Eating your Greens is good but why?

Reason 1:

Vegetables are alkaline and balance acidic food.

Physical and mental ‘stress’ creates an acidic response in the body, foods such as cake have lots of sugar that is very acidic. Our kidneys, liver, pancreas are very good at balancing the level of acidity. However, vegetables and fruits are mostly alkaline which cut down the amount of work our organs have to do the balance. The cells in our body like a slightly alkaline environment ph7.1

Ph scale: 1 is very acidic (stomach acid) and 14 the other end of the scale is bone (calcium)

Interesting to note that although acidic foods imbalance the cells in the body we also need them as they are more energy-dense, for example, oats are more acidic. Important: the acid mentioned is post digestion not the taste in the mouth.

If you are a meat eater make sure you have a small amount as it is acidic with a large number of greens to balance.

Reason 2:

Greens are cooling according to Chinese and ayurvedic medicine.

The energies of food can be cooling, neutral or warming, watery foods such as cucumbers, pears and melons are all cooling and typically what we should be eating in the summer. dense meats such as lamb are warming and better for you in the winter. If you are prone to rashes and redness on the skin this is a symptom of ‘heat’ within the body and eating cooling green vegetables will help reduce this.

Reason 3:

Eat your water! Greens are less energy dense and fill you with useful fibre to help water absorption (this happens in the large intestine), they also hold lots of water a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet will on average drink less as much of the water will be supplied by the vegetables.

Reason 4:

Following the Chinese medicine, green vegetables are the Yin to balance the Yang high energy foods. When it comes to a ‘balanced diet’, a term used but not understood, we can look at our plate to see if we are overdoing the Yang, energy dense and therefore giving our digestive system too much work to break down fats and proteins and ‘up the veg’

Reason: 5

Greens have the most vitamins and minerals compared to any other foods. Brussel Sprouts are the champions topping the bill in all categories. It is true that nowadays the vitamin and mineral content is lower than it used to be due to the degradation of the soil, so we may need to supplement vitamin B12 & D for example* but if we increase the intake of many different vegetables, kale, spinach, beetroot, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spring onions, garlic, leeks, olive oil, nuts and seeds, we are unlikely to be deficient in any of the basic A, B, C, E & K vitamins.

Bonus Reason:

The gut needs a good compost to work properly and vegetables help produce this resulting in good gut flora!

For more topics on nutrition and fitness I have two facebook groups: 11b Allotment Nutrition that posts every Friday, and Caspar’s Core ClubΒ for answers to your fitness based questions

*Vitamin B12 is important for the nervous system to function properly and unfortunately many of the population are deficient as the meats they eat are grain feed not grass fed, B12 is produced from the bacterias in the grass that is eaten and digested by the animal. Vitamin D is best absorbed through the skin (sunlight) and is needed for calcium absorption.

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Written by

caspar chamberlain

Personal Trainer and Nutrition Advisor