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Spring into Health: Five Super Greens for Detox

Primavera by Botticelli

Primavera ; Allegory of Spring by Botticelli, c. 1478

Spring is the perfect time to detox in order to shake off excess pudge and toxins accumulated during the dark, cold, lethargy of Winter.  As radiant sunlight filter through the trees, and balmy breezes caress my skin, I re-awaken to the sensual and fragrant seduction of blooming flowers and hunger for the fresh edible plants that come into their tender best during this season.  And so, it is with profound pleasure that I share with you five super greens that are not only delicious, but have amazing healing and detoxification properties.  In case you were not aware, Spring is the optimal time to do a detox, or cleanse.  While there are countless methods to do so, simply adding these liver-friendly, nutrient-backed flora to your diet can go a long way to keep your body vibrant and healthy.

But before I sing the praises of my five favorite edible plants of the season, I would like to draw your attention to the beautiful work of art (above), by Sandro Botticelli.  It is perhaps the most famous depiction of Spring, yet who are all these figures and what do they represent?  Linger here for a few more lines, and find out…
First, the male figure on the left is Mercury. With his right hand, he pushes the remaining clouds of Winter away with his staff.  Next to him are the Three Graces, who symbolize Chastity, Beauty, and Love.  The central figure is Venus with Cupid hovering above her. This Roman Goddess of Love also embodies the concept of “Humanitas” (benevolence).  Now, moving to the far right, Zephyrus, the West Wind is blowing onto the nymph, Chloris who then transforms into Flora, the Goddess of Spring who scatters delicate, fragrant blossoms; beckoning us to enter into her Season.

Five Spring edible plants for detox

Five Super Greens

All five featured greens contain powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients that boost liver function, while also helping to gently remove
toxins from the body.

Artichoke

This rather menacing looking vegetable is one of the best for your liver, and gut. It is a powerhouse of nutrition and is a superstar vegetable to facilitate detox.
It indirectly supports the large intestine, as the active ingredient, cynarine, has been well studied for its ability to enhance bile production.
The simplest way is to steam it until the leaves can be pulled out easily.  Enjoy the leaves and heart dipped in extra virgin olive oil, lemon, and sea salt.

Arugula

With its mildly bitter, lemony, and titillatingly peppery flavor, arugula is the perfect salad green to stimulate bile flow and to support liver health.
Having it at the beginning of a meal will enhance digestion.
Look for dark green leaves of uniform color, and avoid yellowing or wilted leaves.  Arugula is sold either by the bunch or as loose leaves.
Bunched arugula usually has larger leaves, while loose ones tend to be smaller.
Arugula it is also wonderful added to a pesto.

Chard

Chard comes in Swiss (white ribs), red, golden, and mixed rainbow versions. It contains magnesium, potassium, iron as well as  vitamin C, K, and fiber.
This dark leafy vegetable also contains plenty of phytonutrients that help to quell inflammation.  A great way to cook chard is to saute it with butter and garlic, finished with a dash of fresh lemon juice.
Note: Because chard contains oxalates, those with kidney or gallbladder issues are advised to avoid it.

Dandelion

This beautiful weed with a single golden flower at the center is a true friend to our liver and for detoxification.  Don’t be put off by its bitter flavor, for when it is combined with other ingredients, dandelion complements while at the same time offers its own unique nuances.  Tender leaves are great added to any salad mix, and more mature leaves are delicious sauteed in olive oil and garlic.
The dried leaves make a wonder tea that tonifies the liver and is mildly diuretic.

Nettles

Although it stings, nettles are one of the most nourishing, and delicious greens of Spring.  It is definitely my favorite! Rich in chlorophyll, and other nutrients, nettles benefit our kidneys, blood, and lungs.  It even helps to protect butterflies!  How?  Click HERE to read more, and for a yummy recipe.

If you want to do a gentle and effective detox, eat these wonderful plants, and also consider adding an Herbal Tonic.
In addition, cut out gluten (wheat, barley, rye), processed sugar, caffeine, alcohol, soy, and corn.  Choose organic protein such as free-range chicken, eggs, and
grass-fed meats.  Drink plenty of filtered water, and herbal teas.

Want to know more about herbs? Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series) by Susun Weed features an intimate and informative study of dandelion, nettles, and five other herbs plus great recipes.


 

Happy Spring Detox!

For Love of Food & Friends,
Karen

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