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Behold the Freaky Power of Greens!
Okay friends, here's the short version, to wit: Dark leafy greens rule the nutritional cosmos with a vast, emerald, iron fist! If they were any nutrient-denser they'd be made of diamonds! They are the big time, major league, heavy duty, mutant freaky maha nutritional powerhouse in a gazillion ways you never even thought of. Eat ‘em. A lot. Longer version follows.
Greens Kick Cancer’s Ass
Joel Fuhrman, M.D. (author of Eat To Live) discusses (in that book) why greens are the most nutrient-dense of all foods. Romaine, he says, “…is a rich powerhouse with hundreds of cancer-fighting phytonutrients that protect us from a variety of threatening illnesses…” (He goes on to mention that, “In a review of 206 human population studies, raw vegetable consumption showed the strongest protective effect against cancer of any beneficial food.”!)
Another Tiresome Litany of Nutrients
In SuperFoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, Steven Pratt, M.D., and Kathy Matthews tell us that dark leafy greens give us a synergy of multiple nutrients/phytonutrients, lutein/zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, Vitamins C and E, B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, B6 folate), minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc), polyphenols, betaine. And that’s just for openers.
Green Tornado of Cleansing
David Wolfe, in his classic The Sunfood Diet Success System, says: “Green-leafed vegetables are always the best source of heavy alkaline minerals” calcium, magnesium, iron, etc… “Green-leafy vegetation is also an excellent detoxifier of the liver…The calcium, magnesium and iron in deep green and wild green vegetation bind with heavy metals, chemicals and chemical drugs and allow the body to wash them out as salts through the urine.”
A Chlorophyll Party in Your Veins
He also talks about the chlorophyll in greens: “Chlorophyll is the pigment in plants within which photosynthesis takes place. It absorbs the vibrant Sun energy and transforms it into plant energy. This energy is transferred directly to you when you eat chlorophyll-rich foods such as green-leafed vegetables.” Chlorophyll is a well-known blood and liver cleanser.
And: “The heart concentrates magnesium at a level 18 times greater than what is found in the blood. Magnesium is the primary alkaline mineral in chlorophyll. An abundance of greens in the diet strengthens the heart.” Lastly, he says: “Green leaves soothe the nerves and calm the body. Those with chronic back and muscle pains should be sure to eat plenty of green vegetables. Green leaves relieve pain. Green-leafy foods decrease the overall stress of the body and facilitate yoga practices.”
Protein and Fiber and Silica, Oh My!
Dark leafy greens are also very high in fiber, which not only has countless crucial health benefits, but also is the bulk that actually causes us to feel full! They also have these beautiful lightweight proteins called polypeptides that are great at building new tissue. And silica! Don’t even get me started on the silica! Greens are loaded with silica! Got silica coming out their ears! This you must have for strong, resilient bones and healthy hair, skin and nails. Pound-for-pound, and calorie-for-calorie, greens also have many times the amount of protein that steak does.
The Summing and the Eating Up
So, like I said, eat ‘em up. Woof ‘em down. Big, honkin’ mounds of ‘em. Mostly raw. Juice ‘em, stuff ‘em into your blender for green smoothies, make salads big enough to get lost in, chop ‘em up and put ‘em in wraps and roll-ups, have a bowl of them as a base for a healthy Mexicali feast (Romaine, tomatoes, avocado, raw corn niblets cut fresh off the cob, salsa [Seinfeld was right—say that again, just for fun: “Salsa!”], and, if you want some cooked stuff, some beans.) Hang 'em up all over your walls to keep away the vampires.
Well, okay, maybe not that last one.
Be Devious With Your Inner Child
And don’t tell me you hate greens. Why? Cuz’ everyone hates greens. They’re bitter, dull and nasty. But eating greens isn’t about eating greens. Eating greens is ALL about what you eat them WITH; it’s the “with” that makes them palatable. So, yummy raw dressings (like tahini-miso!), raw olives and cut up mangoes in your salads (for example). Blueberries and coconut in your smoothies. You get the idea. You have to artfully sneak them down yourself (the secret is thinking of yourself like a 5 year old). Works every time.