The FIVE health benefits of eating and drinking greens every day of the week – and the simple tricks for increasing your intake today

  • Nutritionist and chef Lee Holmes has shared the benefits of greens every day 
  • She said most Aussies aren’t eating enough and revealed how to increase uptake
  • Greens help with immunity, liver health, cognitive ability and increased energy 
  • She also shared a ‘Green Eggs No Ham’ dish which is great lunch or dinner option
  • It’s also affordable to make at $3.25 per serve and serves six people 

Increasing your intake of greens every day will improve your cognitive health, immunity and energy levels, a leading nutritionist and wholefoods chef says. 

Lee Holmes, the Sydney-based founder of Supercharged Food, is urging Australians to improve their diets after it was found most are not eating enough greens despite knowing how beneficial they are to their health.

‘Besides greens being full of vitamins and minerals, they can also help regulate our bowel movements. While you don’t need to choose the green salad over the burger every time, the more you do, the better your health outcomes will be,’ Lee said. 

Australian health guidelines advise eating at least five serves of vegetables per day. One serve is equal to 1/2 a cup of cooked green vegetables, one cup of green leafy or raw salad vegetables or one medium tomato. 

Lee Holmes, the Sydney-based founder of Supercharged Food , is urging Australians to improve their diets after it was found most are not eating enough greens despite knowing how beneficial they are to their health

1. THEY HEAL YOUR LIVER 

‘Our liver’s primary role is to metabolise the nutrients we eat, cleanse the blood and convert toxins into waste,’ Lee said. 

‘While the liver naturally cleanses itself, it may not be able to do its job adequately if it’s constantly trying to detoxify alcohol, sugar, medication and external toxins.’

According to Lee, cruciferous vegetables, such as rocket, Brussels sprouts and broccoli ‘support stage two liver detoxification and reduce oxidative stress to assist liver clearance’. 

The idea of turning vegetables into a steak may make people chuckle a little but these steaks, from Lee’s book Supercharge Your Life, are no laughing matter.  

This satisfying and nourishing plant-based meal is perfect for a side-dish or even the main event. Meatless Mondays never looked so good. 

Ingredients 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon ground turmeric 

 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small head cauliflower, cut into 4 thick slices

1 head broccoli, cut into 4 thick slices

Sheep’s Yoghurt, to serve

Pomegranate, to serve 

small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve 

Sheep’s Yoghurt Dip with Pomegranate

1 large pomegranate

520 g (1 lb 21/2oz/2 cups) full-fat plain sheep’s milk yoghurt, chilled 

small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped, plus extra sprigs to garnish 

Pinch of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

mint sprigs, to serve

2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped 

Method 

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cumin seeds, ground coriander, garam masala, turmeric, yeast flakes, salt and pepper.

3. Lay the cauliflower and broccoli slices on the prepared baking tray, and brush with the spice mixture, turning over to coat both sides. Bake for 20–30 minutes, until tender. Set aside to cool.

4. Cut the pomegranate in half and gently scoop out the seeds in segments, being careful not to break them. Pull the seeds off the yellow pithy membrane.

5. In a medium bowl, combine the yoghurt, spring onion, coriander, salt and cumin, and mix well to combine. Add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. Gently fold in the pomegranate seeds, reserving some for a garnish. Transfer to a serving bowl, then garnish with the reserved pomegranate seeds.

6. Transfer the ‘steaks’ to a plate, top with sheep’s yoghurt dip and garnish with the coriander leaves to serve.

2. THEY IMPROVE YOUR COGNITIVE ABILITY 

An increase in your greens intake, especially leafy greens, could help to improve your cognitive health. 

‘According to a 2018 research study, one serving of leafy green vegetables a day may help slow down age-related cognitive decline,’ Lee said.

‘Getting even one serving of greens in can increase mental agility and support cognition.’

3. THEY BOOST YOUR ENERGY

The rich vitamin B content in dark leafy greens helps to convert the foods we eat into energy. 

‘They’re also rich in iron, calcium and vitamins A, C, K and E so they cover a lot of nutritional bases,’ Lee said. 

This is especially important for those who don’t eat poultry or seafood. 

‘As Vitamin B is water soluble, it isn’t stored in the body. This means that we need get it through our diet daily,’ the team at the Skincare Clinic wrote.

‘This energy is needed for every cell in our body including our skin cells! Combine with Vitamin C for optimal absorption.’

The rich vitamin B content in dark leafy greens helps to convert the foods we eat into energy

How can you incorporate more greens into your daily diet? 

1. Green Powders and Gut Supportive Ingredients

You may have heard of ‘superfood’ green powders that include wacky-sounding ingredients such as chlorella and spirulina, but what you may not know is that these foods can act as powerful probiotics.

Pictured. sweet potato, broccoli and ham soup

2. Soups

Making homemade vegetable soup doesn’t need to be tricky and can quickly become a crowd favourite. Lee’s recipe for Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Ham Soup can be found here.

3. Pesto 

The best part about pesto (besides the fact it rhymes with presto, and it too is a bit like magic) is that you can make it with literally any dark green vegetable and herb you have.

Lee adds kale, basil or mint into the blender with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

4. Smoothies

Lee regularly has a Microalgae green smoothie. 

‘I would consider this a mid-level green smoothie, packing a green punch with spinach, cucumber and celery. Don’t worry; it’s still sweet and creamy with the help of frozen banana and blueberries,’ she said.

‘While there are plenty of antioxidants out there, carotenoids are one of my favourites,’ she said

4. THEY MAKE YOUR SKIN GLOW 

According to Lee, one of the most popular carotenoids is beta-carotene and kale is one of the top sources of it. 

‘While there are plenty of antioxidants out there, carotenoids are one of my favourites,’ she said.

Carotenoids are antioxidant-rich and help neutralise free radicals to create glowing skin.’

According to the Skincare Clinic kale is also rich in Lutein, a ‘super antioxidant that helps to fight free-radicals and increases the skin’s natural protection from UV sun damage.’

5. THEY SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNITY 

‘Our nose, mouth, ears and small intestines all make up part of the body’s first line of defence against infection and they all secrete mucus,’ Lee said.

‘Mucus helps help clear bacteria and pathogens from the body. If these mucus membranes are disrupted, pathogens can enter the body and cause colds and flu.

She added that green vegetables, such as spinach, dandelion greens and broccoli, can help repair these mucus membranes so you can help your immune system do its job. 

Recipe: How to make Lee Holmes’ delicious Green Eggs No Ham Frittata 

Ingredients 

6 eggs 

2 garlic cloves chopped 

handful chopped herbs (she uses mint, parsley, rosemary, coriander, thyme and basil)

splash of oat milk (or milk of choice)

1 TBS olive oil  

pinch chili flakes 

2 cups frozen minted peas 

6 small truss tomatoes halved 

½ cup goat’s cheese or feta 

 handful of kale

Method

Whisk eggs in a bowl and add garlic, herbs and milk

Heat oil in a buffet pan and add kale, sautéing for a couple of minutes then sprinkle with chili flakes

Stir through the peas on a gentle heat

Add egg mixture to the pan and add tomatoes and cheese

Cook over a low to medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until almost set

Place under a grill for 3-5 minutes until puffy on top

Serve with fresh greens   

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