We talk a lot about the goodness of greens and the importance of loading up mealtime plates with dark leafy veggies. These powerhouses of nutrition provide fibre and vitamins in their purest form, but what makes these emerald gems so good for us and what gives our favourite veggies their rich green colour? Here we investigate the nutritional power of chlorophyll.
What is chlorophyll?
Naturally produced within plants and algae, chlorophyl is a pigment that gives vegetables their rich green colour. Often referred to as the life blood of plants, chlorophyll absorbs sunlight needed for photosynthesis, which is how they transform this light into useable energy. Interestingly, chlorophyll has a very similar chemical structure to that of haemoglobin in our red blood cells. Within its complex chemical structure, the only element in chlorophyll that differs from haemoglobin is the mineral magnesium. (Whereas haemoglobin in our blood contains iron, chlorophyll contains magnesium). Chlorophyll-rich green plant foods are seen as an excellent nutritional tonic for the blood.
What are the benefits of chlorophyll?
As a relatively ‘new’ ingredient, chlorophyll was first studied in the 1940s/1950s to help promote the healing of wounds. It was only isolated and recognised for photo synthesis in the early 1800s. More recent research has suggested that different types of chlorophyll have different benefits, but there are many that are talked of including the following:
Chlorophyll is thought to support the body’s natural detoxification processes. A cleanse integrating the use of chlorophyll rich foods such as blue green algae and wheatgrass, may support the body in detoxing heavy metals, environmental toxins and other substances that accumulate in the body.
Chlorophyll is traditionally thought to be a cleansing and healing aid for the whole digestive system. This may be especially helpful for those with a tendency towards constipation.
Through its cleansing actions, it has also reported to be an effective natural internal deodoriser.
With our modern diets that are high in refined and processed foods, our body Ph can potentially become too acidic, it can lead to symptoms such as reduced energy or lethargy. Chlorophyll rich foods are naturally alkaline and may help neutralise this excessive acidity and support our vital energy levels.
Chlorophyll is seen as a natural ‘anti-oxidant’ in its ability to bind free radicals and protect the body’s cells from free radical damage – and it is therefore thought to have cell regenerating, anti-aging and protective properties.
What should I eat?
To make sure you are getting plenty of chlorophyll in your diet, eat dark green vegetable such as leafy greens, wheatgrass and blue green algae. These are the very best sources of chlorophyll on the planet.
Chlorophyll is water soluble and can be lost when green veggies are cooked in water – so it’s best to eat your super greens in salads, smoothies or green juices.
You can supplement your diet with chlorophyll too, available in both tablet and liquid form.
With thanks to KiKi Health, Solaray and Kinetic Health for the information here.