What do you think of when you hear the word green? Money? Envy? What about vegetables? If you want to stay healthy you need to start seeing green!
Last week we picked up our first order from our local CSA. We were able to choose from some great looking, organic, healthy green vegetables. Spinach, kale, Swiss chard and buttercup lettuce all made their way into our bag. The whole family was excited to get home and use the fresh leafy greens in salads, stir fry, and smoothies. One of the reasons that green leafy vegetables are so healthy for you is because of their folic acid content.
When you hear folic acid, think “foliage”, and then start seeing green. You are probably familiar with the need for pregnant women needing folic acid for their babies, but did you know that folic acid is necessary for everyone. Folic acid does a lot in our body and for our health. Here are just a few examples:
- Produces healthy red blood cells
- Prevents anemia
- Maintains a healthy brain
- Reduces heart disease risk
- Prevents and reverses depression
- Maintains healthy nerves
- Repairs your DNA
All of these things can be helped by you adding in green leafy vegetables that you can grow right in your own backyard. Folic acid, by itself, is not biologically active. This means that your body must first convert the folic acid into folate. The great thing is that green leafy vegetables are mainly folate, so you are getting just what your body needs.
You may have heard in the news recently that those with high folic acid levels actually increase their risk of some diseases. Confused yet? Unfortunately, the whole story is not explained so now you have people wondering what to do when it comes to folic acid. Let me try to clear the muddy waters for you. Let’s look at supplements first. With supplements and fortification of our foods, folic acid is what is used. Remember I said that folic acid must be converted into folate for your body to use it? If folic acid builds up and can’t be converted then you run into problems. So what are some reasons you couldn’t convert the folic acid into folate?
Poor Liver Function
Your liver is where this conversion of folic acid to folate occurs. If your liver is congested due to increased toxic burden then you can have a build up of folic acid that can’t be used by your body. So supporting a healthy liver can help you convert folic acid more efficiently. It is important to point out, however, that detoxification support requires a lot of energy and nutrients. Fad detox programs that rely on inadequate protein, crazy ingredients, or prolonged fasting can actually cause more harm than good in your body. Use an approved medical food that has been proven in human clinical trials to aid in the biotransformation and elimination of toxins.
Missing or Slow Enzyme Activity
An important enzyme is also necessary to convert folic acid into folate. There are many people that have a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) that genetically predisposes them to folate deficiency and conversion problems. Don’t be turned off by the long words associated with SNP, just know that it means an enzyme you need isn’t working right. If this is you then you shouldn’t take folic acid, but instead should take an activated form of folic acid. Guess what though? Many people are lacking proper enzyme function and don’t know it. The answer to this problem lies in the fact that you should only use supplements with activated folate in the ingredients. That is one…of many…reasons that I use Metagenics products because of the ActiFolate in them.
Every Color Every Day
You need to remember to eat every color every day…and green is queen! Increase your daily consumption of all the green leafy vegetables which provide you with health-sustaining folate. Eat your leafy greens raw in a salad, saute with some olive oil and garlic, or throw them into a smoothie. Adding more greens into your diet and using a daily greens drink supplement is a great way to alkalize your body, provide vital minerals and improve your folate status.
So whether you plant a garden, visit the farmer’s market, or head to the grocery store…let me encourage you to start seeing green!