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Go Green To Reinvigorate Your Health

By Dr. Michael Richardson
Updated September 13, 2016

When you look at the traditional color spectrum, notice that green is right at the center. According to Color Therapy Healing, green represents love, healing, balance and harmony.

Unsurprisingly, green foods are also stars in their roles as part of your diet. These foods are full of nutrients and are immune boosting, detoxifying and energizing. When green foods grow, they provide oxygen for our planet and the people on it.

Keep reading to discover exactly why going green in your diet can do wonders for your health.

They’re An Abundant Source Of Chlorophyll

Green foods are high in chlorophyll, the pigment plants need for photosynthesis and a collector of energy from the sun. You can consider chlorophyll the plant equivalent of hemoglobin in our blood, although it has magnesium at the center instead of iron, which is what is present in human blood.

Since chlorophyll can stimulate red blood cell production, it’s beneficial for treating anemia. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, helps with digestion, boosts your immunity, works against the effects of pollution and helps your body get more oxygen. While this plant substance doesn’t actually kill germs, it does provide an environment that makes it harder for germs to grow.

According to Organic Facts, chlorophyll can help balance hormones, speed up the healing of wounds and contribute to the formation of strong muscles and bones. It can also help prevent the formation of kidney stones and encourages healthy skin because of its abundant levels of antioxidants and magnesium.

The Nutrition Research Journal also reports that some studies have indicated it may be an agent that prevents some forms of cancer. There is no known unsafe dose of chlorophyll, unlike some other vitamins, minerals and substances.

They’re Packed With Beta-Carotene

While chlorophyll hides the telltale orange-yellow hue, green foods also have beta-carotene. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that beta-carotene is converted by your body into Vitamin A, which is needed for eye health, a strong immune system, healthy skin and healthy mucus membranes.

While large doses of Vitamin A can be harmful, your body will only convert as much beta-carotene into Vitamin A as it needs, so it’s completely safe to consume in foods. If you do decide to take beta-carotene or Vitamin A supplements, be careful and stick to the recommended dosing guidelines to avoid any toxicity from over-consumption.

Some Green Foods To Try

Wheat, rye, oat and barley are grown for their chlorophyll-rich grasses. Generally, people who are allergic to the grains are usually sensitive to the gluten but not the grasses. However, if you are allergic to any of those grains, start your grass-regimen slowly, and stop if you have any sort of reaction.

Alfalfa is probably the most commercial source of chlorophyll. This member of the pea plant family is a detoxifier and is also full of fiber. Common uses include the treatment of arthritis, ulcers and bladder infections, and it’s also now being used to help normalize the production of estrogen.

Alfalfa is full of calcium, potassium, and the Vitamins D, C, B-2 and B-6. It also has small amounts of Vitamin K, which Web MD says is a major component of blood clotting.

Part of the Poaceae Family, barley grass is from the young grass of barley grain and is a pleasant-tasting super food. This grass is full of antioxidants and enzymes, including the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which Web MD notes is being evaluated for its anti-cancer properties. Barley grass is also full of selenium, manganese, calcium, niacin, biotin and Vitamins B-1, B-2 and C.

Blue-green algae, which are found in freshwater lakes, are high in protein, reports Web MD. It also has a soft cell wall, making it easy to digest.

Other specific blue-green algae are the spiral-shaped and multi-celled spirulina. These algae yield 20 times more protein than soy when compared acre to acre and also have Vitamin B12. Like other blue-green algae types, its soft-walled cell structure makes it easy to digest. It’s popular with dieters and reportedly helps suppress appetite and makes you feel satisfied.

Wheat grass has been around for centuries but has recently become popular again. This grass is around 95 percent water, with the remaining 5 percent composed of a lot of nutrients, including B-complex, beta carotene, Vitamins U, K, E and C, cobalt, iron and calcium. The Hippocrates Health Institute notes that wheat grass is a powerful detox agent and has more Vitamin C than a typical orange.

Green Food Inclusion Tips

There is a large variety of ways to get more green foods into your diet. Blue-green algae, for example, come in tablet and powdered forms. With powder forms, you can add the algae into your smoothies or daily nutrient juice. Spirulina, because of its diet applications, is commonly sprinkled onto foods such as soups, salads and sauces.

When you’re buying powdered or tablet forms of these green foods, consider the source. Only buy from reputable vendors so you’re getting a high-quality source, and check all labels and product information for any additives. While the additives may not be harmful, they can reduce the amount of the green food you’re looking for in the product and pose a problem if you have allergies.

With wheat grass, juicing fresh grass is one of its most popular uses. Generally, to juice, you take fresh wheat grass and cut it at the base of its blades. The remaining tops are then inserted into your juicer. Be aware that these shoots are delicate and slender, so they may not produce more than a small amount of juice at one time.

One cup of shoots, for instance, may yield only around one ounce of juice. Since wheat grass juice can have a strong taste, consider adding to another juice or smoothie you already enjoy so that its flavor is masked or diluted.

Whichever way you decide to add more green foods into your diet, make sure you also aim for variety at the same time. You’re much more likely to stick with your diet changes if you do things in a way that lets you experiment with different flavors and try new things. Pin It

Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try some new and daring combinations. Worst case scenario is that you don’t like the taste and/or consistency of whatever you created, but you can always try again if that happens. You may just find your new favorite food combination or drink!

Not all your green foods have to be super foods. Include some common green foods, such as kale, collards and dandelion greens, to get a nutrient boost into your daily diet. When your diet includes various colors from natural sources, it’s more likely to have a wider variety of vitamins. Make sure you have some green foods on your daily eating list to ensure your nutrition is super-powered!

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Michael Richardson
Passionate about sharing the latest scientifically sound health, fitness and nutrition advice and information, Dr Richardson received his Master of Science in Nutrition from New York University, and a Bachelor Degree from New Jersey University. He has since gone on to specialize in sports nutrition, weight management and helping his patients to heal physical ailments by making changes to their eating habits and lifestyles.

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