In the last two weeks many people have asked me whether kale is bad for our health. Some heart it can suppress the thyroid and slow down metabolism. To shed some light on the subject of healthy eating, particularly, how to eat greens, I would like to share with you my Z-tips on five great greens.

First of all why eat greens? Greens are nutritional powerhouses. They are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and K. They also have loads of fiber, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc.

Benefits of eating greens include:

- Blood purification with chlorophyll (the component that makes greens)

- Cancer prevention

- Improved energy

- Improved circulation

- Stronger immune system

- Improvement of intestinal flora

- Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function

- Mucus reduction and clearing up of congestion

Side effects of eating greens:

- May affect thyroid function IF eaten in excess

**Patients taking blood-thinners should to consult their doctors for proper

consumption of greens. You can usually have greens without any problems if you stick to the same times and amounts each day.

Z-Tip: I believe in balance and having foods in moderation. There’s no perfect food on the planet. Even the best foods can have a negative side-effects if you eat too much of it. like clothes, variety and individual fit are the two keys to feeling and looking your best.

How to know if greens are good for you:

Because of our biological differences, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to food. Just like we try on clothes, we often need to “try on” greens to see how they make us feel. As a rule of thumb, I suggest going for regular blood tests to find out your thyroid numbers. Then adjust your greens intake accordingly.

Here are my choice of great greens:

KALE

Kale is one of the most nutritionally dense foods available. It’s not particular delicious, but is perfect for making chips, blended with fruit smoothies or added to salads and massaged with olive oil or avocado. (Superfood Kale Salad recipe is below)

COLLARD GREENS

Collards share the first place spot with Kale for their nutritional density. When making wrap sandwiches, I like to replace tortillas with collard leaves instead. You can spread hummus onto the dull side of the leaf, add sprouts, avocado, purple cabbage and shredded carrots, then roll everything into a tasty and healthy wrap.

SWISS CHARD

Swiss chard is another fabulous green nutrient-rich vegetable, but take caution. It contains oxalic acid, which can deplete calcium from bones and teeth, leading to osteoporosis.

Instead of eating it raw, cook it with something rich like oil, tofu, seeds, nuts or beans. This will help balance the effect of the oxalic acid.

 BOK CHOY

Bok choy is my favorite green vegetable to juice. It’s very close in nutritional density to kale and collards but has much more liquid in it. When I’m in a rush and want to make a quick juice, I put a few bok choy leaves through a juicer along with some pineapple and cucumber. You get a great-tasting beverage in minutes – and the effects are much better than coffee.

PARSLEY

Parsley is a great herb to accessorize any meal, whether it’s a light salad or a hot spaghetti squash. The two main benefits of parsley are its power to support your kidneys and its ability to help you detox heavy metals.

If you find yourself eating a lot of animal protein and/or if you often eat tuna, I suggest adding parsley to your daily diet.

Recipes:

Couture Green Salad

1 bunch of kale, chopped

1 small head romaine hearts, chopped

1 fuji apple, chopped

5 dates, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

1/2 cup sprouted beans such as mung, chickpeas or peas

1/4 cup goji berries

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Mix all the ingredients together. Add dressing when ready to eat. Without dressing this salad can keep for a few days in the fridge.

Detoxifying Dressing

3/4 cup lemon juice

1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

3 medjool dates

2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt (or to taste)

1 cup filtered water

Place all dressing ingredients in blender and blend well. For a thinner or thicker sauce, adjust the amount of water.

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About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida,  Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.