You have probably seen recipes for detox diets that say add a spoonful of green superfood to your juice or green smoothie. So what exactly are green superfoods and why should you use them?
You know that greens are good for you. Experts have been telling us that for years. Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, those natural plant chemicals that are needed for good health. Green superfoods are another breed of green vegetable that are even better for you.
These green giants are made from algae and cereal grasses like barley grass, chlorella, spirulina, blue-green algae, wheat grass, and alfalfa. They are simply chock full of energy boosting and health giving nutrients – vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, antioxidants, fiber, protein, nucleic acids ( they direct cellular renewal, growth, and repair) and more.
In some cases green superfoods are used to treat various types of health conditions. They contain high levels of organic chlorophyll which is a potent blood and tissue cleanser and is essential for any detox program. Their nutrients help repair and regenerate cells and tissue.
Because they contain such high amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants the juice can be used to help correct imbalances in the diet, especially for people who do not eat properly. ( I am not saying that you can substitute them for a bad diet!). A number of green superfoods are often blended together in one supplement and sold in health food stores.
Barley grass refers to the young green shoots that form before the grain. When they are about 12-14 inches high, they contain, as well as chlorophyll, all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids needed for the human diet.
Barley grass juice is loaded with enzymes that enable it to be digested and absorbed very easily. Researchers show that it can neutralize free radicals and toxic chemicals, including pesticides.
Green Barley powder has been shown to help protect cells against damage by toxins. For this reason it is especially useful in the intestines. It can counteract the effects of intestinal poisons.
You will find it in supplements as dried grass or dried juice powder. Humans can’t digest the grass but new technology has resulted in the production of microfine whole food powder which is reputed to be absorbed by the body.
Alfalfa is often referred to as an herb but it is really a legume that belongs to the pea family. It is grown to feed livestock. but its leaves, sprouts, and seeds have been used for thousands of years to make medicines.
The roots of the plant are capable of going down twenty to thirty feet into the ground so it is rich in nutrients that are way down in the subsoil and not available on the surface.
It can be found as seeds, sprouts, powder and tablets. Sprouting alfalfa seed can increase the vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content considerably. It contains saponins that may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Top your detox salad with a handful of alfalfa sprouts. Or, grind up the seeds in a spice grinder and add to salads. Add some sprouts to your detox juices.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae, a microscopic plant, that grows in both fresh and sea water. It is considered to be one of nature’s most complete foods and thought to contain every nutrient required by the human body.
It has a high protein content and, unusually for a plant, contains all eight essential amino acids in the right ratio. The liver uses certain amino acids during Phase II detox.
Like other green superfoods, Spirulina helps to maintain a healthy pH balance. It creates an environment in the body that encourages detox and weight loss. By supplying the body with a powerhouse of nutrients it needs it can reduce cravings that you might get on a detox diet. But you have to take enough of it. A couple of tablets is not going to do it. It is a food and you need to take it in gram doses. Take a handful of tablets. Don’t worry if your stools turn green.
Spirulina is good for intestinal health too. It supports the “friendly” bacteria in your digestive tract that help strengthen your immune system and help detox. Spirulina can help to remove aluminum, carbon tetrachloride, and other toxins from the body
Well I could almost repeat everything I have said about spirulina here. Chlorella is lower in protein but has more chlorophyll which makes it just that much better for cleansing. If your bowels are a bit sluggish then taking chlorella can help when you are on a detox diet.
If you have a very sensitive bowel or bowel disease like Crohn’s chlorella could give you diarrhea. It would be better to start with spirulina to see how you tolerate it and add chlorella only very gradually and slowly one you tolerate spirulina.
Chlorella is particularly good for heavy metal detox. You can read more about that in a previous post:
If your stools don’t go green when you are taking chlorella you are not taking enough.
Wheat Grass Juice
Ann Wigmore was perhaps the best known proponent of wheat grass juice. She apparently used it every day for over 30 years. She believed that whatever you had wrong with you wheat grass juice would very likely help you where medicines had not.
Ann found that the active compounds in grass juices cleanse the blood and neutralize toxins. According to her just 140g of fresh wheat grass has the same nutritional value as over 3kg of fresh green vegetables! And just one teaspoon of wheat grass powder is nutritionally equal to 50 grams of spinach.
Although I don’t know of any research on the effect of wheat grass on the liver it’s believed that it does stimulate liver detox function. Many people testify to the fact that they suffered nausea when they tried the juice for the first time. This is seen as a detox reaction.
You can grow your own wheat grass at home or get trays of it delivered but you have to have a special juicer or an attachment to juice it. It’s more convenient to buy it as powder or tablets but you won’t get the benefits of the enzymes that are present in the fresh juice.
Enzymes are considered to be the key factor in preventing chronic disease. Decreased enzyme levels are found in a number of chronic ailments and even diseases like diabetes and cancer. Companies that freeze dry the juice claim that the enzymes remain in the finished product.
Also, we know that decreased enzyme levels are found in a number of chronic ailments, such as allergies, skin disease, and even serious diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Green Superfood Supplements
Some green superfood products may contain a whole host of other ingredients as well. Some have added vegetable and fruit extracts to make them even more nutritious and better tasting. There are hundreds of them on the market and vary considerably in price. My advice is to look for ones that have been organically grown in unpolluted environments.
Try adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of a green superfood to your next detox juice or detox smoothie for a boost of energy and a bucket load of nutrients.