"Eat your greens!" Spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, parsley, cilantro, and...algae? In addition to the beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients present in green foods, many of these nutritious foods are also powerful friends to your body's natural detoxification efforts. You may be serving up a platter of green salad, or enjoying a green smoothie - either way, greens are good!
Chlorophyll - The Ultimate Green
Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants and algae. Chlorophyll is critical in the process of photosynthesis, the process through which plants convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen using sunlight. Chlorophyll is the most important biological compound needed for plants to live and thrive. Proponents say that chlorophyll assists in the detoxification process by binding to and removing heavy metals from the body, and by creating an alkaline environment.
In a 9-year Netherlands Cohort Study on 120,852 subjects ages 55-69 years, researchers concluded that the risk of colon cancer in men elevates with increased intake of heme iron and decreased amounts of chlorophyll. The dietary heme iron formed toxic, carcinogenic substances when metabolized, and chlorophyll blocked this reaction.
Chlorophyll is found in many beneficial green foods. Here are three ways you can incorporate greens to help your body detoxify:
Chlorella is a single-celled, green micro-algae that contains chlorophyll. Proponents say that Chlorella's small size and molecular structure allow it to bond to metals, chemicals, and even some pesticides - carrying these toxins out of the body. A three year, double-blind metal detoxification study with over 350 participants was undertaken at a Russian metal foundry using Chlorella as a heavy metal detoxifier. The results showed that a combination of broken cell wall Chlorella combined with cilantro removed heavy metals - including mercury.
According to the National Integrated Health Associates (NIHA), Chlorella is toxin binding, repairs and activates the body's natural detoxification functions by dramatically increasing reduced glutathione, and restores bowel flora by reducing heavy metal binding on the pathogenic bacteria and fungus.
"Chlorella is our food of choice for detoxing the bowel and body, because it is not only a great chelator but a very important food supplying many vital nutrients required to detox and change your internal body chemistry to a healthier environment." - Dr. Mark McClure, DDS, FAGD, Doctor of Integrative Medicine
Spirulina is another microscopic, single-cell algae, containing both chlorophyll (green pigment), and phycocyanin (blue pigment). The chlorophyll present in spirulina provides the same benefits as in Chlorella, plus the phycocyanins provide additional benefits. Researchers in Japan have found that phycocyanins can help protect the liver and kidneys during detoxification, and a Cuban study showed that phycocyanin has hepatoprotective (liver) effects.
A 2013 published review of Spirulina states "Spirulina has several pharmacological activities, such as antimicrobial (including antiviral and antibacterial), anticancer, metalloprotective (prevention of heavy-metal poisoning), as well as immunostimulant and antioxidant effects due to its rich content of protein, polysaccharide, lipid, essential amino and fatty acids, dietary minerals and vitamins."
Green Plant Foods
The deeper the green color of a plant food, the richer that food is in chlorophyll. Cereal grasses, such as wheatgrass or barley grass, are notoriously high in chlorophyll. Other plant foods high in chlorophyll include:
- Sea Vegetables
- Brussels Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
The best way to introduce more chlorophyll into your diet is to eat fresh, organic, chlorophyll-rich foods and drink their juices. Incorporating algaes like chlorella and spirulina can further the benefits, giving your body the nutrients it needs to naturally detoxify and support your quest for optimal, radiant wellness.
Melissa Zimmerman, Healthy Goods
Nutritional and Medical Applications of Spirulina Microalgae; S.M. Hoseini; Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry; Bentham Science Publishers, June 2013; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23544470
National Integrated Health Associates; http://www.nihadc.com/library/doc_download/54-4-dosing-with-chlorella.html