Dietary Health Hacks – The Power of a Green Smoothie
Dr. Michelle Sthamann, ND
Have you ever wondered what else you can do to optimize your health? What supplements? What diets? What foods? You are not alone. Even as a licensed naturopathic doctor with eight years of science-based education, the information available to us is vast and biased. However, one aspect of nutrition that will never fail to provide undeniable health benefits is vegetables.
Now, we all know vegetables are good for us, but let me just throw some powerful facts at you. Fruits, vegetables, and other antioxidant-rich foods have been associated with longer telomeres, which are the caps at the end of our DNA strands preventing damage to and the ultimate shortening of our genetic material. These healthy foods have been shown to boost telomerase activity, which is the enzyme responsible for repairing our telomeres. In a five-year follow-up study, a control group eating a standard American diet was compared to a healthy plant-based diet group and the results showed the telomeres shrunk less, and actually lengthened in the people eating strictly plants. This research suggests you can reverse cellular aging. Experimental dietary changes positively impacted the DNA damage results much more than vigourous exercise or caloric restriction.
Another powerful area of nutrition research is on sulforaphane produced after ingesting cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.). Eating broccoli has been shown to activate the Ah receptors in the intestinal lining which stimulate lymphocytes that are a part of our immune system to heal the cells. Another study showed how chronic smokers who ate 25 times more broccoli per day, which actually was only a single stalk per day compared to broccoli-avoiding smokers, suffered 41 percent fewer DNA mutations in their bloodstream over ten days. Even when the DNA was extracted from subjects’ bodies and exposed to a known DNA-damaging chemical, the genetic material from broccoli eaters showed significantly less damage, suggesting that eating vegetables like broccoli may make you more resilient at a sub-cellular level. Three hours after eating a cup of broccoli sprouts, the enzyme that cancers use to help silence our defences is suppressed in your bloodstream to an extent equal to or greater than the chemotherapy agent specifically designed for that purpose without the toxic side effects.
New research is being published all the time regarding the potential benefits of these natural foods, but they are not marketed to us as much as they should be. Companies cannot patent broccoli, and therefore cannot reap the benefits to be used as a medication or supplement. The most efficient way to increase your vegetable intake would be to make green smoothies daily. Utilizing various produce like chard and kale, along with different fresh herbs such as cilantro and parsley can tremendously impact your health as the research above proves to support. Challenge yourself and take control!
Dr. Michelle Sthamann, ND, was born and raised in Regina and received her BSc in Biology from the University of Regina. She most recently received her degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and works at Cathedral Centre for Wellness. She promotes anti-aging therapies through diet, nutritional supplementation, exercise, acupuncture (regular and electro stimulation therapy), counselling, botanical medicine, and Chinese medicine. She is also certified in facial rejuvenation acupuncture and facial massage. She is very motivated to educate herself and others about the most effective practices to achieve optimal health. She believes the highest quality of life is achievable when each person is empowered to gain control over their own wellness with the guidance of a trusted health advocate. See the display ad on page 23 of the 25.2 July/August issue of the WHOLifE Journal.