10 Green Superfoods to Enjoy this Holiday Season.

The holidays are upon us and what better way to celebrate then adding some healthy green superfoods to your holiday diet. Here are my top 10 green superfoods you should think about adding to your diet if you already haven’t done so.

1. Spirulina and Chlorella

You can’t get much greener than these two. Both are rich in chlorophyll, which is what gives plants their green color and humans a number of health benefits. That is why eating more “greens” is so important. Both are also fresh water algae that are nutritionally dense.

Chlorella contains vitamin C and carotenoids, both of which are antioxidants. Chlorella is also contains high concentrations of B-complex vitamins. These keep your body less stressed and we can all use that especially during the holiday season. It has been stated that chlorella can increase the level of albumin (protects against disease) in the body and is said to cleanse the body of toxins and heavy metals.

Spirulina on the other hand contains many essential nutrients for our bodies. Not only does it contain over 60% complete protein (almost three times as much as that found in beef!), but it has high concentrations of many other important vitamins and minerals, such as B complex vitamins, vitamin E, carotenoids, iodine, iron, manganese, zinc, essential fatty acids such as gamma linolenic acid (which is only otherwise found in mother’s milk), and more beta carotene than you can find in carrots! Spirulina is also one of the few plant sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for healthy nerves and tissues. Now you are probably thinking, “algae, you mean the stuff on the inside of my fish tank”. In essence yes but there are thousands of different types of algae as I found out and these you won’t find in your pet goldfish bowl.

Spirulina and Chlorella come in capsule or tablet form and in powdered form, which is great to add to smoothies and juices, I even found Spirulina Crunchies , mix in some goji berries and you have a true red and green holiday superfood snack!

2. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are small player in the world of seeds, but are growing popularity due to their big nutritional value. Hemp seeds are packed full of natural protein, they contain all of the essential amino acids and are highly digestible. In fact, Hemp seeds are one of the highest sources of complete protein of all plant-based foods. Hemp seeds are usually very safe for those unable to tolerate nuts, gluten, lactose, and sugar. They also don’t contain gluten and therefore would not trigger symptoms of celiac disease.

Hemp comes in both seeds and powder form. It can be added to numerous recipes to give an extra nutritional boost to them or you can eat them right out of the bag. They have a similar flavor to sunflower seeds and the powder can be added to almost anything for an extra boost of protein.

3. Green Stevia

Here is a superfood that can replace sugar in all your holiday recipes. Stevia is rich in active and beneficial phytochemicals that occur naturally in the plant. Over 100 phytochemicals have been discovered in stevia thus far and is rich both in terpenes and flavonoids (can sugar boast of that?). Not only is Stevia used as a natural sweetener, but it has been known to even sugar levels in diabetics, lower high blood pressure, prevent dental cavities and aid in weight loss. The stevia leaf can be used raw and in cooking and baking too. But warning this stuff is super sweet, two tablespoons of Stevia leaf powder= one cup of sugar in sweetening power.

4. Nori

Nori is the Japanese name for various edible seaweed species of the red algae Porphyra, sometimes called laver or as us Americans know it as the stuff sushi is wrapped with. Nori is Japan’s most popular sea vegetable and contains almost 50% protein, the highest of any seaweed. Nori is about 1⁄3 protein and 1⁄3 dietary fiber and contains high proportions of iodine, carotene, vitamins A, B and C, as well as significant amounts of calcium and iron.

You probably didn’t know how healthy those Nori wrapped sushi rolls really are. And, since it’s the holidays wrap up some red vegetables or salmon for a red and green Christmas package loaded with nutrients.

5. Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass can be used as part of a beautiful centerpiece to your holiday table and then you can eat it to absorb its many nutritional properties. Wheatgrass is a food prepared from the cotyledons of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum and it has been found to have over 100 elements needed by man. If grown in organic soil, it absorbs 92 of the known 102 minerals from the soil. Wheatgrass contains high amounts of chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Wheatgrass Builds Blood, Cleanses the Body and Fights and Protects Against Illness. You can juice fresh wheatgrass at home with a wheatgrass juicer or it comes in tablets and powder as well. Wheatgrass contains no Wheat Gluten.

6. Green Tea

After you have filled up on your holiday feast, offer Green tea instead of coffee because green tea has been found to boost your metabolism, which helps burn fat more quickly and we all want that! The healthful properties of green tea are largely attributed to polyphenols, chemicals with potent antioxidant properties. In fact, the antioxidant effects of polyphenols appear to be greater than vitamin C. The polyphenols is also what gives green tea a slightly bitter flavor. There are three main varieties of tea: green, black, and oolong. They are all made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plant. The difference between them is how they’re processed. Black and oolong are oxidized or fermented while green tea is made from unfermented leaves and supposedly contains the highest concentration of polyphenols. Matcha is a finely milled green tea usually a higher grade of tea and is often used in the celebrated Japanese Tea Ceremony.

7. Moringa

Still new to the United States, moringa is a vegetable tree and is often referred to as the Tree of Life or the Miracle Tree because it is extremely nutritious and has many potential and healthy uses. It is loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and healthy proteins. The powder in the moringa leaf contains over 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants along with all of the essential amino acids. Moringa leaves are highly nutritious and are rich in vitamins K, A, C, B6, Manganese, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Calcium, Thiamin, Potassium, Iron, Protein, and Niacin. Ounce for ounce, moringa contains seven times the Vitamin C found in oranges, four times the beta carotene of carrots, three times the iron of spinach, four times as much calcium as milk and three times the potassium of bananas. Moringa also contains all 8 essential amino acids and is rich in flavonoids. Now that is a Superfood worth mentioning.

8. Kale

Kale or borecole is actually a form of cabbage and is a geat vegetable to serve at your holiday feast. Chop it up with a little garlic and lemon and you’ve got a scrumptious healthy dish. How healthy? Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli, contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids. They come in a dried chip form for snacking and you would be surprised how tasty these treats can be and even kids will eat them!

9. Green Olives

A holiday table is not complete without a bowl full of olives on it and the bar should have them stocked for those merry dry martinis. Green olives are mostly grown around the Mediterranean Sea and contain about 75 percent of oleic acid in oil form; this acid is a monounsaturated fat that helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Olives are both high in iron and vitamin E.

Olives are not eatable straight from the tree–they require processing to reduce the bitterness and can be left on the tree to ripen into black olives. Olives contain both vitamins and minerals, but they also contain high sodium content; therefore, moderate consumption is advisable. Consult with your health care provider to discuss if olives could be beneficial for your diet.

10. Green Papaya

You’ve just eaten a handful of Christmas cookies a piece of holiday cake and a few chocolate rum balls, the next thing you should be reaching for is green papaya. It is especially effective in powder form. I put this one last on the list because it contains the proteolytic enzyme papain, which aids in digestion and helps break down proteins, carbs and fats in your stomach. Papaya is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals.