Green foods are packed with so many nutrients, it’s no wonder they are called the super foods of the nutrition world. They are exceptionally rich sources of chlorophyll and vital minerals, and have been found to alleviate depression and fatigue, support your immune system, eliminate toxins, promote a healthy gut and bowel, inhibit Candida, aid in weight loss, and even banish bad breath.
What are Green Foods?
Green foods refer to certain grasses and algae that contain chlorophyll, which imparts the green color to these foods. The greener the plant, the greater the amount of chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is widely known to help to neutralize and remove toxins. Foods high in chlorophyll also help heal digestive disorders, provide energy, boost immunity and prevent deficiency diseases such as anemia.
Green foods are nutrient rich and promote alkalinity within the body. They are an excellent source of many easily absorbable, alkaline minerals as well as amino acids, vitamins and enzymes, and can be used to supplement your regular meals. The following is a list of green foods commonly found on the market:
Microalgae such as spirulina and chlorella provide a concentrated source of protein containing all the amino acids and are a good source of minerals as well.
Alfalfa is a source of abundant calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium in a balanced ratio that promotes absorption.
Barley grass is an excellent source of all the amino acids, calcium, and iron.
Because many of these green foods have similar properties and benefits, it may be more useful to look at each green food itself.
According to an article published in Mutation Research, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimated that millions of workers in the manufacturing sector have been exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals, many of which cause genetic mutation and promote cancer. This same article reports on a study that shows the effectiveness of chlorophyll in counteracting the mutagenic effect of pollutants such as cigarette smoke, coal dust, and diesel-emission particles.
Chlorophyll was extremely effective at inhibiting the mutations of the various nitrogen compounds, aromatic amines, and hydrocarbons found in these substances. Chlorophyll also protected against harmful compounds in fried beef and pork, red grape juice, and red wine. Chlorophyll has also been used successfully to treat iron deficiency anemia and peptic ulcers.
Wheat and Barley Grass
Cereal grasses—namely wheat grass and barley grass—are high-chlorophyll foods. Commercially, they are available fresh and as supplements, in both powder and tablet form. It is also possible to grow wheat grass at home. Both have nearly identical therapeutic properties, although barley grass may be digested a little more easily by some folks. People with allergies to wheat and other cereals can usually tolerate these grasses since grain in its grass stage rarely triggers an allergic reaction.
These grasses contain about the same quotient of protein as meat, about 20 percent, as well as vitamin B12, chlorophyll, vitamin A and several other nutrients. Wheat grass is capable of incorporating more than 90 out of the estimated possible 102 minerals found in rich soil.
Wheat and barley grasses have been used to treat hepatitis and high cholesterol, as well as arthritis, peptic ulcers and hypoglycemia. They are both effective in reducing inflammation and contain the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD), which slows cellular deterioration, plus various digestive enzymes that aid in detoxification.
Spirulina and chlorella contain more chlorophyll than any other foods. These algae are aquatic plants, spiral-shaped and emerald to blue-green in color, and have been used medicinally for thousands of years in South America and Africa.
They are also the highest sources of protein, beta-carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food, as well as containing the essential fatty acids omega-3 and gamma linolenic acid. The protein in spirulina and chlorella is so easily digested and absorbed that two or three teaspoons of these microalgae are equivalent to 56 grams to 84 grams of meat. Further, unlike animal protein, the protein in algae generates a minimum of waste products when it is metabolized, thereby lessening stress on the liver.
Spirulina itself is a true powerhouse. This algae is made up of 55–70 percent pure protein, 95 percent of which is digestible, making it ideal for people with gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, because spirulina is so easily digested, it yields quick energy. It is also strongly anti-inflammatory and therefore useful in the treatment of hepatitis, gastritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Spirulina strengthens body tissues and protects the vascular system by lowering blood fat. Athletes use spirulina for energy and for its cleansing action after strenuous physical exertion, which can stimulate the body to rid itself of poisons. Plus, spirulina detoxifies the kidneys and liver, inhibiting the growth of fungi, bacteria and yeasts.
Spirulina is packed with more than 30 different vitamins and minerals and 18 amino acids, providing three times more vitamin E than raw wheat germ, 35 times more beta-carotene than carrots and is higher in the rare essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) than evening primrose oil.
Spirulina is also a rich store of glycogen, one of the most biologically active forms of quick energy available for consumption. This translates to a better sense of well-being and mental clarity. Plus, exciting research shows that spirulina can help to boost your immune system and fight cancer.
Chlorella is another well-known algae that is an especially effective detoxifier and anti-inflammatory agent, thanks to it’s high chlorophyll content, which stimulates these processes. Chlorella is notable for its tough outer cell walls, which bind with heavy metals, pesticides and carcinogens such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and then carry these toxins out of the body. Because of chlorella growth factor, this algae also promotes growth and repair of all kinds of tissue. Animal studies show that it reduces cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
How to Use Green Foods
To reap the benefits of green foods, you can opt for chlorophyll itself or the specific plant forms discussed above.