frozen strawberries

1 T. Agave nectar

6 ice cubes

1 cup cold water

Blend and enjoy! Looks weird but tastes like a glass of fresh! Serves 2!

Eat Your Greens!

A nutrition professor once said that it was common for our ancient ancestors to eat up to six pounds of leaves per day. He imagined them walking along from one place to another, just picking and eating leaves as they went. Can you imagine eating a grocery bag full of greens each and every day? Few of us even eat the minimum USDA recommendations of 3 cups of dark green vegetables per week. And yet, these veggies deliver a bonanza of vitamins, minerals, and

Health Benefits

Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, perhaps the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Dark green leaves even contain small amount of Omega 3 fats.

Perhaps the star of these nutrients is Vitamin K. A cup of most cooked greens provides at least nine times the minimum recommended intake of Vitamin K, and even a couple of cups of dark salad greens usually provide the minimum all on their own. Recent research has provided evidence that this vitamin may be even more important than we once thought (the current minimum may not be optimal), and many people do not get enough of it.

Vitamin K:

Regulates blood clotting

Helps protect bones from osteoporosis

May help prevent and possibly even reduce atherosclerosis by reducing calcium in arterial plaques

May be a key regulator of inflammation, and may help protect us from inflammatory diseases including arthitis

May help prevent diabetes

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, so make sure to put a dressing containing some oil on your salad, or cook your greens with a bit of oil.

Almost Carb-Free

Greens have very little carbohydrate in them, and the carbs that are there are packed in layers of fiber, which make them very slow to digest. That is why, in general, greens have very little impact on blood glucose. In some systems greens are even treated as a "freebie" carb-wise (meaning the carbohydrate doesn't have to be counted at all).

So that is your challenge. Eat at least a serving of greens every day! I hope this is a habit that you will continue for your whole life!

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