January brought the long-awaited new food guide for Canadians, and although there is room for improvement, the new focus on fruits and vegetables is certainly a step in the right direction. Many plant foods are known as superfoods because they provide an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients without a lot of excess calorie-packaging. In other words, they’re super good for you.
But if you were one of the majority of Canadians who struggled to eat half of the recommended 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables on the old guide, how much easier do think it’s going to be to fill half your plate with plant foods? And even if you do enjoy your plant foods, many of those veggies are about 20% less nutritious than the ones you might have eaten 20 years ago. Despite your best efforts, then, you might still be missing important nutrients. Consider adding a greens superfood supplement to your daily health regimen to fill those nutrition gaps.
Green is good
Greens supplements are a concentrated source of nutrients in powdered form that you can add to water, juice, soups or smoothies. These formulas frequently contain antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and grasses that you might not include in your daily menu. For example, whether you like them on your plate or not, you can benefit from important phytochemicals like indole-3 carbinole (I3C) from green brassica vegetables including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and watercress when you consume them in your superfood supplement. I3C stimulates detoxifying enzymes in the gut and liver, and may help to reduce cancer risk.
But green isn’t the only colour in the rainbow and shouldn’t be the only in your superfood supplement. In fact, researchers have determined that plant pigments provide much more than a simple feast for your eyes: Those antioxidant pigments, including carotenoids (yellow, red, orange and brown) chlorophyll (green) and anthocyanins (red, purple and blue) serve up a generous helping of health benefits. Superfood supplements provide easy access to these nutrients from foods you might otherwise not eat on a regular basis – especially if you aren’t a seaweed or algae fan.
Under the sea
Marine vegetation is rich in proteins, polysaccharides, fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and polyphenols. Spirulina, for example, is an eco-friendly source of phycocyanins, which are responsible for its blue-green colour. While you may not have heard of this antioxidant pigment-protein complex, researchers have been studying it for years for its ability to protect the liver and thwart free radical damage to nerve cells. Phycocyanins have been shown to play a protective role in cancers of the breast, liver, lung, colon and bone marrow. Studies also suggest that phycocyanins are antihypertensive, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating. Spirulina is also a good source of amino acids.
Red pigments, like those found in nori, provide significant amounts of vitamin B12, which makes this sea vegetable an excellent source of the hard-to-acquire nutrient. Also in the red family, dulse (Palmaria palmata) has been found to promote anti-inflammatory activity, which may be due to its phycobiliprotein and chlorophyll. Dulse is also high in B12.
Brown seaweeds have a place in your superfood drink, too. Wakame and kombu are a good source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which many people do not consume in adequate quantities. These omega-3 fats are critical for eye, brain, heart and skin health. Brown sea veggies also provide fucosterol, which is a plant sterol that amplifies the effect of powerhouse antioxidants superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase. Perhaps most exciting as we ease into skin-baring, warmer weather, however, is the potential impact of wakame and kombu on our collective waistlines: Research shows that the carotenoid fucoxanthin may provide anti-obesity and anti-diabetic benefits.
Build a solid nutritional foundation to bolster your mental and physical health. VegeGreens® by Progressive Nutritional is a comprehensive superfood supplement that provides the nutrient equivalent of 6 to 8 servings of fresh vegetables. The delicious-tasting supplement provides over 60 land and sea nutrients, and includes herbal adaptogens like ashwaghanda and Siberian ginseng to support your stress response. Anti-inflammatory plant oils including borage and evening primrose help to maintain hormone health. Vegetables like beet root, dandelion and parsley help to support natural detoxification pathways.
Obviously, it’s important to fill your plate with a colourful medley of plant foods. But isn’t it great to know that VegeGreens® daily superfood supplement is a simple solution for filling the gaps?
Sunshine in a Glass Smoothie
2 cups spring water
Handful of kale or spinach
Half an orange
Half an apple
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1 scoop Progressive® VegeGreens® – Pineapple Coconut flavour
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.