Did you know that green vegetables are a key source of nutrients for fighting stress and healing your gut? Scientists are learning more and more that when our bodies are under stress, we release chemicals called inflammatory cytokines. If you’re frequently overwhelmed, anxious, or having trouble with your memory, you could have inflammation in your body. Do not fear however- there are several green vegetables that have some major healing power!
The difference between normal and chronic or unnecessary stress is tremendous. Chronic stress is virtually guaranteed to disrupt brain chemistry, causing us to rely on short-term fixes for it such as caffeine, antidepressants, or sleep aids, when these short-term fixes can exacerbate the problem in the long run.
On the other hand, your gut is vital to your body’s overall health and needs to be healed first. The gut helps keep your body’s immune responses and inflammation under control, and allows the right hormones to enter the brain from the gut, allowing the brain to have strong cognitive ability, process and understand new information, and stay focused.
Inflammation in the gut is linked to auto immune disease, dementia, IBS, stress and the wrong kinds of sugars. Many green vegetables are rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals that give your body energy and provide aid in protecting against brain diseases. By feeding our gut and body nutritious foods that benefit both the gut and the brain, we are helping benefit our mind and body’s ability to work.
Here are some of the veggies that can help your brain and body fight off stress and heal themselves.
Green Vegetables to Add to Your Diet
- Celery. Aside from having such few calories (only 16 calories from cup), celery has high levels of antioxidants and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help alleviate the symptoms of gut inflammation.
- Broccoli. Broccoli is one of the best foods out there. This super food is full of high levels of vitamin K and choline, which helps with memory. It is also full of vitamin C (one cup has as much as 150 percent of recommended daily intake). It’s high in fiber and selenium, a mineral that has anti-cancer and anti-viral properties.
- Rosemary. It’s not just the oil that has a variety of health benefits. One of the main ingredients in the herb, carnosic acid, helps your brain protect itself from neurodegeneration. In addition to being an antioxidant, Rosemary is also known to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Carnosol specifically targets cells to reduce inflammation. “Rosemary is one of the most powerful herbs and essential oils on the planet,” says Dr. Josh Axe. In fact, research has pointed to Rosemary has boosting nerve growth and supporting the healing of the brain’s functions and neurological tissue. Rosemary also drastically improves memory and soothes digestive issues in the gut. It also relieves muscle aches and pains and helps with skin and hair care through its antiseptic properties.
- Leafy Greens. Leafy greens can have a very positive impact on your gut and mental health. Research has shown they can help with cognitive decline and stop the progression of dementia. Leafy green vegetables are also chock full of vitamin A and K which help with your immune system and the body’s ability to heal. In fact, one cup of kale can have more than 684% of your recommended daily serving. Some other great leafy greens are Swiss chard and romaine lettuce.
- Dandelion Greens. Dandelion greens are full of amazing properties. They are beneficial to digestion and are antiviral. Dandelion is also used to prevent and treat breast and lung tumors. Full of calcium and potassium, Dandelion greens are also high in vitamin A in the antioxidant carotenoid and in vitamin C. Other amazing properties include protecting small blood vessels from rupturing, insulin to lower blood sugar in diabetics, and alleviating premenstrual bloating.
- Asparagus. Asparagus is a great source of vitamin A, C, and E. It is also full of potassium and zinc. It’s one of the best foods for neutralizing cell-damaging free radicals and helps the brain fight cognitive decline. Like leafy greens, asparagus is full of folate, which works with vitamin B12 to help prevent cognitive impairment and mental speed and flexibility.
Add the green vegetables to your diet today to help fight off daily stress and inflammation. If you notice that your stress is high and you need some brain chemistry support, try testing your neurotransmitters.
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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