Healthy Recipe Series
This week we will share with you the healthiest liquid nutrition – it is time for our “world renown” Green Juice! One a day will keep health troubles away!
If you are into health and wellness, you have probably already been introduced to juicing. There are many recipes and formulas out there, but we can promise ours delivers the high nutrition with a delicious taste.
Of course, the main ingredients of the Green Juice are the green leafy vegetables, in this case kale, spinach and celery. Then, cucumbers help round out all the flavors and brings more water to the mixture, green apples are the natural sweetness of nature, parsley adds complexity of flavors and health promoting benefits and lemon and ginger add zest and more bioactive healing compounds!
Let’s dive deeper into the health benefits of some of these ingredients:
Kale, or leaf cabbage, like the cauliflower from our Cauliflower Crust Pizza (link), belongs to the species Brassica oleracea, genus Brassica, family Brassicaceae.
This highly nutritious leafy green is also a cruciferous vegetable and is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, with several health promoting compounds, such as the polyphenolic flavonoids lutein, β -carotene, and zeaxanthin. Some more commonly used cultivars are Tuscan kale or lacinato kale, Blue curled, Red Russian and Scottish curly leaf.
Health benefits of Kale1,2,3
- Very rich source of the antioxidant and anti-cancer flavonoids zeaxanthin (6261 mg/100 g), ß-carotene (2873 mg/100 g) and lutein.
- Similar to other vegetables of the Brassica family, like cauliflower, kale is a powerhouse of cancer fighting phytochemicals, namely sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol.
- Also contains DIM (Di-indolyl-methane), a potent immune modulator, antiviral and antibacterial.
- The fresh leaves contain polyphenolic antioxidant compounds flavones like apigenin and flavonols such as isorhamnetin, kaempferol, quercetin, etc.
- Source of antioxidants due to the presence of vitamins C, carotenoids and antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase.
- Also exhibit antimutagenic action, owing to the presence of polyphenols and organic sulfur compounds.
- Brassica vegetables are also rich in glucosinolates. These substances may affect the elimination or neutralization of carcinogenic and mutagenic factors, and consequently inhibit DNA methylation and cancer development.
- Excellent source of vitamin-K (390 µg per 100 grams of fresh leaves; more than 300% RDA), well known for its effects on blood coagulation and potentially relevant effects on bone health and the vascular system.
- Great source of vitamin-A (4812 IU per 100 grams of fresh leaves; 160% RDA), protective against certain cancers and essential for vision, skin and mucosal health.
- Good source of vitamin-C (93.4 mg per 100 grams of fresh leaves; 156% RDA), the powerful antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals and fight infection.
- B-complex vitamins are also present in good amounts, namely riboflavin (B-2), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9).
- Source of minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Spinach is a leafy green flowering plant, Spinacia oleracea, botanically belonging to the family Amaranthaceae, genus Spinacia. Its dark-green leaves are a common edible vegetable, very appreciated for their tender and flavorful characteristics.
Spinach can be consumed fresh (raw) or cooked, and the taste, texture and nutrient content will differ greatly. Raw guarantees full preservation of nutrients however, raw spinach contains high levels of oxalates, which may inhibit calcium absorption and increase calcium kidney stone formation. Nevertheless, recent studies highlight that, although “certain segments of the population do seem to be at greater risk of increased oxalate excretion, and consuming oxalate-rich foods may play a possible role in kidney stone formation4, other factors such as food preparation techniques, calcium intake, endogenous oxalate production, and intestinal health may play a larger role than once thought4.” Soaking, boiling or steaming oxalate-rich foods and consuming adequate amounts of calcium and potassium have demonstrated effectiveness in minimizing oxalate from foods. Furthermore, as the same researchers point out, “oxalate-containing foods possess an array of protective, beneficial compounds which may outweigh any possible negative effects of oxalate4.”
Spinach has a high nutritional value, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds. This nutritional value is best maintained when fresh, frozen or steamed. Other methods of cooking will considerably decrease the nutrients in spinach.
Health Benefits of Spinach5,6
- Excellent source of iron (2.71 mg per 100 g, 34% RDA), essential for hemoglobin synthesis and function, for the formation of red blood cells and oxygen transport and central to many enzymes involved in cell division, growth and energy production.
- Great source of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C, and the polyphenolic compounds flavonoid, such as β-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Antioxidant compounds help reduce the harmful effects of free radicals and may prevent or delay cell damage, many diseases and help fight off infections .
- Excellent source of vitamin-K (482.9 µg per 100 grams of fresh leaves; 402% RDA), essential for blood clotting, but also bone and vascular health.
- Spinach leaves are also an excellent source of vitamin A (9377 IU per 100 grams of fresh leaves; 312% RDA), which, like mentioned for kale, can be protective against certain cancers and is also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin and for night vision.
- Another antioxidant vitamin that we have written about before and is present in good amounts is vitamin-C (28.1 mg per 100 grams of fresh leaves; 47% RDA).
- Vitamins from the B-complex, such as thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9), are also present in good amounts.
- Good source of certain minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium and copper.
- In terms of macronutrient constitution, raw spinach contains about 91% water, 4% carbohydrates, 3% protein and negligible fat. The leaves contain only 23 calories per 100 grams and 2.2 grams of fiber.
Celery, scientific name Apium graveolens, is an herbaceous plant of the parsley family, Apiaceae, genus Apium. Originally from the Mediterranean basin, celery has been cultivated for hundreds of years and was primarily known for its medicinal purposes, only later praised for its strong aromatic flavor in worldwide cuisine.
Celery is rich in many nutrients, vitamins, minerals and flavonoid antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Celery8,9
- Rich source of flavonoid antioxidants such as β -carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants play a crucial role in disease and cancer prevention and treatment.
- Excellent source of vitamin-K (29.3 µg PER 100 grams of fresh leaves; 24% RDA), which, as mentioned for spinach, is essential for blood clotting, bone health and blood vessels.
- Good source of vitamin-A (449 IU per 100 grams fresh celery; 15% RDA), a natural antioxidant.
- Celery is also a good source of folate, providing about 9% of the daily value.
- Good source of minerals like sodium and potassium, calcium, copper and manganese.
- In terms of macronutrient constitution, 100 grams of celery leaves contain only 16 calories, consisting of about 95% water, 3% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and negligible fat. It also contains a good amount of non-soluble fiber.
Some of the key benefits of the other ingredients in our Green Juice:
Cucumber – Moderate levels of antioxidants such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A, ß-carotene and α -carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein10.
Green apple – Naturally sweet. Good source of fiber, vitamin C, rich in antioxidant phytonutrients polyphenolics and flavonoids, such as quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B211.
Lemon – Excellent source of vitamin-C, citric acid and highly alkalizing. Rich in flavonoids hesperetin, naringin, and naringenin. Limonene has anti-cancer effects and helps increase the level of enzymes that detoxify carcinogens12.
Parsley – Excellent source of vitamins K, A, C and folate. Good source of minerals potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Highly antioxidant: rich in antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin, and antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, β-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zeaxanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin13,14.
Ginger – High in gingerol, with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger extract and its major bioactive compound 6-gingerol have been reported to exert anti-tumor effects in various cancers. A study published in 16th of June 2022, demonstrated that “ginger inhibits tumor growth via promoting mitochondrial biogenesis and function of T cells15.”
Wow!!! What an amazing list of nutritious foods with so many associated health benefits in our Green Juice.
Now, for the recipe…. so you can start making our healthy, delicious green juice for yourself!
Here is the full recipe for our Green Juice:
- Makes: 1 Quart • Prep time: 20 minutes • Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 bunch lacinato kale
- 4 handfuls spinach
- 2 cucumbers
- head of celery
- 1 green apple
- ½-1 lemon (with rind)
- ¼-½ bunch parsley
- 1 thumb ginger
Wash and cut all produce to an appropriate size for your juicer. Feed produce into the juicer, alternating between ingredients to prevent clogging.
Taste your juice and adjust the flavors accordingly:
- Lemon and ginger add zest
- Parsley adds complexity
- Celery adds depth
- Cucumber rounds out the flavors
Drink your juice soon after making it to avoid oxidation. Otherwise, store in a glass mason jar with a hermetically sealed lid. If sealed and stored in the refrigerator immediately after juicing, you can store in the refrigerator for up to one day.
Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica. Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.
Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection. She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.