Green smoothies are all the rage, promising an array of nutrients and health benefits. They make for a great, nourishing breakfast that helps to awaken the cells and tissues in the body. A green smoothie is also an excellent food option to refuel the body after a hard workout. However, you can be shooting yourself in the foot by including the same leafy green in every smoothie you make.
Changing up the greens in your smoothie is just as important as blending the ingredients with a high-speed, high-quality blender. Although you can’t overdose on spinach or kale, you can eat too much of these greens, which can lead to alkaloid and oxalate build-up in the body. When a person experiences an alkaloid build-up, for example, fatigue, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat, depression, and anxiety can potentially ensue. In small quantities, these nutrients are harmless. In fact, small quantities can help enhance immune function!
How Often Should You Rotate Your Greens?
The great thing about leafy greens is that there are many to choose from. There are different greens that belong to different families, so alternating between these plant families can help you avoid toxic build-up. In fact, it’s best not to consume the same leafy green twice a day, or even day after day. Ideally, you should rotate a minimum of two types of greens from two separate leafy green families throughout the week. The different leafy green families include:
- Amaranth (spinach, chard, & beet greens)
- Cruciferous (kale, cabbage, arugula, and collards),
- Apiaceae (cilantro, carrot tops, and celery), and
- Asteracea (romaine lettuce and dandelion greens)
There are no wrong greens to include in your smoothies, but it’s best not to eat the same foods every day for better, overall health. Consider the following reasons on why you should rotate different greens in your smoothies.
You’ll find goitrogens in the cruciferous family of plants, which includes broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. According to research, consuming too many goitrogens can increase the risk of hypothyroidism, an under-active thyroid. You don’t have to avoid cruciferous vegetables, though. In fact, they exhibit anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that benefit health. It’s better to only consume goitrogen-rich foods a couple time per week in your smoothies. Greens that are low in goitrogens include romaine, spinach, Swiss chard, collards, herbs, and most lettuce varieties.
Alkaloids exist in almost every plant and they do not harm your body, unless you consume a concentrated amount from the same plant daily. The body does like variety, people! When you consume too much of the same vegetable every day, there is no diversity in the type of alkaloids entering the body. Concentrated amounts of the same alkaloid can upset the digestive system, or even contribute to intolerance to that specific food. Greens with the lowest alkaloids include lettuces, asparagus, arugula, celery, and herbs.
Belonging to a group of organic acids, oxalates are made by humans, plants, and animals. The human body contains oxalates that cells create from other substances like vitamin C. The body also uses certain foods to produce oxalates. Greens like spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens are naturally high in oxalates, and high oxalate levels in the body may increase calcium deposit build-up. Similar to alkaloids and goitrogens, there’s no need to fear oxalates; rather, you should simply use oxalate-rich greens once or twice per week, as opposed to every day. Greens that are low in oxalates include most herbs (except parsley), arugula, kale, and romaine lettuce.
One of the best things you can do for your health is vary the fruits and vegetables that you eat. The reason for this is because different produce items exhibit different nutritional profiles. Some vegetables may help to cleanse the blood, while others may help to reduce inflammation. The same rules apply to fruits! In regards to green vegetables, though, you want to vary the consumption of them to avoid excess accumulation of alkaloids, oxalates, and goitrogens.
Similar to the way the body craves a variety of nutrients and foods, your taste buds also yearn for different flavors. Unhealthy food cravings can arise when you eat the same foods every day. Change up your greens in your smoothies so that you keep your taste buds interested in smoothies. We have an array of smoothie recipes on our website and you can view them by clicking here. Try some exotic flavor combinations or keep it simple and delicious.