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Gut Health and Leafy Greens

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2022

"Eat your greens!" 

The phase and every parent tells their child at meal time at some point in their lives, if not hundreds of times.

Isn't that what every parent wants, is their child to eat their greens? 

Heck, just to eat their vegetables! 

Well the number one tip I give mamas if they want their children to eat their vegetables is... MAMA YOU EAT YOUR VEGETABLES FIRST! 

Kids don't do what you say, they do what you do and over time as they watch you take good care of your body, mind, and soul then that will become their home and center point for the rest of their lives. 

Let's talk a little science. 


Well a 2018 report in the Journal Neurology found that a diet containing approximately one serving of green leafy vegetables per day is associated with slower age-related cognitive decline. 

The study focused on the consumption of green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collards, and lettuce which have been shown in previous studies to protect against cognitive decline. 

The interesting part of the study was that the rate of cognitive decline among those who consumed the highest daily consumption was equivalent to being 11 years younger cognitively, based on average cognitive scores over time. 

What I suspect is that one of the most beneficial elements of leafy greens is something unique it contains... a sugar molecule, sulfoquinovose or SQ for short. 

This molecule is actually a carbohydrate that our gut bacteria LOVE and increases the number of good bacteria in our guts. 

The unique quality of SQ is that it contains... SULFUR and the good bacteria in our guts LOVE sulfur. It's a critical mineral that is needed for building protein.

Did you know what the trillions of bacteria we have living in, on, and around us actually build protein for us! 

In my opinion, if there is one plant family that should be added to EVERY meal, it's the dark leafy greens family.

Although there really is no official "dark leafy greens family" this category is home to many ultra-nourishing plants that contain SO many health benefits that I recommend you adding them in to EVERY meal.

Science has shown us that leafy greens are chalk FULL of nutrients like fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

They also supply the body with a significant amount of folate, promoting heart health.

AND again, they give our good gut bacteria food to live on and flourish!


Here is a list of my TOP dark leafy greens and tips on how to add them to your diet everyday and make them more nutritious!


 From broccoli to radish, there are so many options when growing and eating microgreens. They are super easy to throw in smoothies, salads, or just add as a garnish to any savory meal. There are SO many resources out there to grow your own and if you visit your local growers market, I bet you'll find someone there who grows them for you! 


This beautiful green is part of the brassica family, this has the most bang for your buck! Put raw into salads, Throw on top of homemade pizza (the healthy kind), on pasture-raised eggs, and (gluten-free) pastas. This spicy green also helps promote digestion! 

Dandelion greens

These may be the least palatable, but they are the most gut friendly greens out there. This green also has been shown to have powerful liver-promoting properties. Easy to add to smoothies, throw in salads, can be brewed with the dandelion root for a delicious cup of dandelion tea

Kale, Spinach, and Chard 

These greens are all high in nutrients AND are best served lightly steamed or cooked to minimize oxalates, compounds that bind to calcium in your blood and can cause issues in the body. 

One of my top tips to adding more greens to your meals, is to chop them up and put them in/on the bowl or plate before you put your hot meals/soups. Since most greens (besides Kale) will wilt easily, they become 

More dark leafy greens to explore

Romaine Lettuce
Beet Greens
Mustard greens

There are also some simple tips to make sure that when you are buying greens that they remain nutrient-dense and not rotted or moldy. 

Tips on picking and storing your precious greens:

  • Choose red, red-brown, purple, or dark green loose leaf varieties. Darkly and deeply colored loose leaf arrangements are more nutritious.
  • Choose whole heads of lettuce as they are fresher than bagged greens.
  • Spend 10 minutes preparing your greens to preserve the flavor and nutrients:
    • Separate a head of lettuce into individual leaves or open a bag of loose greens and soak them in very cold water for 10 minutes.
    • Dry completely.
    • If you plan to eat them in the next 2 days tear into bite-size pieces, as this will increase antioxidant content.
    • If you plan to eat them later leave them in full form.
    • Place greens in resealable plastic bags (yes it's okay) that you have pricked with a needle between 10 and 20 times. The holes allow the greens enough ventilation to stay fresher longer.
    • Place in the crisper drawer in your fridge.

One of the most important things to do when you eat greens is always pair them with a good fat  so you can fully absorb all their nutrients (particularly fat soluble vitamins).

So if you want to stay young and more importantly THINK YOUNG then add at least 1 serving of dark leafy greens to your body every day! 

With love and gratitude,  

Becky Wells 
The Hippie Moms, LLC
The Hippie Moms Podcast

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