The term â€œgreen juiceâ€ can actually refer to a wide range of vegetables processed through a juice or blender to transform the solids into a smoother liquid.
Though spinach and kale are among the most common options, it can also include Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, wheat grass broccoli, bitter melon and many others.
The emphasis on green produce comes from the fact that many of these items carry different types of essential nutrients and vitamins than options on the other side of the food color spectrum, such as iron, Vitamin K, and antioxidants.
In addition, greens with a darker color, such as kale, also commonly have higher levels of these nutrients than the lighter green vegetables, such as iceberg lettuce, making them ideal candidates for a healthy diet.
Juicing And Heart Health
Juicing is simply a more convenient way to introduce the foods into your diet, as many juices also include other, more palatable ingredients such as fruits and similar sweeter fare.
The specific benefits of drinking green juice depend on the ingredients. For example, a juice made primarily of kale delivers a high dose of iron, approximately 1mg per cup compared to 0.4mg per cup of cabbage, according to the USDA.
Iron in particular is essential to developing a healthy heart because it is a key element in creating hemoglobin, which is a component found within red blood cells that aids the distribution of oxygen throughout the body.
If the body does not have enough iron to properly carry oxygen molecules out of the lungs, it cannot function properly and will eventually start to break down, leaving you feeling fatigued.
Overworking your body means overworking your heart, which eventually leads to a weakening of the muscle that can result in heart disease or other ailments.
Another way green juice helps keep your hearth healthy is by introducing antioxidants into the system, which carry a wide range of health benefits overall.
In terms of the heart, antioxidants help to restore damage that comes from daily activity, strengthening the walls of your heart over time and allowing it to function more efficiently.
Many green juices also feature vitamins that help keep the heart pumping properly and strongly. Similarly, the nutrients and minerals in the juices can help improve circulation by expanding the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure, which allows the blood to flow more smoothly throughout your body.
Green juices also help introduce fiber into your diet, which are essential to a healthy heart because they can lower blood cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol causes the heart to work harder than it needs to pump blood through your body because it literally blocks the passageways in the circulatory system.
Overworking the heart, combined with the lack of oxygen and buildup of toxins due to poor blood flow, can result in a heart attack or similar issues. The fiber in the green juices helps ensure proper blood flow and thus keeps your heart and body functioning normally.
Fiber also helps combat other conditions that can lead to heart disease, such as obesity or diabetes, offering an additional layer of healthfulness.
Green juice is low in calories and makes a great addition to a sensible low-calorie diet in support of a healthy weight, which in turn realty benefits heart health as both obesity and overweight are two of the biggest contributors to heart disease, heart attack, and premature death.
Regardless of the types of vegetables, you put in the juice or how often you drink them; they are most effective when combined with regular exercise and an overall balanced diet.
Eat Your Greens
Whether you throw them together in a tossed salad or put them in a green smoothie, leafy green veggies have many health benefits.
Letâ€™s see just how healthy they are.
What Are Greens?
There are surprisingly many different types of greens you can choose from.
Here are a few of the most nutritious varieties that you eat raw or throw into your recipes:
This is a powerhouse of nutrition that has everything you need in a green. It has lots of vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K as well as calcium, potassium, and folate.
Kale can be cream-colored or blackish, depending on the variety you choose. Kale can be used to substitute bread and buns in burgers and sandwiches making for a low calorie and low carb meal.
These are often used in Southern cooking and they are a lot like kale. They taste a bit more like cabbage than kale and have a chewy texture. Collards contain only 25 calories in about a half-cup serving.
These are the tops to turnips and are just as good as the vegetable itself. These are commonly used in Southern cooking like collard greens, but they are more tender than other types of greens, so they donâ€™t have to be cooked as much to be flavorful.
This has red stalks, veins, and stems on the leaves, and it tastes a lot like beets. It is a great green to sautÃ© and can bind to calcium, so it doesnâ€™t cause kidney stones. It has only about 15 calories per half cup serving.
Spinach has only about 20 calories per half cup serving and has plenty of vitamin C and vitamin A for better health. It also is high in folate. It reduces its oxalate content on heating, so it is actually better for you cooked than raw.
This is a Southern recipe green that is very similar to collard greens and turnip leaves. It comes in both green and red varieties. These greens give off a smell like mustard when cooking and should be toned down by adding lemon or vinegar, which provide acidity.
Yes, this is a green, too. It contains only 25 calories per serving and is high in vitamin A and vitamin C. It is great in stir-fries, where it adds a crunchiness.
It can also be eaten raw, in salads or as a snack with low fat dip. Broccoli goes great over pasta, in soups and in casseroles. It is one of natureâ€™s best plant foods.
This wonderful lettuce comes in red and green leaves and is great for salads, sandwiches and even juicing or smoothies. Nutritionally, it is high in vitamin A as well as in folate.
Leafy lettuce is softer than romaine, which is a bit crunchy. The darker leaves have more nutrition in them than lighter leaves. One cup is only about 10 calories.
This is a pale vegetable of the cruciferous type. It contains a great deal of vitamin C and other cancer-fighting agents. It comes as green and red cabbage, and can be cooked, stir fried, or made into a shredded Cole slaw. A Â½ cup has only 15 calories.
Iceberg lettuce. This is a blander tasting lettuce because it contains a lot of water. It is ideal for weight loss because it is very filling and great in salads and sandwiches.
It is popular but contains less nutrition in it than many of the other greens. It can be a green that people start with while working their way to eating other healthier greens. Iceberg Lettuce has virtually no calories and can be eaten liberally.
Benefits Of Eating Greens
Thereâ€™s no question that greens are good for you. Here are some of its healthier benefits:
Greens contain vitamin K, which helps clot blood. Too little vitamin K in the diet predisposes you to heart disease, kidney calcification, arterial plaques, and fragile bones.
One cup of raw greens will give you your daily requirement of vitamin K, with kale being the best, along with dandelion greens and Swiss chard.
Keep Down Cholesterol
This is true especially of kale and mustard greens. When you bind bile acids in the fiber of these types of greens, it exits the body instead of going into the bloodstream, raising cholesterol.
Help Your Vision
This is especially true of Swiss chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and kale. They contain many types of lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps filter out high energy light.
This is a type of light that can damage your eyes. They are also helpful in fighting glare, so they decrease your chances of getting cataracts.
Fuel the body. One cup of escarole when eaten raw will give you a tenth of what you need of pantothenic acid, which is vitamin B. This helps convert carbohydrates into glucose to be then be used as fuel to make energy for the body.
You need to eat B vitamins every day because they are water-soluble, and any excess will just exit the body each day.
Improve bone health. The bitter taste of many of these types of greens means they are high in calcium, which is good for your bones.
You canâ€™t get enough calcium just by eating greens, but they can help. About a 1/2 cup of dandelion greens, for example, contains 78 milligrams of calcium.
Prevent Colon Cancer
This is especially true of mustard greens and kale, which is a part of the Brassica family of foods (as are cabbage and broccoli). The more you eat them, the lower your risk for colon cancer.