January 23, 2017

4 Naturally Cleansing Drinks You Have to Try

Make Your Own Drinks For a Nutrient Boost

By Jessica Sanders

Whether you need to drop that last five pounds or want to cleanse the toxins from your body, there’s a drink for you. Many whole foods, such as lemon, apple cider vinegar and romaine lettuce are rich in antioxidants, potassium and other vitamins, all of which work to reduce inflammation, water weight and more.

Drinks are easy to make and help the digestive system absorb nutrients easily. These four drinks will keep you hydrated, give your body a needed nutrient boost and keep your vital organs in their best possible health. As a bonus, you’ll feel and look great!

Green Tea

Green tea is a perfect addition to your naturally cleansing drink list because it can be found at nearly every grocery store. Its benefits are simple: green tea is rich in antioxidants. These work to reduce the oxidative stress and free radicals in our body and help reduce inflammation.

One of the most potent antioxidants in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC). This abundant antioxidant in green tea (and white tea) may boost your metabolism and allow you to burn more fat. Note: studies have been done that both support and negate this claim.

How to Benefit from Drinking Green Tea

Both “detox” branded green teas and traditional green teas are great options. If you’re choosing a special detox tea, however, check the ingredients. Natural additions like lemon grass and ginger in detox green teas help cleanse your body and liver (blocking the amount of fat stored), making them a great choice. However, some brands may sneak in “natural” sugar that you might want to avoid. Brewing hot tea has been found to preserve tea’s high level of antioxidants.

how to benefit from drinking green teaTry It: Ginger Green Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag green tea
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced thin (Lowers fasting blood sugar)

Directions:

  1. Boil water and add tea bag and ginger.
  2. Let steep for 3-5 minutes and drink any time of day.

Sip your way to optimal health and reap the benefits of this hot, green liquid. Go green and let it be your cup of tea! 

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, a household staple, may be just what you need to cleanse your body and curb your appetite. This vinegar is high in pectin, which expands the stomach, helping you feel full faster. It’s also high in potassium, which flushes excess sodium from the body, reducing water weight and bloating.

How to Benefit from Drinking Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Properly dilute the organic apple cider vinegar with water—1-2 tablespoons with a 16-ounce glass (or bottle) of water. You can add a small amount of honey (1-2 teaspoons) for flavor and sip throughout the day.

Bragg, one of the largest manufacturers of organic apple cider vinegar, recommends having this drink three times a day to realize its benefits. Take careful note of whether you experience any bodily changes in your stool or urine, or feel any discomfort. Remember that too much of anything can be harmful, so reserve this high dosage for short periods of intensive detoxing.

Vegetable Juice 

Vegetables should be a staple of your diet, but sometimes it may seem impossible to get the recommended 2-3 servings a day. Luckily, putting your veggies through a juicer, rather than eating them whole, will not only ensure you get all the vegetables you need for the day, but will also help you cleanse your body and store less fat.

A daily green smoothie can kick off a chain-reaction of lifestyle changes that reduce or eliminate the factors that exacerbate disease, and may even reverse some conditions in certain individuals.

The key is to focus on green vegetables, such as spinach, cucumber, celery and green apple. These won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels like sweet vegetables (beets or carrots) do. When your blood sugar spikes, and you don’t have a way to burn the sugar—which turns to carbohydrates when digested and not used immediately—that sugar eventually stores as fat. Green vegetables help you avoid this dilemma.

How to Benefit from Drinking Vegetable Juice

Make sure that your juice is at least 1/3 green vegetables—you can add some sweeter vegetables or a small amount (1/2 cup) of fruit for sweetness.

If you’re not sure which greens to go with, romaine lettuce is always a good option, says Dr. Ben Kim, but don’t hesitate to change it up with kale, spinach, collard greens, etc. for variety.

green detoxing machineTry It: Green Detoxing Machine

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery stalks (celery is a diuretic)
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 small cucumber
  • 1/4 green apple, sliced

Directions:

  1. Add each item to your juicer for a delicious, detoxing beverage that ill help you reduce fat storage. Feel free to switch out the romaine lettuce for another leafy green vegetable if you prefer.

Lemon Water 

Water is a natural detoxifier, helping to flush sodium and toxins out of your body on a regular basis. Add lemon and you have a fat-burning, detoxing beverage that you can sip on every single day.

Lemons are high in potassium, the mineral that helps flush excess sodium out of your body, reducing bloat and water weight. Lemons are also high in vitamin C. While this doesn’t directly correlate to fat loss, it indirectly helps you achieve your weight loss goals: vitamin C supports your adrenal glands, helping you to better handle stress. Stress often causes weight gain, so improving your reaction to stress can also curb potential weight gain.

How to Benefit from Drinking Lemon Water 

You can drink lemon water once or twice a day, with 1/4-1/2 of a lemon, freshly squeezed. To get more from your drink, add a small amount of 100 percent cranberry juice or 100 percent grapefruit juice, both of which provide similar benefits—detoxification.

Whether you want to get rid of a few last pounds or simply cleanse your body, these drinks will help revive you from the inside. Sip on green tea, lemon water, vegetable juice and organic apple cider vinegar to reduce inflammation, detox your body, speed up your metabolism and help you feel great at the same time.

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Broccoli Leaves: The Superfood Sitting in Your Garbage Can

Introducing the Next Supergreen: Broccoli Leaves

by Jessica Sanders

Unfortunately, these precious greens usually end up in the trashcan. But health professionals believe they meet all the requirements of a superfood because:

  • One serving (1-2 leaves) delivers 100 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C and 340 percent of your vitamin K requirements. (CleanPlates.com)

broccoli leaves source of vitamin a, potassium and folateBroccoli leaves are also an excellent source of:

  • Vitamin A: Important for good eyesight, strong bones and healthy skin
  • Potassium: Regulates electrolyte levels and blood pressure
  • Folate: Helps reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and builds red and white blood cells

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, nearly 40 percent of food in the United States is thrown away, including broccoli leaves. So by eating your broccoli leaves you’re not only adding to your nutrition, but also helping reduce food waste.

Unless you grow broccoli at home, you may not even notice the leaves. Store-bought broccoli is usually trimmed of its leaves. But if leaves are still present, just cook them along with the broccoli for an added nutritional boost.

One of the only commercial brands of broccoli leaves available right now is Foxy Organic’s BroccoLeaf. So broccoli leaves may still be difficult to locate in most supermarkets and health stores. Instead, head to your local farmers’ market to see if you can find broccoli leaves from your local farm. If you don’t see any on display, ask for them; most farmers take food requests if they grow the item already.

Once you find some broccoli leaves, it’s time to cook them. Here are a few cooking ideas and some recipes to try with this healing plant.

How to Cook Them

Broccoli leaves are similar to other tough, fibrous green leaves, such as Swiss chard and some types of kale. This means that you can cook them using relatively similar techniques. Try one of these simple cooking methods.

Boil: Boiling leaches nutrients from vegetables if you cook them too long. Use this method if you don’t mind your leafy greens al dente and let them boil for no more than 5 minutes. Then, save the water you boil them in and incorporate it in the finished dish to retain some of those lost nutrients.

Try it: Toss boiled broccoli leaves with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper for a simple side dish.

Quick Sautee: This is one of the most delicious ways to bring broccoli leaves into a dish while retaining their powerful nutrients. The key is to add them to an already-heated pan and cook for only 7 to 10 minutes.

Try it: Sautee your broccoli leaves with broccoli florets, mushrooms and onions. Add light coconut milk, yellow curry powder and cooked chicken for a simple dinner.

Bake: Add raw broccoli leaves to any vegetable bake in place of other greens like kale.

Try it: Mix raw broccoli leaves, chopped onion, and chopped bell pepper into raw, scrambled eggs. Pour this mix into a muffin tins and bake for breakfast. 

Add to a smoothie: Reap all the benefits of this superfood by adding it to a smoothie. This ensures that you get all the fiber (as opposed to juicing, which eliminates most of it), along with the nutrients. If you have a tough time digesting raw greens, massage them before adding, which breaks down the fibers that often cause digestive distress.

Try it: See our smoothie recipe below!

Give Your Skills a Try

If you’re not sure where to start with broccoli leaves, try one of these two simple recipes. Both yield one serving and can be easily adjusted for more.

Broccoli Green Breakfast Smoothie

Drink this smoothie in the morning if you’re pressed for time. It tastes like dessert and you’ll get protein, carbs, a little fat and plenty of vitamins to power your day.

green broccoli breakfast smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder (Try MRM Vegetable Protein)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 medium-sized carrot
  • 1 cup shredded broccoli leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 apple, sliced
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Add everything into a blender and mix. 

Bright Rice and Broccoli Green Bowl

The “bright” part of this recipe comes from the vinegar, which adds lightness to what can often be a heavier rice dish. It’s best to eat in a bowl.

Ingredients

  • bright rice and broccoli green bowl1 cup cooked jasmine or brown rice
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup broccoli leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 shallot, diced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions

  1. Put half the olive oil, along with all of the shallots and minced garlic in a pan.
  2. When the pan appears hot, add broccoli florets and sweet potato.
  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes, and then add broccoli leaves, black beans, half the red wine vinegar and cumin.
  4. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, take off the heat and place on top of one cup of hot cooked rice.
  5. Add the fresh oregano, the rest of the olive oil and rest of the vinegar.
  6. Mix the rice and vegetables well, and eat hot.

You’ve likely had your fill of kale and chard, so give these new supergreens a try. You can cook them in the same way you prepare other green leafy vegetables. But you’ll reap even more benefits from broccoli leaves, like 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement and significant amounts of vitamin A, folate and potassium.

Head to your local supermarket, health store, or farmers’ market to add this new superfood to your regular grocery rotation.

 

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Superfoods for Every Taste

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Food…Glorious food!

We love food!  We live for food!  Food is ubiquitous and besides that, it’s EVERYWHERE!!  Food is such a wonderful thing!  It gives us pleasure.  It gives us energy.  Indeed, it gives us life!  We cannot live without food.

Even to this day, there are people in this world who die for a lack of food, and yet we live in a country that has never known famine.  The “amber waves of grain” from the United States have fed much of the world.  We grow so much corn we need to devise ways to use it so we put it in shampoo, other hygiene products, make plastics out of it and even ferment it into alcohol to burn in our cars!

With all this food it should be obvious that we would be well-nourished, but this may not be the case.  Our biggest health problems come from too much nutrition.  Energy, in the form of calories, is abundant in sugar, starch, fat and protein.

However, most of the foods with these do not contain the antioxidants needed to prevent disease, disability and death.  Heart disease still ranks as the number one cause of death, and cancer is a close second, both of which are caused primarily by inflammation from too much energy.

Inflammation also causes:

  • Arthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cataracts
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Macular degeneration
  • And other “degenerative” diseases

Indeed, aging is a process of inflammation.  However, we now know we don’t have to decline — even in our “declining years.”  There are many foods known as “superfoods” to help us remain alert and active throughout our lives.

Superfoods are those foods that contain a lot of nutrients and antioxidants, but not a lot of calories.

  • They prevent us from aging, declining, and breaking-down.
  • They protect us from toxins and inflammation.
  • They help keep our youth and energy.

And, what’s so wonderful is that there are superfoods for every taste.

1. Super GREENS

Green vegetables were the first to be recognized as a super food.  Popeye ate a can of spinach and immediately had the power to flatten Brutus and win the love of Olive Oyl.

While spinach is a great food, there are many more types of green leaves with high nutrient value.  Swiss chard is very nutritious, as are beet greens, and all forms of lettuce.  Ironically, most of our salads in the United States primarily contain iceberg lettuce, which is the least nutritious.  Branch out and use dandelion, arugula and chard in your salads.  These green leafy vegetables are packed with antioxidants and minerals.

The color green comes from the magnesium in the chlorophyll that helps the plant make energy.  Chlorophyll helps detox the body of heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic.  The list of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is very long, but they are short on calories, so they don’t create free-radicals.  Mom was right: “Eat your greens!”

2. Super Sprouts

superfood sprouts

Ounce-for-ounce, sprouts contain up to 100 times more enzymes to help you digest and absorb nutrients than raw fruit and vegetables.

  • The quality of the protein, meaning the available amino acids improves when beans, nuts, seeds and grains are sprouted.
  • The fiber content also increases as starch is turned into fiber.
  • Sprouting increases both the vitamin and essential (omega-3) oils by as much as 30 times within a few days.
  • Moreover, minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, are bound to protein, making them more bioavailable.

Sprouts are best eaten between meals to replace chips, cookies, and other high-calorie-and-low-nutrient snacks.  Enjoy all kinds of sprouts from alfalfa to wheat, beans to chia.  Sprouted peas and sunflower seeds are among the most nutritious of all.  You can buy them, the fresher, the better, or you can sprout them in your own kitchen!  It’s easy!

3. Super Berries

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