Monday, May 18, 2009

Are You Getting Enough Green?

Surveys show that 80% of North Americans fail to get optimal amounts of fruits and vegetables in their daily diets, as recommended by the USDA and the National Cancer Institute. Consuming "green foods" (nutrient-dense, minimally processed, whole foods) is an important way to achieve a healthy diet. But what makes green foods so great? Chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, is essential in the photosynthesis reactions that convert radiant energy from the sun into chemical energy for life processes. Inside the cells of green plants, chlorophyll combines with carbon dioxide and sunlight to form simple sugars. Without chlorophyll, plants would be unable to perform essential metabolic functions such as respiration and growth.

Chlorophyll has a similar effect in humans. There is considerable research and anecdotal evidence that chlorophyll is effective in rebuilding the blood, through metabolic processes that are not yet completely understood.

Chlorophyll has also been shown to stimulate liver function and excretion of bile, strengthen immunity, and detoxify chemical pollutants. Numerous recent studies have also indicated that chlorophyll has anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties.

Chlorophyll is found in highest concentrations in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, and in cereal grasses like wheat grass and barley grass, but the highest concentration is found in blue-green algae. Given all the potential benefits of adding chlorophyll, why not consider adding more "green" to your diet?

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Photo credit: Chinese chicken salad

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