You have always heard eat your veggies. You also always hear you need to get your greens. Let's discuss why it is we hear that all the time.
Benefits of Greens
Many are helpful to the liver in cleansing and triggering the body to dump toxins. Many have a bitter taste to them so when you chew them they activate receptors that get the liver dump and colon to dump.
Many greens have deep roots that go deep into the earth to pull up minerals that are very important to us. Plants help convert the minerals so that they are in a form we can absorb. They are often filled with magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and other great minerals and vitamins. However, digestion has to be working well to be able to extract the minerals. How you prepare them can help support you to digest those minerals.
Greens, specific to cruciferous vegetables, are helping to flush the liver are also helping to manage estrogens in the body. This is part of their impact on the liver.
The greens support the P450 enzyme system that supports liver detoxification.
Cruciferous vegetables have phytonutrients and are high in antioxidant activity, which helps neutralize free radicals in the body. They also have sulfur to them which supports many things in the body like joints, they are filled with Sulpher. The cruciferous vegetables are also filled with lutein which is supportive for eye health.
Red cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and kale contain goitrogens. This blocks your body from ingesting Iodine which is important for thyroid function.
Concerns with Greens
If you are someone with a compromised Immune system raw greens have toxins that can create infections. You should not be eating raw greens if you are compromised. Yes, some of the natural aspects that irritate the system can help the body to activate NRF2 mechanisms but you need plants that have been fermented, cooked, or sprouted to take away the toxins that can cause infections.
If greens are not organic you will have substances on them that will work in a negative way. You want to make sure you are getting organic to avoid glyphosate as much as possible.
Oxalates crystals can come from your leafy greens they can cause irritation and stones in the kidneys. If you have problems with this I would not do heavy amounts of greens and work on how you digest healthy fats. If you are going to do greens I would get yourself greens that have been through the processing of low heat and are grown organically. Remember while greens have benefits if you are eating grass-fed meats you are getting the benefits of them in the meat from your free-range cows.
There are various chemicals sprayed on leafy greens to keep them fresh, Chemicals such as copper sulfate, rhodamine oxide, malachite green, and the deadly carbide are the ones most commonly used to accentuate coloration and freshness. This is why you should bet soaking and washing the greens, even ones in the bags, or you are getting high levels of toxicity.
Certain raw vegetables have higher than usual toxicity especially when they are raw. Rhubarb is one of those highly toxic vegetables, others that can cause infections easily would be raw tomatoes, radishes, and celery. Some hospitals will treat raw foods with radiation before serving them to cancer patients. "More cancer patients die from infections than from the disease" A whole food Primer, Beatrice Trum Hunter. Rather than the radiation, I would recommend you sprout, ferment, or cook them.
When cooking you should scrub the vegetables with water and apple cider vinegar, if you can let them sit for 20 mins in that solution that would be beneficial. Then cooking them slightly to help open up the vegetable and break down the fibrous skin around it. Cooking the vegetables that contain goitrogens you are reducing the substance from blocking iodine absorption.
Most greens you want to serve with fat as they have good fat-soluble nutrients in them and it helps you to absorb those nutrients when they are eaten with quality fat. Cooking in grass-fed butter is a good way of doing this or adding a homemade dressing with fats in the dressing.
Greens are nutrient-dense that however does not mean we need to have a day full of them in every meal. All foods play key roles in our nutritional health. When it comes to vegetables and greens you need them organic and prepared properly to get the true benefits. Like always you need a healthy digestive system to absorb all nutrients. Vegetables and greens can cause digestive distress for many who have issues in their digestive system. You may need to take a break from them while working to support gut health the fibers can negatively damage the gut wall. If you are needing help feel free to set up a wellness consult or a Zyto scan.