Oh, those little extras.
Life is full of them- extra 30 minutes our boss kept us after work, extra load of laundry we need to do, extra bill we forgot to pay…
Our lives fill up quickly with events and things and people namely to, well, stress us out. We work, we run around, we rarely rest (and that goes for those of us that DON’T even have kids yet!). Being “too busy” is one of the most common reasons my patients report for eating poorly.
This ongoing life stress and habitual ill-attention to our diet quality may actually be decreasing our lives by shortening our telomeres. Our what?! you ask. No, it’s not a new cell phone app! Guys!
Telomeres are found on the ends of our DNA chromosomes, and longer telomere length is associated with longer life . Shorter telomeres mean our cells die faster- hence, the aging process. The longer we live, the more of our cells die, and our lifestyle affects this rate.
Stress, obesity, a pro-inflammatory diet, and smoking have been found to speed up telomere shortening- in essence, the aging process- as well as increase our risk of chronic disease. But lifestyle changes can increase our telomere length– even if we haven’t been super kind to our bodies thus far.
We can quit smoking, lose weight, reduce our stress, and eat perfectly. OK, not perfectly- that seems intimidating and unreasonable! We need happy hour, right? That reduces stress too!
So let’s start with baby steps to decrease our internal inflammation by filling up on life-giving vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols-which are found in plant foods.
Enter, green juice.
Based on some research about diet and telomere length, I put together the perfect little stress-and-inflammation fighting bombshell.
Curcumin, found in turmeric, has HUGE anti-inflammatory capacity. Spinach is second only to beef liver (NOT a good green juice option, heh?) in folate content, offering 33% of our daily value in a cup. Folate , which is a B vitamin found to heavily influence DNA replication, is typically lacking in the American diet, but the equation goes like this: more folate, longer life. Yum.
Kale is rich in chlorophyll, the antioxidant that gives green vegetables their color, and lemongrass contains a plethora of DNA-protectors: vitamin C, A, B1, B5, B6, folic acid, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper and phosphorous. It might also act as a light diuretic and some research suggests it helps to fight growing cancer cells. If fresh lemongrass is hard to come by, try using sliced or already blended from Gourmet Garden.
I recommend eating our food- chewing and such- most of the time, but green juice is a nice, light, basically sugar-free way to enjoy a anti-aging colossal in addition to our daily meals.
“This all sounds great,” you say. “But I don’t have a juicer.”
Excellent! Me neither! (Well, ok. It may or may not be in a box at my brother-in-law’s house. Thanks for storing our stuff while we live in a tiny apartment this year, Ry!).
So what do we do? Simple.
Add ingredients + blend.
Run through colander into a bowl to catch the liquid.
Pour in glass with round fancy ice cubes (compliments of Chef Jenn Jenn). Make husband drink it with you.
Stay young, happy, and healthy!
There will be pulp left over in the strainer. We could repurpose it into… something. But it was pretty soggy and my creative juices weren’t flowing. I’ll let you know if I think of a good use for it!
Have a bodacious day!