In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day March 17th, I’d like to help you discover what adding more green foods to your plate can do for your health. Plants are green because of the chlorophyll they contain, which has been described as the “life-blood of the plant” and “liquid sunshine” when juiced. After the green color is stripped away during the fall, other beta-carotenes are exposed underneath in beautiful hues of red, orange, yellow and even purple. These colors of leaves, fruits and vegetables along with green, act as sunblock for the plants so they don’t get burned in the direct sunlight. Humans and other mammals also benefit from this protection internally, so eat plenty of these colorful foods throughout the year.
Greens such as spinach act as protectants for the eyes because they contain . These antioxidants are used by the body to manufacture carotenoid zeaxanthin, another antioxidant which also supports healthy vision and may improve macular degeneration.
Spinach contains beta-carotene as well as other phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and protein. It is very high in vitamin K which aids in the function of at least 12 proteins in the body. Vitamin K helps with the blood, bones, arterial walls and the brain, to name a few. It is also needed to help clot blood. The greener the plant, the higher amount of vitamin K is available so eat plenty of dark green vegetables.
Studies show that men and specifically women who eat a lot of vitamin K rich foods, especially spinach, have denser bones and fewer hip fractures. This may explain why spinach is the food of choice for Popeye.
Glutathione is considered “nature’s master antioxidant”i which is contained in spinach along with alpha-lipoic acid. Glutathione is known for detoxifying pollutants and carcinogens, maintaining the function and health of the liver, and boosting the immune system. It also aids healthy cell replication and repairing of aged DNA. Chronic inflammation has also been known to be reduced by this antioxidant.
Raw spinach is very healthy and is known for its anti-cancer properties, but cooking it is also very beneficial. The iron, beta-carotene, lutein, vitamins and minerals are actually more bioavailable in its cooked state.
Kale is another powerhouse that is known as one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It may also help fight off infection. Broccoli has been shown to be very beneficial for people with lung disease and is even shaped like the lungs. The Doctrine of Signatures suggests that fruits and vegetables are often shaped like the areas in the body they help protect. This would be one of those areas.
As you can see, the color green, when it comes to food, is very high in nutrients and disease-fighting properties. It is also the color of things that are alive, fresh and cleansing. Create a green day every day of the year by adding plenty of this color to every meal. Your body will thank you.
Yield: 1 cup
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, packed
6 Tablespoons pine nuts (pecans or walnuts may be substituted)
1 ½ – 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavor)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or vegetable broth
3-4 Tablespoons water as needed
1. In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients except oil and water.
2. Mix well, then add a stream of olive oil or vegetable broth and then water while mixing the ingredients until mixture is pourable like a sauce.
3. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.
4. Serve over vegetable pasta or other warm grain pasta as desired.
Wendy P. Thueson is owner of Raw Chef Wendy, LLC. She is a certified Chef, Master Herbalist, and Raw Food Coach. She is passionate about the healing power of plants and sharing her message of hope with others because of her life changing experience regaining her health in 2009. She suffered from chronic fatigue for 28 years, debilitating neck and back pain, brain fog, stuttering, Grave's disease, and hypoglycemia to name a few. Wendy began eating a high amount of raw foods and using herbs medicinally. As a result, she is now symptom, pain and medication free. She educates all ages through hands-on classes, speaking at various events, and has been featured on television, radio and in magazines. She has authored several books and online programs to help others learn how to eat and live happier lives. She is an adoring wife and mother of four. You may find her at www.rawchefwendy.com