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Do you really need to eat greens?

You hear the advice to eat leafy green vegetables all the time but do they really matter? The most common reasons for eating them include the fiber and the folic acid.

Greens don’t really have that much fiber and folic acid is fortified in even the unhealthiest of foods.¬†Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 8.02.42 AM

1 serving of spinach has no more fiber than popcorn and less than 1/4 the fiber of a serving of black beans. It also has the same amount of folic acid as wonder bread. So what’s the big deal?

Often times the advice to eat them is sound but the advisors are unclear on the real mechanism of benefit. Studies have shown repeatedly that diets higher in greens lower the risk of many types of cancer including breast, lung, colorectal and prostate.

Many think the benefit comes from the benefit greens have on our body’s detoxification mechanisms.

We ingest many chemical wastes from our diet, our air and from our skin. We also make many wastes inside our body’s as a byproduct of forming energy. This is just like a car makes exhaust.

The majority of these wastes are processed by our liver. After the liver does its thing, these wastes are sent to our intestinal tract to be carried out with our stool. Here’s the problem: many modern chemicals that are in our stool on their way out, actually seep back into our blood stream in the colon.

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 8.02.21 AMThe name for this is enterohepatic recirculation. This means our intestines recirculate things back to our liver. Sometimes this is helpful like in the case of bile acids or cholesterol. Yet for many modern chemicals like pesticides, solvents and toxic metals, this means they may recirculate in our bodies so long, they never really get out.

What is the remedy for this? Remember Kermit the frog saying “It isn’t easy being green?” In the case of your poop and the chemicals in your body, remember it IS easy being green. The more pigment from green foods that finds its way to your stool, the more wastes leave for good. With green foods the more the better. Focus most on frequency. A little bit of spinach with several meals will give you more benefit than a larger amount less often.

That’s the real reason to eat greens.

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