This is the first of our series on nutrition from Emma, one of our cycling instructors and a health coach.
At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned many different food philosophies. In one of my favorites, the Ayurvedic tradition, each season calls for a different “antidote” diet. In the winter our body counteracts the dryness with wet, sweet foods but in the spring, it’s the complete opposite. The spring’s moisture, which softens the ground for seed germination, calls for an antidote of spicy (pungent), bitter and stringent foods. The spring moisture also opens up the tissue of our bodies making it the perfect time for detoxification and cleansing.
A great cleansing food is the leafy greens. They are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine. Densely packed with energy and nutrients, they grow upward to the sky, absorbing the sun’s light while producing oxygen. Members of this royal green family include kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, watercress, beet greens, bok choy, napa cabbage, green cabbage, spinach and broccoli.
How do greens benefit our bodies? They are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc, and are a powerhouse for vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Their color is associated with spring, which is a time to renew and refresh vital energy. In traditional Asian medicine, the color green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Greens aid in purifying the blood, strengthening the immune system, improving liver, gall bladder and kidney function, fighting depression, clearing congestion, improving circulation and keeping your skin clear and blemish free.
Emma is currently studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is eager to share what she has learned. Please reply to the blogpost with any questions you have for Emma.