In our March 2013 edition of Healthy Bites, the diet and nutrition newsletter for health-conscious families from Brain Balance Achievement Centers, we’re providing recipes for getting more dark green leafy vegetables in your family’s diet and discussing their benefits. Find an excerpt below, and stop by your nearest center for a copy of our full newsletter and for more information about The Brain Balance Program.
Benefits of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
By Christie Korth, CHC AADP
Do you know which color of vegetables is the most nutritious and beneficial in our food supply? Here is a hint: Studies show that Americans eat the least of this color vegetable vs. the others. The answer comes as no surprise: dark green, leafy vegetables.
These vegetables are packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, minerals, and an abundance of phytochemicals so vast that nutrition professionals are still trying to uncover all of their goodness. Examples of dark green, leafy vegetables are kale, bok choy, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and Swiss chard. Does your family consume these green foods on a regular basis? If you are like many families in the US, you may need to get more of these important vegetables on a regular basis.
Green foods are crucial to our health for a plethora of reasons including their role in strengthening the immune system, cancer prevention, improved blood circulation, blood purification, lowering cholesterol, promotion of healthy intestinal flora, increased energy, detoxification through improved liver, gall bladder functions, kidney function, and even clearing congestion.
ADHD, Autism, and Toxin Overload
A recent 2010 Study in Pediatrics firmly concluded that there is now a direct link between pesticide consumption and the onset of ADHD. Our children are now exposed to more pesticides and chemicals than ever before. In Dr. Robert Melillo’s new book, Autism, he writes about the role these environmental factors play in preconception and how they may impact your child’s health. For children with Autism or ADHD, greens are of even greater importance. Not only are green leafy vegetables a top pick for their stealthy nutritional content, but they are highly regarded for addressing the digestive and/or toxicity issues which generally occur among children with disorders on the spectrum.
Our liver is powerhouse filter, pivotal in eliminating toxins in the body and crucial for digestion. Many of the children we test at Brain Balance show signs of liver toxicity and impaired digestion. Please understand, liver toxicity does not mean a child has liver disease, but rather, the liver is burdened with toxins that make it sluggish. When the liver becomes sluggish, it results in an impaired ability to perform its job. Toxins could come from the varnish on your floor, fertilizer sprayed on the lawn, perfumes, dyes, foods, cleaning products and the like. Aside from toxin removal, the liver plays a huge role in digestion. So, when the liver is compromised, digestion is too. The good news is the liver is amazingly regenerative. So no matter what you may have consumed in the past, it’s possible to start improving the health of your liver by making good choices about what you put in your body.
Not sure how to get your kids to eat green foods? Here are some of my favorite tips for incorporating greens into a child’s diet.
Add them to your child’s favorite soup. Does your child like chicken soup? Simply chop up some spinach and add to your next homemade soup. Eating organic canned soup? You can add anything from kale to swiss chard. It does very little to change the flavor and most kids are fine with it.
Add greens to your smoothies: Simply blend some pineapple, apple, coconut water, and kale for a refreshing, apple-y tasting treat. You can not taste the greens at all. Don’t want to attempt this on your own? No worries. Try out Odwalla® Green Goodness or Naked® Juice Green Machine drinks.
Try Roasting Broccoli: This solution is simple and really tasty! Many kids like the rich, sweet flavor of roasted broccoli. Pair with some grilled chicken, peppers, and roasted pineapple, and you’ve got a great meal. Simply chop 1 bunch of broccoli, toss with 2 tsp olive oil and sea salt. Serve warm.