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Green's to your Health!

"Chlorophyll, the healer, is at once powerful and bland - devastating to germs, yet gentle to wounded body tissues. Exactly how it works is still Nature's secret; [but] to the layperson, at least, the phenomenon seems like green magic."
-- H.E. Kirschner, M.D.
1

    Healing has been associated with the color green throughout history. Green provides the palette for nature's forests, groves, woods, and plants. We feel relieved when we see green, probably because every creature has been living with plants since the creation of our Earth. Color is an important key. As green is an essential color for any plant that undergoes light-synthesis, it is widely known that green colored foods, especially young barley and wheat grasses, are good for human health.


   
While the properties of green foods may vary, one constant element in all green foods is chlorophyll, the essence that makes green foods green. Among other fascinating uses for this pigment, chlorophyll has been shown to cure 1,200 cases of acute infections of the respiratory tract and sinuses.2  It has been successfully used in the treatment of chronic ulcers2,bad breath and oral diseases.3,4  Similarly it has been shown to hasten wound healing2 and has been used to treat kidney stones.5 Moreover chlorophyll has been shown to nullify the effects of a variety of environmental and food substances (such as cigarette smoke, diesel fumes, and fried foods) which are known to cause mutation.6 As the data shows, the nutrients in green foods are vital for human health, but since many cannot be produced in the human body, they must be adopted from plants as food. 

 

    It is no secret that most diets are severely lacking in green food nutrients, vegetable fiber, and other whole, nutritious foods. The traditional western- style diet is based on animal foods such as meat and dairy products, and does not contain a lot of plant foods like fruits, vegetables, seaweed, whole grains, etc. Because of the lack in nutritious foods found in this diet, many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, etc. may result. Based on analysis from many prestigious research institutes, including the National Cancer Institute, American people are urged to eat a varied, well-balanced diet, rich in dark leafy greens.


    The importance of green foods in the diet is now being validated by scientific investigation. Active technical examination has been done regarding why these nutrients are beneficial for our health and for the prevention of disease, and it has been proven that various active components naturally made and contained in vegetables are taking an important role in disease prevention. 

 

    Researchers agree that it is especially important to supplement the diet with various green foods. Because of this, the category of "Green Foods" has acquired its placement among the various health foods and dietary supplements gracing store shelves. This "Green Foods" category is gaining in popularity as the recognition and interest of consumers increases. Many of these green supplements come in powdered drink form, or tablets. Green foods supplements are different from mainstream vitamin and mineral supplements because they are whole food sources of nutrition. Most researchers will acknowledge that the key ingredients forming the core of this genre are as follows.

 

   Barley and Wheat Grasses
    The young grasses of barley and wheat possess an affluent energy to stretch and grow. Barley and wheat grasses are multi nutrient supplements for humans providing protein, dietary fiber (especially insoluble), carotenoids, vitamins B6, B12, and E, folic acid, calcium, iron, chlorophyll and other nutrients.7,8 Barley and wheat grasses have been shown to enhance immune function through stimulating macrophage activity.2 Macrophages play an important role in combating infections and disease. Results from various studies suggest that cereal grasses may lower blood cholesterol and have also shown anti-mutagenic properties.2,9,10 Careful processing of young barely and wheat grasses preserves the active ingredients rich in useful enzymes. These enzymes help to enhance immune function, preventing not only heart diseases and cancer, but also allergies, senile dementia, Alzheimer's and aging. Many health benefits that the grasses hold largely derives from chlorophyll, the source of the green color that functions as the blood of plants. Stemming from this function, current research has shown that barley grass contains constituents that may assist in building the blood.11 


  
Chlorella
Besides barley and wheat grasses there are many other superb sources of green foods. Noted for its anti-oxidant function, chlorella, an algae family, is also rich in chlorophyll and helpful in preventing various diseases. Vegetarians may benefit by consuming chlorella as it is a good source of high quality protein (50% by weight)12,13and has been shown to improve the growth of children.12 Further, it has been shown to improve the healing of wounds14, stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers and chronic gastritis.15,16 Chlorella has been shown to promote intestinal peristalsis (movement through the intestinal tract),15 to regulate cholesterol17,18 and to prevent tumor growth in animals.19,20 However, chlorella is covered by a hard cell wall that is difficult for human digestion. Therefore, it is necessary to look for a chlorella product that is processed to break this hard cell wall. Chlorella grown by an open cultivation method in natural spring waters generally provides more chlorophyll, calcium and magnesium than that produced by other cultivation methods. In addition to these advantages it also tastes better (not like soil).

 

  Other Health Supportive Greens

    At the corner stone of all nutritious diets are dark green, leafy vegetables. Supplementary greens that are prudent additions to one's diet include:


        · Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables, containing a full day's supply of vitamin A and C, as well as generous calcium21
        · Spinach, kale, and collard greens are important since they are excellent sources of lutein. Lutein is an antioxidant found in many plants that protects the retina from free radical oxidation and light damage that contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration.22,23,24 
        · Broccoli sprouts are a rich source of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates that activate detoxification enzymes, boost antioxidant status and protect against chemically induced cancer.25 

    Since busy lifestyles make it difficult to achieve the 5 a day recommendation for greens, supplement manufacturers have made it easy for you by providing these vital nutrients as a convenient tablet or delightful, tasty, nutritious, powdered drink form. There are several high quality products available at health food stores. Among these are Kyo-ChlorellaTM, Kyo-Green®, and the brand new Kyo-Green® Harvest BlendTM.

 

    Every day researchers find new links between diet, pollution and disease.  The challenge for all of us is to find ways to naturally protect our health in a world where we are bombarded with impurities.  The variety of colors in the natural world protects our body from various causes of disease.  Green foods divulge an abundance of health benefits from antioxidant protection leading to enhanced immune function, to detoxification that leaves us with greater energy and less fatigue.  With this in mind, let us make our dining table colorful with the blend of Nature's harvest, and supplement our bodies with the health supporting greens that have been nourishing us for all of time.

References:

1. Seibold, Ronald L., M.S. Cereal Grass: What's in it for you!"Wilderness Community Education Foundation, Inc., p. 42, 1990.
2. Gruskin, G. Chlorophyll--Its therapeutic place in acute and suppurative disease. Am J Surg 49:49-54, 1940.
3. Goldberg, S.L. The use of water-soluble chlorophyll in oral sepsis. Am J. Surg 62:117-123, 1943.
4. Golden, T. and Burke, J.F. Effective management of offensive odors. Gastroenterology 31:260-265, 1956.
5. Berg, W., Bother, C., and Schneider, H.J. Experimental and clinical studies concerning the influence of natural substances on the crystallization of calcium oxalate. Urologe 21:52-58, 1982.
6. Ong, T., Whong, W.Z., Stewart, J., and Brockman, H.E. Chlorophyllin: a potent antimutagen against environmental and dietary complex mixtures. Mutation Res 173:111-115, 1986.
7. Lau, B.H.S., Lau, E.W., Yamasaki, T. Edible plant extracts modulate macrophage activity and bacterial mutagenesis. Intern. Clin. Nutr. Rev. 12(3):147, 1992
8. Lai, C.N. Chlorophyll: The active factor in wheat sprout extract inhibiting the metabolic activation of carcinogens in vitro. Nutr. Cancer 1:19-21, 1979.
9. Lai, C., Dabney, B. and Shaw, C. Inhibition of in vitro metabolic activation of carcinogens of wheat sprout extracts. Nutr. Cancer 1:27-30, 1978.
10. Lai, C., Butler, M. and Matney, T. Antimutagenic activities of common vegetables and their chlorophyll content. Mut Res 77:245-250, 1980
11. Jacobs, J and Jabos, N. Terminal enzymes of heme biosytnthesis in the plant plasma membrane. Arch. Biochem. Biohpys. 323(2)L274-278, 1995.
12. Cook, B.B., Lau, E.W. and Baily, B.M. The protein quality of waste?grown green algae .Quality of protein in mixtures of algae, nonfat powdered milk, and cereals. J. Nutr 81:23-29, 1963.
13.Yamagishi, Y., Yaguchi, I. and Kenmoku, Y. Growth of school children and values of Chlorella on it. Nippon Iji Shimpo. 17-18, No.2196, May 28, 1966.
14. Hasuda, S. and Yasuro, M. Report on experimental administration of Chlorella to cases of incurable wounds. Shinryo and Shinyku. 3(3):17, 1966.
15. Yamagishi, Y., Toigawa, M., Suzuki, R., Hara, T. and Warita, F. Therapy of digestive ulcer by Chlorella. Nippon Iji Shimpo, no. 1997, August 4, 1962.
16. Saito, T. Clinical application of Chlorella preparations. Shinryo And Shinyaku. 3(3):61, 1966.
17. Sano, T., Kumamoto Y, Kamiya N. Effect of lipophilic extract of Chlorella vulgaris on alimentary hyperlipidemia in cholesterol-fed rats. Artery 15:217?224, 1988.
18. Sano, T. and Tanaka, Y. Effect of dried, powdered Chlorella vulgaris on experimental atherosclerosis and alimentary hypercholesterolemia in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Artery 14(2):76-84, 1987.
19. Tanaka, K., Konishi, F., Himeno, K., Taniguchi, K. and Nomoto, K. Augmentation of antitumor resistance by a strain of unicellular green algae, Chlorella vulgaris. Cancer Immunol Immunother 17:90?94, 1984.
20. Konishi, F., Tanaka, K., Himeno, K., Taniguchi, K. and Nomoto, K. Antitumor effect induced by a hot water extract of Chlorella vulgaris (CE): resistance to meth-a tumor growth mediated by ce-induced polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Cancer Immunol Immunother 19:73?78, 1985.
21. U.S. Dept. of Ag, Agricultural Research Service. 2001. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://222.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp
22.  Brown, L. et al. 1999. Am .J. Clin. Nutr. 70(4):517-524
23. Chasan-Taber, L. et al. 1999. Am J. Clin. Nutr. 70(4):509-516.
24. Seddon, J. et al. 1994. JAMA 272(18):1413-1420.
25. Fahey, J. et al. 2001. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 10(5):501-508.




Greens, to, your, Health,