Just Eat Your Greens! – it’s that easy. Written by Sarah Harris, FGHG Paediatric Naturopath.
It is an unfortunate fact of modern life that our children are constantly exposed to all manner of toxins; in their home, places of learning, sporting fields and parks, in the air they breathe, the food they eat and the water they drink. These often unavoidable toxins can do a lot of damage to their growing cells through a process known as oxidation (or free radical damage). In healthy children, a balance exists between free radical production and antioxidant defences. Disturbances in this balance may contribute to poor health or disease. But nature has a solution; eating greens and plenty of them!
You are passing on wise advice when you encourage your children to ‘eat your greens’!
Many vegetables contain protective plant-based phytochemicals, particularly Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower and, yes, brussels sprouts. These protective compounds (known as isothiocynates) contain sulphur, which can make them taste bitter or hot (they are also constituents of mustard, wasabi and horseradish). One of the more important isothiocyanates is sulforaphane.
Broccoli has been called the ‘Queen of Vegetables’ for good reason – it is particularly rich in sulforaphane, and regular consumption is an important part of a healthy diet for a healthy life.
Sulforaphane is a component of broccoli that may help to provide protection against the stressors of modern living, thanks to its ability to clear toxins and reduce free radical damage, helping your kids and their cells feel healthier and happier.
Clean up your cells!
Sulforaphane not only gently stimulates detoxification – the process of removing toxins from the body; it is a potent antioxidant as well. This means it helps to clean up your kids system and repair cellular damage at the same time. These actions are immensely useful, and sulforaphane from broccoli has been shown to improve a wide range of health conditions including allergies, asthma, autism and many more.
Greens are great but a rainbow of vegetables and fruits is best for healthier kids.
Ensure your children’s diet contains a wide selection of coloured fruits and vegetables; these are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals for optimal health.
To help support your child’s natural detoxification processes and reduce oxidation:
- Start a home grown broccoli sprouts project with your kids! Having a combination of both broccoli seeds and sprouts is one of the most effective ways to get sulforaphane. The seeds contain the main ingredient (called glucoraphanin), which gets converted to sulforaphane with the help of an enzyme found in the sprouts.
- Try this fantastic recipe from the Happy Healthy Mama website to get those fussy eaters to eat their greens! Broccoli Bites Recipe
Vitamin C is naturally occurring in broccoli and helps speed up this conversion. This is a great example of Mother Nature’s wisdom, with different parts of the broccoli plant working together to deliver higher amounts of sulforaphane, for greater therapeutic benefits.
Your Paediatric Naturopath, Sarah Harris, can further support your children on how detoxifying and antioxidant support may benefit you and your children.