Taste: Spinach smoothies provide a significant amount of vegetable-based nutrition in a pleasant-tasting drink. Many people find it difficult to eat enough vegetables for proper nutrition because of their bitter taste, a problem they may not outgrow. The ability to taste bitter foods lies in genetic differences that originally conveyed the selective advantage of helping early humans avoid poisonous plants. Today, these same genes cause many individuals to avoid eating nutritious foods, such as spinach, because they taste bitter. Masking the bitter taste of spinach by adding more pleasant and sweet-tasting fruits such as mangos, oranges, blueberries and apples into a smoothie can override your natural aversion, allowing you to receive the nutritional benefits of otherwise unpleasant-tasting vegetables.
Cancer Prevention: Adding spinach to smoothies increases your intake of carotenoid compounds. Carotenoids from green leafy vegetables may decrease the risk of prostate cancer, according to a 2001 article in the Journal of Nutrition. Cartenoids not only induce prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, they also prevent their replication. Spinach also reduces the risk of ovarian, bladder, liver and lung cancer due to flavanoid, folate, tocopherol and chlorophyllin compounds.
Bone Health: One cup of fresh spinach leaves blended into a smoothie provides almost 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K prevents osteoclast activation, an activity that breaks down bones. At the same time, vitamin K stimulates osteocalcin activity, which anchors calcium molecules inside of bones. Spinach also provides two essential bone-building minerals: calcium and magnesium. It also contains other bone-building nutrients, including manganese, copper, zinc and phosphorus, all of which help strengthen bones and decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
Cardiovascular Health: Blending spinach into smoothies keeps your heart healthy. Spinach provides vitamin A and C, antioxidants that reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals in your body. These antioxidants prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized, building up and sticking to your blood vessel walls, thereby decreasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. Factor C0-Q10, another antioxidant in spinach, strengthens muscles, especially your heart muscle, preventing and treating many cardiovascular diseases like hyperlipidemia, heart failure, hypertension and coronary heart diseases.
Spinach also contains folate and magnesium, high potassium levels and low sodium levels, all of which decrease your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease (see reference 1 and 3).
Raw Versus Cooked: Adding any citrus fruit to a smoothie containing raw spinach increases your body’s ability to absorb many of the beneficial nutrients in spinach, including iron. Raw spinach also contains higher proportions of vitamin C and the antioxidant gluathione than cooked spinach. While raw spinach contains a significant amount of oxalate, a substance that binds to calcium and prevents its absorption, the overall decrease in available calcium for healthy individuals is relatively small, and is taken into account in the determination of the daily recommended intake values for calcium.
Christmas is a time of celebration, but it also tends to be a time of high-fat, high-calorie food. Being part of the Christmas celebration without sabotaging your health goals may be difficult, but it is definitely doable. The key to eating healthy at Christmas is to plan ahead, bringing your own snacks and dishes if necessary, so that you don’t get caught unaware and end up filling up on unhealthy options.
By Lucas - YOGABODY Naturals LLC.
"The right foods can increase your flexibility immediately!”
Sounds crazy, right? Well, it’s true. This is not science or theory; it’s a real-life, student-tested fact. If you eat a water-dense, plant-based diet with lots of superfoods, you’ll notice flexibility gains within three days.
Don’t take my word for it—just try it!
Below is a shortlist of my favorite Superfoods. Buy them fresh or low-temperature dried, and purchase organic whenever possible.
Dark Greens: Dark green vegetables are some of the most mineral-dense foods on the planet, and waterborne greens or sprouted greens are even better waterborne greens usually have 2-10 times more minerals)
My favorites: Spirulina, chlorella, barley grass juice extract, wheat grass, kale, parsley, all seaweeds and sea vegetables, chard, and spinach.
Prehistoric Grains and Seeds: Today, the most nutrient-dense foods are what I call the prehistoric plants; the ugly, brown-colored, intimidating dry good you see in plastic bins at the health food stores.
These are commercial crops, but nutritionally-speaking, they more-closely resemble their ancestors. They take a little extra work to prepare (cooking or sprouting), but it’s well worth it.
Shopping List: Millet, quinoa, amaranth, wild rice, bulgur, sesame seeds, sprouted seeds of clover, broccoli, mung beans, and radish.
Superfats: Most people get their fat from inferior, animal-based foods like milk, ghee, cheese, butter, and meat. In animals’ bodies (and yours), built up toxins like pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and pollutants are most-often deposited in fat cells.
To make things worse, animal fat also contains the notorious LDL (bad) cholesterol that can lead to damaged arteries and heart disease. No wonder fat has such a bad reputation!
Foolishly, many people today try to avoid all fats when really, they should be avoiding animal fats. Plant fats are not only good for you—they are essential for health and wellness and MUST be eaten on a regular basis. Good fat give you sustained energy, heals your body, and balances hormones.
Shopping List: Raw almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, avocado, coconut, durian, and cold-pressed oils (olive, coconut, hemp, flax, and sesame seed are all great).
Who Superfoods? Yoga students put heavy demands on their body, often neglecting to replenish their system with nutrient-dense, natural foods that will keep them healthy and strong.