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Don’t Forget Your Greens

Don’t Forget Your Greens

by April 17, 2015 0 comments

We’re Not Meeting the Suggested Daily Intake of Fruits and Veggies

Unfortunately most of us only consume a fraction of the fruits and vegetables we all know we should. In fact on average we are only consuming 1/3 of the recommended daily intake suggested by nutritionists. With our fast pace of life and our go-go attitude we frequently neglect the important life sustaining nutrients found in fruits and vegetables and opt for fast foods that are over processed and nutrient poor. By neglecting to consume sufficient amounts of fruits and veggies we are predisposing ourselves to a greater risk of cancer, heart disease, rapid ageing, memory impairment, acid alkaline imbalance, and many other conditions to numerous to list. The likelihood of these conditions and diseases manifesting themselves can be reduced dramatically by simply consuming adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Look For Greens with a High ORAC Value

Environmental toxins, dietary imbalances and excessive free radical production and exposure challenge us daily. Free radicals are reactive compounds that when in contact with cells can damage or kill them (REF). Although free radical production is a natural process that occurs in all of us the concern lies in how many we produce and are exposed to as well as how effectively our bodies can neutralize them. Unless kept in check excessive free radical production and exposure can speed up the ageing process (REF), disrupt immune function (REF), and cause genetic mutations to cells that can then become cancerous (REF). In fact free radicals have been implicated in many of today’s common afflictions. Even conditions that you might not associate with free radical production like crohn’s (REF), ulcerative colitis (REF), and chronic fatigue syndrome (REF) have been linked. The job of neutralizing free radicals goes to antioxidants. These antioxidants protect cells from the destructive nature of free radicals and for this very reason it is critical that we consume antioxidant rich foods and supplements. Tufts University developed a new test for measuring the antioxidant capacity of foods and supplements called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) (REF). The higher the ORAC score of that food or supplement the more capable it is of neutralizing free radicals. Choosing a green food supplement with a high ORAC value is an excellent way of ensuring we are getting a formula that will protect us.

Maintaining a Healthy Acid Alkaline Balance

The foods we consume can impact the delicate acid alkaline balance of our bodies. Foods like meat, sugar, alcohol, coffee, and table salt, and factors like stress, can increase the acidity in our bodies. By contrast most fruits, land and sea vegetables, herbs and spices can alkalize your body. One can measure one’s acidity or alkalinity by purchasing pH paper and measuring urinary pH. The suggested ratio of alkalizing to acid forming foods is 80:20. Regrettably many of us are nowhere near this ideal ratio. Being too acidic increases your risk of cancer (REF), allows many pathogenic (disease causing) organisms to thrive (REF) and provides an ideal environment for conditions like arthritis (REF).

One of the other major concerns with being highly acidic is the increased risk of developing osteoporosis (REF). When we’re too acidic our body draws calcium from our bones to buffer the acidity. Being too acidic impacts two important cells involved in bone remodelling. One cell known as an osteoclast reabsorbs calcium from bone, essentially “breaking down” bone. The other cell known as an osteoblast recalcifies bone essentially “building and repairing” it. When you’re acidic the activity of these osteoclasts increases and that of osteoblasts decreases (REF). Consequently we lower bone mineral density and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Foods have differing abilities to alkalize. The ability for foods to impact acid alkaline balance can be measured through their Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL). The PRAL values for foods vary from moderately alkalizing to very alkalizing. Once again choosing the appropriate green foods that are very alkalizing can help offset our typically acidic diet.

One diet program in particular has been under increased scrutiny because of its potential risk for increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Some evidence suggests that high protein, high fat, low carb diets may increase osteoporosis risk. Of particular concern is the large quantity of meat protein and reduced fruit and vegetable intake that many “low carbers” follow. Having large quantities of acid forming meats in the absence of alkalizing fruits and veggies can especially predispose many dieters to a greater risk of osteoporosis.

What To Look For In Your Greens Formula

As stated earlier the unfortunate reality is that most of us lead such a hectic pace of life that we seldom consume the suggested number of servings of fruits and vegetables and consequently we need to look at ways of still getting all the important phytonutrients (plant nutrients), antioxidants, and alkalizing properties that fruits and veggies possess. One answer to this problem lies in the consumption of a quality “greens” formula that is rich in all of these substances. A single serving of a quality greens formula is equivalent to six to eight servings of fruits and veggies. In fact studies have shown that the antioxidant capacity as measured by its ORAC value of land and sea vegetables, and herbs is greater when it has been properly dried than when it was in its “wet” form. This is due to the fact that most of the plant materials volume is made up of water and when the water is removed properly you not only maintain its activity but you concentrate its potency.

With all this being said what are some of the important substances we should look for in a high quality greens formula that not only make up for our nutritional deficit but also provide additional supportive substances?

  1. Green Food Concentrates (barley, alfalfa, spinach, buckwheat, wheatgrass, parsley and aloe)
  2. Sea Vegetables (spirulina, kelp, chlorella, dulse and green algae)
  3. Land Vegetables (organic fermented soy, carrot, beet root, olive leaf, celery, and brown rice)
  4. Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, and watercress)
  5. Essential Fatty Acids (organic lecithin, flax seed oil, borage oil, pumpkin seed oil, evening primrose oil, and CLA)
  6. Phytonutrients (acerola, quercetin, blueberry, green tea extract, grape seed extract, bilberry and reservatrol -a red wine extract)
  7. Standardized Herbal Extracts (Astragalus, cranberry, milk thistle, Siberian ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, hawthorn, dandelion, and nettle leaf)
  8. Digestive Support (probiotic blend, FOS, the enzymes protease, amylase, lipase, and cellulase, and piperine extract that has been shown to improve nutrient delivery and absorption)
  9. Fibre Blend (apple pectin, oat bran, and inulin)

By consuming such a varied and potent greens formula you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’ve not only met your greens requirements for the day but that you’ve also consumed additional supportive nutrients to keep you healthy!

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