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Think 'green' when you make your food and supplement choices.

Source: Better Nutrition, Nov 1997 v59 nil p30(1).
Author: Patty A. Harder

Let's face it, we live in a toxic world. In fact, it's a virtual breeding ground for ill-health and disease. The good news is that nature has provided many solutions for fighting the effects of everyday life. Among these solutions are the "green foods."

Included in the "greenEfood group are chlorophyll, alfalfa, barley grass, wheat grass, spirulina, and green tea. These foods provide vitamins, fiber, protein, micronutrients, and antioxidants as well as other nutritional benefits.
Cancer prevention
When green drinks first natural foods market, the reception was not universally heart-warming. But these natural algae and grasses have a long and illustrious history in the realm of health and healing.

Green tea "The primary clinical application for green tea, - Michael T. Murray, N.D., writes in The Healing Power of Herbs, "is in the prevention of cancer. Population studies have demonstrated that green tea consumption may actually be one of the major reasons why the cancer rate is lower in Japan." As far as how much green tea to drink each day, Murray explains that green tea-drinking cultures consume about three cups daily, or about 240-320 mg of polyphenols (potent antioxidant compounds found in green tea).

Of interesting note, although green tea does contain caffeine, Murray says that the beverage usually does not provide over-stimulation in people who are sensitive to caffeine, himself included.

Green barley. In his book, Off-the-Shell Natural Health, Mark Mayell also tells us that barley grass possesses antioxidant activity, and research indicates that it may shield our cells against damage caused by X-rays and chemical pollutants.

Chlorophyll. Cereal C ass: Nature's Graai&5i Health Gift, coifed by Rcnald L. Seibold, M.S., states that, "Chlorophyll-rich plant extracts...dramatically inhibit the carcinogenic effects of common dietary and environmental chemicals." Chlorophyll, the component which makes green plants green, and which is responsible for plant photosynthesis, is a common denominator in all green foods, including the cereal grass, barley grass.
Odor control
Chlorophyll has also been used as a personal deodorizer for decades. Chlorella, a single-celled green algae, has more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant. Chlorella's action on bad breath and body odors also comes into play via its action of clearing bowel toxicity, the primary cause of this often touchy health issue. David Steenblock, B.S., M.Sc., D.O., in Chlorella: Natural Medicine Algae explains, "In addition to chlorophyll's action on anaerobic bacteria [in the intestinal tract], chlorella's cell walls act to absorb poisons within the intestine and promote normal peristalsis."

Cereal grasses, such as barley, often eaten as a source of fiber, are another good choice for detoxifying the bowel and thus controlling body odor.
Oral health
Earl Mindell's Secret Remedies includes "green" recipes for oral health. Among them are spirulina (as well as green tea) to strengthen the body against oral cancers. Mindell writes, "The blue-green microalgae spirulina...have been found to be a rich natural source of proteichers at the University of California at Berkeley," he reports, "recently learned that compounds called tannins, found in green and black tea, can kill the bacteria that are responsible for tooth cavities.

So, think "green" when you make your food and supplement choices. And keep in mind these words from Cereal Grass: "Green plant.":, not only feed us, they provide us with the oxygen which is our breath of life...."

Mayell, Mark. Off-the-Shelf Natural Health. New York: Bantam Books, 1995.
Mindell, Earl, R.Ph., Ph.D. Earl Mindell's Secret Remedies. New York: Fireside, 1997.
Murray, Michael, N.D. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, Calif.: Prima Publishing, 1992.
Seibold, Ronald L., M.S., ed. Cereal Crass: Nature's Greatest Gift. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats Publishing, 1991.
Steenblock, David, B.S., M.Sc., D.O. Chlorella: Natural Medicine Algae. El Toro, Calif.: Aging Research Institute, 1987.

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