Did you know the green you see in nature – called chlorophyll – is the most powerful healer on earth?
For millions of years before we humans discovered fire, we had been eating lots of green leaves. It’s the perfect food for humans, rich in vital nutrients necessary for health and disease prevention. Research shows the more leafy greens you eat, the longer you live!
Unfortunately, today, most people eat very little greens, if at all.
Let’s face it, for most people, leafy greens are not the most desirable or palatable foods that exist.
That’s one more reason to make drinking green smoothies a habit. Green smoothies are one of the easiest, most efficient ways to get those greens in every day in the raw state – plus, they’re DELICIOUS!
By drinking 2 or 3 cups of green smoothies daily you will consume enough greens for the day to nourish your body, and all of the beneficial nutrients will be well assimilated.
What is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll (also chlorophyl) is a green pigment found in almost all plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Its name is derived from the Greek words χλωρος, chloros (“green”) and φύλλον, phyllon (“leaf”). Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light.
Chlorophyll is actually very similar to human blood, to the hema in human hemoglobin. It helps us rebuild our blood, and it goes without saying that healthy blood is critical to being healthy. Hemoglobin is the component of the blood that carries oxygen. It contains a single molecule of iron, as does chlorophyll. That’s one of the reasons why chlorophyll is so beneficial to the body. It can help to oxygenate the blood in a similar way to hemoglobin.
Research shows the more leafy greens you eat, the longer you live!
10+ Benefits of Chlorophyll
Most people know about the benefits of vitamins and minerals, and the benefits of antioxidants, but to many the benefits of chlorophyll remain unknown.
Chlorophyll has numerous health benefits. Here are some of the known chlorophyll benefits that I found just by doing a quick research online. If you want scientific studies to support those claims, you will have to do the research yourself, sorry.
- Chlorophyll cleanses and oxygenates the blood. It helps the blood carry oxygen to all cells and tissues.
- Having more oxygen available in the blood translates to better endurance and an overall reduction in fatigue.
- Chlorophyll is important in offsetting stress and alkalizing the body.
- Chlorophyll blocks absorption of toxic carcinogens. It helps neutralize free radicals that do damage to healthy cells. it is helpful in protecting the body against toxins and in reducing drug side effects
- Chlorophyll has been seen to help in the growth and repair of tissues.
- Chlorophyll is a natural deodorant. I reduces bad breath, urine, fecal, and body odor.
- Chlorophyll helps to treat infected wounds naturally.
- Chlorophyll has anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Chlorophyll cleanses the liver and digestive tract, boosts blood with iron, vitamin C and folic acid.
- Chlorophyll supports the respiratory system and our moods.
- Chlorophyll is sometimes recommended for anemia, atherosclerosis, wound healing, bad breath, body odor, detoxification, diabetes, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis and herpes infections.
Despite all these benefits, chlorophyll is not considered an essential nutrient, so there are no official daily recommendations for its use, and you will not find it on nutritional fact labels.
Best Natural Sources of Chlorophyll
It’s usually easy to tell when a food has significant amounts of chlorophyll, because chlorophyll provides the green color that is found in grasses, leaves, and many of the vegetables that we eat.
Leafy greens are the main food sources that are rich in chlorophyll content. The amount of chlorophyll found in each plant varies. In spinach, for example, chlorophyll is present by as high as 1% based on dry weight estimation.
Chlorophyll-rich leafy greens include:
- Swiss chard
- romaine lettuce
- dandelion greens
- mustard greens
- beet greens
- carrot greens
- radish greens
- turnip greens
- wheat grass
- barley greens
Green vegetables that contain lots of chlorophyll include asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, celery, green beans, green peas, leeks, and green olives.
Sea vegetables and blue-green algae, chlorella, and spirulina are also super-concentrated sources of chlorophyll. Chlorella is a single celled algae that is by far the richest source of chlorophyll in the world. It has 10 times more chlorophyll than alfalfa, which is where most commercial chlorophyll comes from.
Raw Versus Cooked Greens
Cooking destroys much of the chlorophyll, which is why consumption of these green leaves and vegetables RAW is the best way to obtain the health benefits of chlorophyll.
Although cooking makes food softer and easier to digest for people with digestive problems, however, in the process of heating, most essential vitamins and enzymes in the food get destroyed. In this respect, blending is a lot less harmful than cooking because it saves all the vital nutrients in the food.
When cooking leafy greens and green vegetables, very short steaming is best. Short steaming may actually help absorb more chlorophyll from the plant, especially for people with weakened digestion. However, overcooking should definitely be avoided!
1. Blend well for optimum absorption. Even though raw green vegetables are full of chlorophyll, many people, especially those who are really sick – do not absorb this chlorophyll due to the poor shape their colon is in. Blending on high speeds with a power-blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec, is a must. During blending, the cells of the greens and the fruits are ruptured, making the valuable nutrients easy for the body to assimilate. Digestion starts in the mouth and these tiny particles then become so easy for the body to digest that they are bio-available as soon as you start drinking them.
Juicing is also a good option as juicing green foods eliminates the fiber, making the juice and the chlorophyll easy to be absorbed by your body in a few minutes. Steaming is another option for people with weakened digestive systems.
2. Pace yourself to avoid unpleasant detox side effects. Chlorophyll, because it is such a powerful detoxifying agent, can affect a body very strongly. A person who has a lot of stored toxins in their system can experience side effects from the detoxification process. When toxins are released into the bloodstream for processing, it can have many unpleasant detox symptoms, so if your diet has been extremely chlorophyll-deficient, you may want to start slowly.
3. Rotate your greens. Also, please remember that it is very important to rotate the greens you consume, so that you are not eating the same greens all the time.
4. Use organic produce, or – better yet – grow your own.
Liquid Chlorophyll Products Vs Green Smoothies
OK, so maybe I’m biased, but in my humble opinion eating or drinking your chlorophyll in salads and green smoothies is far superior to any liquid chlorophyll extract. Extracting a single compound, such as chlorophyll, from plants and drinking it, rather than consuming the whole leaves, whether that’s lettuce, cabbage, spinach or carrot tops, will remove beneficial co-nutrients and so could have less benefit than eating whole fresh leafy greens.
Green smoothies are one of the easiest, most efficient ways to get those greens in every day in the raw state – plus, they’re DELICIOUS!
Can You Take Too Much Chlorophyll?
There are differences of opinions about this question. The good news is that if you are eating whole foods, it’s practically impossible to overdose on chlorophyll!
Take a Chlorophyll Challenge
Every day, pick two foods rich in chlorophyll and have a big serving – in a green smoothie, raw green juice, raw salad, raw soup, or other; and take note what is happening in your body.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this smoothie recipes blog for others to enjoy too!
I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!