A diverse diet is key to great health.
This is probably the only statement that is universally accepted across all of the nutritional world. Humans cannot rely on one type of food.
There is, however, one type of food that has no side effects and contains more nutrition per calorie than any other type.
Greens leafy vegetables!
Why greens are so nutrient-rich.
Plants create all the energy that animals need through photosynthesis.
And plants are the only food source that animals have.
Even more, all plant foods are either the plants themselves (greens) or their energy storage organs for reproduction (fruits, tubers, seeds, nuts, grains, legumes). The energy storage organs of a plant need to contain all the nutrients that the plant itself is made from.
That means that the leaves of spinach or broccoli have all the nutrition spinach/broccoli need.
And since all animals rely on plants are their source of nutrition, the leafy parts of the plant must contain the highest concentration of nutrients.
All-in-all, green leafy vegetables are the primordial food from which all life began and it makes sense that it is nutritionally the most complete food.
Greens have it all!
Let’s start with the big boy: Protein. We are brainwashed that we need to eat meat to get protein. But no animal makes protein.
All protein is made on the leaf of a plant through photosynthesis! Greens are the only source of protein for all life and a great source for humans!
Healthy fats – greens are rich in unsaturated, healthy fats with a high percentage of those as the hard-to-come-by Omega-3s
Vitamins and minerals (calcium included) – as we established, it’s logical that greens are the richest source of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. And the science is clear that it is so!
Antioxidants keep plants healthy. An apple goes bad a lot faster when you remove its antioxidant-rich peel. Leafy greens are super antioxidant-rich since leaves are constantly exposed to the elements and need protection.
Phytonutrients galore! Phytonutrients are a large group of nutrients that perform important functions in the body and are exclusively found in plants. And greens… they are probably the most abundant source.
What is nutrition anyway?
When people talking about nutrition, they usually talk about single nutrients, why are these nutrients important, how to get them, etc.
Protein, carbs, fats calcium… These are all important but these are simply some of the many nutrients we need to function.
We know so much about these nutrients as specific food producers have brought them to our attention a lot. And they are important but nutrition is so much more.
No matter how much calcium you eat, without enough vitamin K, you cannot get strong bones and teeth. And the best source of vitamin K is greens.
Nutrition is the symphony that all the nutrients, big or small, play together. We need to make sure we get them all in proper amounts.
And nothing is more abundant in nutrition than greens!
Our cousins, the great apes
We share over 95% of our genetic code with great apes such as gorillas and chimpanzees. It makes sense then that we should look at what they are eating as well!
All apes have one thing in common – they eat at least 30% of the calories from leafy greens. Some gorillas eat 95%+ of their calories from greens.
And remember, greens are a low-calorie food! If a 400-pound gorilla needs to eat at least 1000 calories daily that means 12 pounds of greens a day. And that gorilla might eat up to 4000+ calories of greens per day! That’s a lot of greens!
If you eat just 30% of your daily calories from greens, that means about 500 calories or more. That’s 6 pounds of spinach, broccoli or kale!
Six pounds of greens will provide you with all the calcium, all the vitamins, all the iron, manganese, all the Omega-3 fats you need and beyond.
You don’t need to eat pounds of greens a day, though. Just aim for at least ¼pound a day. There is no limit, though, the more, the better.
How to eat greens every day?
Well, big salads are the first thing that comes to mind. It’s hard to make time for a big salad every day, though!
Juice and smoothies, for us at least, are the answer.
Throw a banana, orange and a ¼ pound of spinach in the blender and you have a delicious, sweet and nutritious health drink.
Some carrots, orange, ½lemon, apple and red cabbage in the juicer and you are in for a treat. The combinations are endless. And cabbage is abundant in the winter!
Don’t forget that big salad! Some lettuce, ¼pound arugula, lemon, apple, some canned corn, and ground flax makes a superb and superbly healthy salad!
Mix and rotate your greens
Us, humans, need a diverse diet, remember?
Well, that means that we need to eat different greens. No animal in the wild eats spinach all year round.
In the jungles of Africa, where we come from, plant life is diverse and our ape cousins eat around 100 species of plants!
That does not mean you need to live in the jungle. Simply don’t eat pounds from the same greens every day, Rotate a dozen greens that you have access to and you will get all the nutrients you need!
Eat some beans with the greens
Greens are great for micronutrients but they are a low-calorie food.
Many people think that because they have eaten a lot of voluminous greens, they have eaten enough and wonder why they have no energy.
You need to make sure that you eat enough starchy vegetables such as legumes, whole grains, and potatoes for energy. And fill up on those greens for superb nutrition!