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Nutrient-dense green foods: mining the motherlode


Source: Better Nutrition, June 1998 v60 n6 p16(1).
Author: Steven Schechter


Green food supplements provide optimal nutrient and chlorophyll intake, in addition to a whole-foods diet, to combat the challenges of today's hectic lifestyles within a post-industrial environment permeated with pollutants.

The algae are nature's most primary food with a long history of use. They are single-celled plants millions of years old. The three main algaes are: spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae.
Spirulina
A fresh-water algae from the clean, volcanic lakes of Hawaii, this best-known algae, as its name implies, has a spiral form. Its blue-green color denotes the presence of both chlorophyll (green) and phycocyanidins (blue) pigments.

Spirulina has a systemic effect on the entire body. It is a good food source for those suffering from malnutrition, protein deficiency, hypoglycemia, chronic fatigue, and diabetes.

Spirulina supports our immune system, and has been used to treat ulcers and hepatitis. It is rich in antioxidants, helping counteract ubiquitous chemical pollutants and radioactive isotopes.
Chlorella
Knovn as the "King Of Alkaline Forming Foods," this single-celled, fresh-water algae is the first known form of plant life with a true nucleus. It has the toughest cell wall of any of the algae. This tough cell wall contains cellulose microfibrils which effectively absorb toxins and heavy metals, such as uranium and lead. The most effective chlorella is cracked to release its highly digestible nutrients.

Like spirulina, it has a very positive effect on your immune system through stimulating T-cells and promoting your body's interferon production. It contains up to 7 percent chlorophyll, the highest percentage known to the plant world. It is also rich in amino acids, and contains up to 60 percent vegetable protein.
Blue-green algae (AFA)
Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae -- called Blue-Creen Algae because of its color -- contains 22 amino acids and has 75 percent protein assimilation, with a full spectrum of naturally chelated minerals (organically bound). It provides an abundance of beta-carotene, most of the B-complex vitamins -- the richest of all the alaae in vitamin B-12 -- and some vitamin E. It enhances physical functions and endurance.

AFA is the algae of choice for the mind and nervous system, as it has much higher neuropeptide precursor concentration than spirulina or chlorella, and is reported to have a very positive effect on the hypothalamus, as well as the pineal and pituitary glands. It is a brain food "par excellence." It also appears to enhance immune function, triggering "immune search and destroy" activities by natural-killer (Nk) cells.

Barley, wheat, kamut and other grains have been used for centuries, but only recently did the grasses of these plants gain recognition as important nutrient sources. They offer unique digestive enzymes not found in such concentration in other foods.
Barley grass
The green leaves of this delicate grass are juiced and carefully freeze-dried to protect their vital nutrients -- containing all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and chlorophyll necessary for a healthful diet. Green barley juice can give you more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than orange juice, and five times the iron of spinach. It is a powerful antioxidant containing carotenoids, vitamins C and E, selenium, and superoxide dismutase (SOD). It is helpful in restoring the liver and is an excellent food for those suffering from anemia.
Wheatgrass
People with wheat allergies may use this green food safely, as it does not contain the gluten of the wheat grain. Its young leaves, like barley grass, are harvested long before they mature and produce their seed. It is one of the most common green grasses grown and, with a sweeter taste than barley grass, is juiced on a daily basis in many countries. It contains 25 percent protein and a balanced amino acid profile.
An important component in all plants is their lifeblood -- chorophyll.
Chlorophyll -- green gold. Chlorophyll is essential to all life on earth. It helps plants purify the air, raise oxygen levels, harness the sun's energy for plant food, and provides a host of health benefits for us.Chlorophyll is easily digestible because of its water solubility. It is also rich in fat-soluble substances, such as vitamin K, which helps blood clot, and prevents oxalate crystals (precursors to kidney stones) from forming in urine.

Since 1780, when scientific research first began on chlorophyll, studies have shown that chlorophyll strengthens immunity, protects against and detoxifies a wide range of chemical pollutants and radiation, purifies your blood, stimulates circulation, helps in the treatment of yeast infections and candida albicans, improves your immune system, and produces many other benefits.

One caution: these green foods are very concentrated. Too much of them taken initially could result in rapid detoxification causing nausea, headaches, irritability, or liver or lymph inflammation. Unless there is an acute need, I suggest beginning with 1/2 the recommended dosage for 1-2 weeks, children taking proportionately less, then increasing the dosage.

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