Nutrition

You May Not Be Getting Enough Greens in Your Diet. How To Eat More Greens?

Greens

Health Professionals Say to Eat More Greens

The consensus is: eat more greens. If you put 10 health professionals in a room: credentialed nutritionists, dietitians, health-focused doctors, chiropractors, of all dietary persuasions from Paleo to vegan and ask them one question: “What should everyone eat, every single day?” 

Almost guaranteed, you will get at least five different answers. But one thing everyone worth his or her credentials will conclude: We all need to eat more vegetables. Especially leafy and cruciferous vegetables including spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Health-focused organizations agree. The Food Guide Pyramid, developed by the United States (US) Department of Agriculture, recommends three to five servings of vegetables a day. (One serving is one cup of raw leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup of other vegetables cooked or raw, or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice.)

Likewise, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture of the United Nation recommend adults consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

If counting isn’t your thing, both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and Myplate.gov recommend you make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

These and other recommendations emphasize how important eating enough vegetables is to maintain a healthy weight, reduce your disease risk, and live a healthy life. Centering meals on vegetables can prevent mental disorders, reduce heart disease, and much more.  

Why Aren’t We Eating Enough Greens?

Everyone knows how important they are, and organizations recommend we eat specific amounts, why aren’t we eating enough vegetables? Very few of us meet our vegetable quota, and getting people to eat more can be a real challenge.

Time magazine highlighted these deficiencies in an article entitled “About 90% of Americans Don’t Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables.” The article noted that based on research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 12.2 percent of American consume enough fruit and 9.3 percent eat enough vegetables.

We know vegetables are healthy and that we should eat them. Your mother told you to, your healthcare practitioner encourages you to, and your health-focused friends order lots of leafy and cruciferous vegetables when you have dinner with them.

But why do vegetables take such center stage among healthy foods?

Vegetables are Nutrient-dense

Let’s start with the obvious reason: Vegetables are a nutrient powerhouse. They come loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and dietary fiber for very few calories.

Leafy and cruciferous vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin C, for instance, which plays a big role in immune health and so much more. They’re also rich in magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in over 300 metabolic reactions and at least half of Americans are deficient in.

Vegetables are also high in fiber. Ideally, men should eat 38 grams daily and women 25 grams daily. Many of us eat half that recommended amount (or even less). Eating foods rich in fiber keep you fuller longer and steady blood sugar levels, helping you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Dietary fiber can feed the good gut bugs and maintain a healthy gut. Fermented foods such, as kimchi and sauerkraut, also provide probiotics that also help maintain gut balance. Some vegetables such as asparagus contain a special type of fiber, called prebiotic fiber or prebiotics that feed that healthy gut flora.   

Vegetables are Rich in Antioxidants

Beyond vitamins, minerals, and fiber, vegetables provide a wide array of antioxidants to quench free radicals: Highly unstable molecules that can create cellular damage.

They aren’t always harmful. In fact, free radicals are a natural byproduct of certain metabolic processes, and your body can harness these molecules to fight microbes or pathogens.

You can’t avoid them either. The food we eat, air we breathe, and even exercise all generate a certain amount of free radicals.

Your body has a perfectly orchestrated antioxidant defense system to keep those free radicals in check. But certain things, such as prescription drugs and environmental toxins, can generate too many free radicals.

Oxidative stress can occur when free radicals overtake your body’s ability to quench or detoxify these harmful molecules. That oxidative stress contributes to aging as well as many diseases including cancer, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Eating more vegetables provides an excellent way to get more antioxidants and help support your body’s ability to quench damaging free radicals. Several decades of research shows that consuming higher amounts of these antioxidant-rich foods could protect against disease.

Vegetables Can Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a slow, festering type of inflammation that contributes to nearly every disease. While numerous culprits can fuel the inflammatory fires, the foods we eat often become a big driver.

On average, we eat about 20 times more inflammatory fats in processed foods, grain-fed beef, and vegetable oils compared with healthy anti-inflammatory fats. Combine that with a low intake of vegetables, and you can understand why chronic inflammation is so prevalent.

When you don’t eat enough vegetables, you’re also missing out on antioxidants that in low amounts can have a pro-inflammatory impact.

The right anti-inflammatory foods — including plenty of colorful plant foods like leafy and cruciferous vegetables — can reduce your risk for disease. Those same foods can improve your mood and overall health.

Veggies Help Alkalize Your Body

Foods essentially fall into one of two categories: Acid or alkaline (sometimes called base). Eating too many acid-forming foods, including meat and grains, can adversely impact your kidneys and overall health.

Balance becomes key: You want to consume enough alkalizing foods along with acid-forming foods.

That’s why our Core and Advanced Plans recommend eating plenty of leafy and cruciferous vegetables and grass-fed steak or wild-caught salmon: They help create balance by neutralizing those acids in your kidneys.

According to Anna Cabeca, DO, OBGYN, in The Hormone Fix, alkaline foods can also help you lower your stress hormone cortisol and help you lose weight.

How to Eat More Greens

Even among the most disciplined of us, eating enough vegetables and leafy greens can be challenging some days.

For finicky eaters, that challenge can sometimes feel overwhelming. And picky kids or adolescents? Getting them to eat more greens, like a plate of spinach or broccoli, might feel more difficult than any other “chore” you ask of them.

Some ways to make eating veggies easier include:

  • Vegetables don’t have to be boring! Sautee them in organic extra-virgin coconut oil and garlic. Watch even the pickiest vegetable-phobe become a convert!
  • If you don’t have access to fresh vegetables, consider frozen.
  • If you can’t afford organic vegetables or they aren’t available, consult the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ to buying the least and most pesticide-ridden produce.
  • Make a big salad as your meal with dark green lettuce. Add plenty of veggies into that mix.
  • Slip leafy greens such as spinach into your smoothies.
  • Make casseroles, omelet muffins, and other dishes that “sneak in” vegetables.
  • We have plenty of delicious recipes to fit in more vegetables.

Even with these strategies, nearly everyone struggles with an occasional super-hectic day where despite your best efforts, eating five servings of vegetables just isn’t feasible. Maybe you’re traveling and you have slim pickings for vegetable options.

That’s where Max Greens can come in handy. This organic green powder doesn’t give you a get-out-of-eating vegetable pass, but they can fill in nutrient gaps on those days you struggle to eat enough vegetables.

Max Greens

Max Greens combines green vegetables with hard-to-get plant foods (including organic chlorella, immune-boosting organic reishi, and maitake mushrooms) that helps you meet your vegetable quota without any hassle.

Max Greens also contains fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics to mimic the nutrients you get in vegetables for gut support and overall health. And the enzyme blend helps better break down your food.

Plus, talk about easy: You simply add a scoop of Max Greens to water or your favorite smoothie to get all the benefits of vegetables and nutrients without preparation, cooking, and other obstacles.

You may have tried a green powder in the past with, shall we say, wince-worthy results. Many of them taste terrible. Or they come with unhealthy sweeteners or flavors to mask their terrible taste, which defeats the purpose of a healthy green drink.  

Not this one: It comes flavored with organic cocoa, giving it a great taste that adults and children love. Max Greens is certified free of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), food sensitivities like dairy and soy, preservatives, titanium dioxide, artificial colors, and flavors.

Instead, you get a wholesome blend of alkalinizing, antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory plant foods. Max Greens makes an easy, convenient way to get the antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber from vegetables in an easy-to-use, great-tasting powder.

Question answered: How to eat more greens? Max Greens!