by Mark J Kaylor
When first offered the topic of “Greens” I wasn’t exactly sure what was meant by this topic, nor where to go with a topic as vague and general as greens. So how I have interpreted this topic is literally, as greens, meaning the color green. But 1st a little personal confession is called for. Ever since I was a little kid I have never cared for or liked vegetables, except lettuce, especially the green ones. So for this reason I am thankful for all the green supplements we have available today in our health food stores, including chlorella, spirulina, and the grass juices, i.e. wheat, barley, etc. And with the advent of the Vitamix I have found that I can drink and enjoy my green veggies by blenderizing them with fruits, berries and/or carrots.
So why do we need these green super foods? For two primary, important and essential reasons:
1) Nourishment – The simple fact of the matter is that we just don’t eat right all the time and our food just isn’t as nutritious as it used to be.
2) Cleansing – New synthetic chemicals are introduced into our environment every year, untested for safety – especially in combinations, that our body must deal with. More and more studies are finding various toxic chemicals and heavy metals in our bodies throughout all parts of this planet.
We are simply no longer at a point where just eating right is enough!
Our Green Algae Friends
Chlorella is a single cell freshwater green micro–algae that has been around for billions of years, and is extraordinarily nutrient rich and high in DNA/RNA. As with all our green foods, Chlorella is high in blood-building chlorophyll, but unlike isolated chlorophyll supplements, it is in a stable form. Chlorella is probably best known for supporting the body’s cleansing and detoxification process, stimulating peristalsis and chelating heavy metals, including the big 4: lead, uranium, cadmium, and mercury. Several studies confirm Chlorella’s cleansing actions including one with pregnant women where it was able to reduce dioxin levels in the breast milk of women taking it during pregnancy. This same study also showed an increase in immune factors in the breast milk providing further evidence of another of Chlorella’s healing gifts, that of immune support.
Chlorella helps maintain immune system health when the body is under a lot of stress, supports the body’s antiviral defenses, increases the activity of natural killer cells as well as other immune cells, boosts the body’s immune response to the flu, and increases production of a key immune compound in the saliva. Other benefits of this amazing tiny green algae include improving insulin sensitivity, helping maintain healthy estrogen levels, fighting free radicals, supporting healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and significantly reducing pro-inflammatory processes. My personal take on Chlorella is that it is an excellent food supplement for building and re-building the body while supporting and enhancing its natural cleansing and intoxication processes.
In 1974 at a United Nations world food conference, Spirulina was called the “best food for the future” because you can get more nutrients per acre with this blue-green algae than virtually any other food. It has more beta-carotene than carrots, more iron than beef, and contains a unique antioxidant called phycocyanin. This free radical scavenging pigment has demonstrated numerous benefits including liver protection, anti-inflammatory activity, cell membrane protection, immune function strengthening, all the while increasing expression of enzymes and other biochemicals supporting liver and kidney function. Other compounds in Spirulina have demonstrated benefits for age-related macular degeneration, type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, strokes, high cholesterol, hay fever, and neurodegenerative disorders. All this is possible because Spirulina contains a broad and varied range of phyto-nutrients.
How much should a person take of Chlorella and Spirulina? I suggest the more the better but remember to work up to larger doses gradually for both can stimulate a significant “cleansing” reaction, so consider yourself forewarned. My preference is to start your day with the energizing Spirulina and end it with re-building Chlorella.
Eat Your Grass
You want me to eat grass? That’s right, but not the kind growing in your front yard. Here we are talking cereal grasses, like the infamous Wheatgrass, but also Barley, Alfalfa and Oat grass. While all the grasses have somewhat similar benefits enhancing cleansing, building energy, improving immunity, and nourishing the body that each have their own nuances. Wheatgrass is particularly detoxifying and is especially effective helping to cleanse the lymph.
Oat grass is a wonderful food for your central nervous system. Alfalfa is rich in “deep” nutritionbecause its taproot runs so deep. And barley grass may well be the most nutrient–dense superfood. Key to effectively utilizing and accessing the nutrients inside each is juicing. You would need a cow’s digestive tract to break down these grasses. And for those of you who might have been scared off from downing a shot of fresh wheatgrass juice, here’s an easy tip to dramatically improve the flavor, just add a little fresh lemon juice – it works wonders.
Don’t Forget Your Veggies
It would not be right to discuss healthy greens without at least briefly mentioning green vegetables. Greens or superfoods don’t have to be exotic or a supplement. Please don’t neglect the powerful healing allies you have at the produce stand. Study after study confirms the tremendous array of benefits and the necessity of eating our veggies. Kale has recently become the latest veggie superstar as the most nutrient dense vegetable; being a good source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, lutein, and the increasingly popular phyto-nutrient flavonoids. And believe or not, Parsley, the most widely passed over vegetable on our plates, is also a powerful nutritional ally. Parsley exhibits anti-inflammatory and antihistamine like actions and supports the liver’s efforts to detoxify synthetic chemical carcinogens.
Spinach and Dandelions are two powerful and nutritious alkalinizers that I’m sure you are already familiar but may not place in the superfood category. As it turns out Popeye had it right. Recent research shows that spinach is high in naturally occurring nitrates that may help improve strength. Another interesting study demonstrated Spinach’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer that results from eating cooked meat. Nutritionally rich in vitamin K, a key nutrient becoming widely recognized as essential for bone and cardiovascular health, Spinach is a powerful antioxidant with research suggesting it may reduce ovarian and breast cancer risk along with reversing neuronal aging.
Much to the chagrin of your efforts to remove it, you are likely to have this next wonderful green superfood growing in your yard. Dandelion has long been used as a “blood cleanser” and kidney and liver detoxifier and ranks in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. It is an effective diuretic that brings with it high levels of potassium to replace what is lost in the urine. There is new excitement around dandelion as researchers began to explore some very intriguing actions and benefits for its use in cancer treatments. Who would’ve thought that this “lowly weed” could bring with it such nourishing and healing support? So please keep in mind, a “superfood” can also be a super food.
Here’s to the Greens
So which green should I take? My best advice is: “the more the merrier.” There’s a reason we call them superfoods, because they are just that, foods that are super. And the simple truth is there is virtually no limit to the amount and number of these astonishingly nutritious foods that you can eat.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, wrote, “let your food be your medicine and your medicine be food.” A statement never more true than it is for these green super foods that bring with them nourishment, cleansing, energizing, and healing.