Romaine, spinach and kale are possibly the most popular greens eaten in America today, but no matter how healthy they are, there are multiple reasons to rotate your greens and eat a few other leafy greens in your diet too. Most everyone that juices or drinks smoothies uses kale and spinach every single day. I used to be one of you until I learned what it was doing to me. I started developing stomach problems, extreme fatigue, bloating and joint pain. Later, I learned some reasons to rotate your greens and branched out from my “comfort greens”, as I call them. Luckily, I found many other delicious greens to eat instead like parsley, cilantro, chard, mixed lettuces, basil, and arugula, just to name a few. If you eat the same greens each day, check out my favorite reasons to rotate your greens in your meals, and buy a few new ones this week!
Unfortunately, no matter how highly nutritious spinach and kale are, one of the main reasons to rotate your greens is not to eat these two most popular in excess for their goitrogen content. What is a goitrogen, you might ask? Goitrogens are natural substances mostly found in all cruciferous veggies like spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, collards, bok choy, cabbage, and many other foods as well. When eaten in excess, they can hinder certain thyroid hormones, which can cause low thyroid, or hypothyroidism. Symptoms of low thyroid include joint pain, fatigue, bloating, and generally just not feeling up to par. If your diet always includes the same greens and you have these symptoms, be sure you change up the variety of your greens.
2. You’re Missing out
Different leafy greens all have different benefits, and if you’re eating the same ones regularly, you’re missing out on the nutrients found in many others. For instance, cilantro and parsley are wonderful for alkalizing your blood and cleansing the liver. They’re also high in chlorophyll and easy to digest. Basil is really rich in anti-inflammatories and it also helps relieve stress in just a small amount. We often overlook the lettuces at the store, but red and green lettuces contain many benefits like Vitamin K, magnesium and Vitamin C. Swiss chard is rich in iron and magnesium, along with high amounts of B vitamins and romaine lettuce is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Be sure you eat a variety of leafy greens so you get all the benefits each one has to offer.
3. Decreased Benefits
Yes, kale is a super green and an incredibly healthy leafy green, but if you eat it daily, guess what? Its benefits become less beneficial to your diet. Leafy greens are highly concentrated in nutrients and you won’t get the same benefits of one green if you eat them every day. It’s another reason not to stick to broccoli as the only veggie you eat. Sure it’s healthy, but your body needs some surprise! This will ensure you have exactly the right amount of nutrition from your foods and that you get the most benefits every time you eat them.
4. Leaky Gut
Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when the body sees certain nutrients from foods as foreign invaders and can cause the immune system to repel these foods. As a result, these foods are never digested properly, and they inhibit proper digestion. If you eat the same foods each day, even leafy greens, leaky gut can be a result. Though it’s usually only caused by higher intakes of grains, legumes and dairy, daily consumption of the same greens can also cause the effects. If you have constant stomach pain after a meal, are bloated, achy and have poor digestion, along with excess gas and bouts of constipation, it could very well be leaky gut syndrome. The best way to heal your gut is to eat omega 3 rich foods, cut out grains, dairy and legumes temporarily, and be sure to rotate your greens each week, or daily.
5. Nutrient Loss
Eating the same greens each day can also cause nutrient loss. Excessive amounts of spinach have been linked to calcium loss in the bones, regardless that spinach is high in calcium. This occurs because spinach is high in oxalates, which bind to calcium and are excreted out of the body. Oxalates found in veggies and greens like spinach, kale, broccoli and collards have also been linked to kidney stones. You need these greens in your diet, but you simply don’t need them each day, every day. Rotate your greens so you can enjoy these foods on a regular basis, and never have to worry with the issues of nutrient loss from too much of them.
My favorite reason to rotate your greens is to ensure a variety of flavor in your diet! Don’t get bored with your meals and just stick to the same greens because “they’re good for you”. Some of my favorite flavorful greens include cilantro, parsley, butter lettuce, red leaf lettuce, romaine and chard. Try changing up the greens in your diet so you never get tired of the same old ones. Kale salad is amazing, but eaten daily, it gets a little old and not so magical anymore. Change things up and try something new!
Last, but not least, variation in your diet, including through greens, is so important. The body needs nutrients from a large variety of foods, not just a few. Be sure you rotate you greens so that you get plenty of variation and your body can benefit from these greens in all the ways it was meant to.
Now, you tell me, do you rotate your greens? If so, what’s your favorite greens?