People like shortcuts. Maybe it’s a symptom of our modern world, where we can get pretty much anything we want at the touch of a button.
Speaking of shortcuts, I’m often asked by friends, family and colleagues about the fastest ways to get healthy / fit / more energy (delete as appropriate).
There are two answers I always give, no matter what their underlying symptoms. Then I ask more questions and give a more detailed, tailored response.
The first answer is always – get more sleep or go to bed earlier.
I’ve talked about the benefits of sleep before – it regulates your metabolism, allows your various organs to repair and heal and allows your brain to process the events of the day. Don’t give into the current masochism around sleep – most people really need at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night to be fully functional.
And then my second answer is always – eat more fresh vegetables, especially green leafy ones.
I cannot overstate that vegetables are little nutrition powerhouses! Each vegetable has many individual benefits, with its own mix of macronutrients (protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates) and phytonutrients.
The greater the variety in your vegetable intake, the more benefit to you. When in doubt, just eat the rainbow!
Ideally, everyone would eat at least 5-7 servings of vegetables a day. I know that’s hard, so you’ll often hear nutritionists,(including me!) say to prioritise cruciferous / brassica vegetables. You know them as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, radish, bok choy and watercress.
Not only are they high in antioxidants like vitamins A and C, they are also high in folic acid and vitamin K and have a huge amount of minerals such as magnesium and potassium.
Cruciferous vegetables are also high in phytonutrients like glucosinolates which support your liver in clearing excess hormones, alcohol, xenoestrogens and environmental chemicals.
So, adding a big handful of kale to your morning smoothie after a big night out will help your liver clear the alcohol from your system and make your feel better a bit faster!
In a nutshell, adding more cruciferous vegetables into your diet can help you boost your energy levels, support your liver, balance your hormones, support your immune system and feed the good bacteria in your gut!
There are lots of ways to add cruciferous vegetables to your diet:
Add a big handful of kale to your morning smoothie
Make a big pot of soup with broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower
Make a big a*s salad with loads of different veggies in it
Grate up some cabbage for a coleslaw
Make a big tray of roasted veg
Steam some asparagus and eat them with hummus as a snack
How do you eat your veggies?