Green food supplements or "superfoods" are totally natural chlorophyll rich foods. They may be derived from either grasses or algae. They have similar properties because they all contain large amounts of chlorophyll. Customers might find the array of products quite confusing, as all profess to do wonders for your health. This article will hopefully help you to find the right green food supplement for your individual needs.
Benefits of chlorophyll rich foods
To understand green foods, it is important to look at the substance that lends them their green quality - chlorophyll. All plants contain at least some chlorophyll; it has been referred to as the "blood of plants" and is indeed rather similar to haemoglobin at a molecular level. Chlorophyll rich foods have the action of building the blood; they contain a wide range of nutrients including iron and B vitamins that will help to treat anaemia. Chlorophyll has been shown to stop bacterial growth; counteract yeast and fungi; and detoxify the body of drugs and carcinogens. It can help to reduce inflammation; renew tissue and counteract bad breath and body odour. Chlorophyll can halt tooth decay when used as a tooth powder. Chlorophyll is a friend of the liver; it helps to counteract the toxic effects of modern western dietary habits.
A supplement not a substitute
It should be noted that in order to fully benefit from green food products, poor diet and lifestyle habits must be addressed. If you use these foods as a substitute for eating a wide variety of vegetables and wholegrain foods, you will not feel their full effect.
Micro algae are primitive organisms; they were among the first life forms on earth. They are unusual in that they do not fall readily into either category - plant or animal, but exist somewhere in between. All algae are rich in easily assimilated protein, nucleic acids, minerals and beta-carotene; they also contain appreciable amounts of GLA and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) help to renew cells and thus reverse the degenerative aging process. The micro algae that are available in the Haelan Centre are spirulina, blue-green algae and chlorella.
The protein digestibility of spirulina is rated at 85% versus about 20% for beef. This is because the protein it contains has been pre-digested by the algae. Spirulina is useful for vegetarians who are often lacking in protein. Signs of protein deficiency include weakness, cravings for protein rich foods and over consumption of foods such as cheese and refined soya products. Spirulina also contains Mucopolysacharides (MPs), which have the effect of making connective tissue more elastic and resilient. MPs are also strongly anti-inflammatory.
Spirulina is suitable for support in the treatment of: anaemia; hepatitis; gastritis; diabetes; hypoglycaemia; obesity; overeating; malnourishment; poor skin tone; chronic skin problems. It may also help to increase mental capacity. Spirulina is not suitable for: people with signs of coldness accompanied by dampness (water retention; cysts; mucus and yeasts in the lower abdomen). It is suitable for dampness with signs of heat.
Please note: spirulina may be taken safely during pregnancy, but be sure to build up the dosage slowly, to avoid rapid detoxification. See Notes on taking algae.
Chlorella contains slightly less protein than spirulina, much less beta-carotene and twice the nucleic acid and chlorophyll. It also contains more essential fatty acids than spirulina. It is less cooling and more gently cleansing. Chlorella is more expensive because of the processing required improving the digestibility of the tough outer cell wall and the complex harvesting techniques. This tough cell wall binds with heavy metals, pesticides and carries the toxins safely out of the body. Chlorella has a property known as CGF or Chlorella Growth factor. This is related to the nucleic acid, which has been shown to have immune strengthening properties improving the activity of T- and B- cells, which defend against viruses and other invading microorganisms. CGF promotes normal growth, but does not promote the growth of tumours.
Chlorella is suitable for support in the treatment of: viral and fungal overgrowth and other problems stemming from a weakened immune system; injuries; slow growth patterns; MS; sciatica and other nerve disorders. It may also help to reduce cholesterol and prevent athereosclerosis. Chlorella is not suitable for: those who are overweight or pregnant (if you have been taking chlorella one year prior to conception you may continue to take it).
Wild blue green algae
These algae should be used with caution, particularly those with a thin, dry constitution. It is particularly useful for help to alleviate depression and sluggishness and for concentrating and focusing the mind. When taken in conjunction with a diet low in toxins, it is said to induce a "blissed out feeling." Wild blue-green algae reduce damp-heat and help to overcome liver stagnancy. It is ideal for overweight, robust, excessive people who may have consumed an excess of saturated fats as found in meat, dairy and refined foods.
Wild blue green algae is suitable for support in the treatment of: any condition associated with dampness - tumours, arthritis, M.S. and candida overgrowth; cocaine or amphetamine addiction.
Wild blue green algae is not suitable for: people who are frail or those with signs of coldness, thinness or dryness. It can also cause individuals to become "spacey" and unfocussed if they have been taking it for too long, or if it is unsuited to their constitution. Avoid if you are pregnant (if you have been taking wild blue green algae one year prior to conception you may continue to take it as long as you are still suited to it).
Notes on taking algae
See sections below for dosages.
Digestive upset or mild headache may indicate a mild healing reaction
The more toxins you have in your system, the more slowly you should increase the dose.
Take between meals for an energy boost.
Take for a maximum of six days in a week.
Algae are more readily digested in powder form, especially those with weak digestive systems. The powder may be mixed with apple juice; fruit puree; or soup.
Dosages for spirulina
Start with a minimum dose - two or three capsules or a quarter of a teaspoon, increase according to your needs, until you experience more energy and fewer cravings for protein. The maximum recommended dose is one or two heaped teaspoons of powder per day or ten grams of tablets / capsules.
Dosages for chlorella
These micro-algae are more potent and so are taken in smaller amounts. The daily dose of chlorella for prevention of disease is two to three grams. Higher doses (six to ten grams) may be taken during illness under the guidance of a practitioner.
Dosages for wild blue green algae
Only one or two grams of wild blue green algae are needed for prevention of disease. Three to ten grams may be taken if required, but only under the guidance of a practitioner.
The therapeutic properties of wheat grass and barley grass are practically identical, although barley grass is slightly more easily digested. Wheat and barley grass do not contain gluten (as the grain does) and are therefore suitable for those with allergies to wheat or barley. In powder or capsule form grasses contain slightly less chlorophyll and beta-carotene than the algae. They are about 20% protein (much less than the algae); they are rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals depending on the soil in which they are grown.
Unlike the algae, grasses contain digestive enzymes, which help the body deal with processing toxic or indigestible material in the gut. The chlorophyll in the grasses also aids this process. The grasses contain a fraction called P4D1, which has a very powerful anti-inflammatory effect. This is in addition to the anti-inflammatory action of chlorophyll and MPs. They also contain a powerful anti-oxidant called SOD (superoxide dismutase), which slows cellular degeneration due to exposure to free radicals.Wheatgrass is more cooling and cleansing than spirulina and chlorella, but less so than blue green algae.
Wheatgrass or Barleygrass is suitable for support in the treatment of: arthritis; constipation; anaemia; fatigue; pre-menstrual syndrome; yeast imbalance; heavy metal toxicity.
Those with the following conditions should use cereal grasses with caution: weak, frail people with signs of coldness. Chlorella or spirulina may be more suitable.
Properties of fresh wheatgrass juice
Fresh juice is more cooling and is useful for a more robust person (heat or excess signs, aversion to heat, yellow tongue coating, loud voice, reddish complexion and extroverted manner). Fresh juice may not be quite as abundant in nutrients because of the type of soil it is grown in. That said, it will retain some extra nutrients and qualities due to its fresh and minimally processed form. The dried forms are most suitable for those with signs of dampness - excess mucus, yeast imbalance or cysts.
Dosage for wheatgrass and barley grass
One rounded teaspoon of juice powder is mixed with half a cup of water. Ideally taken one hour or more before meals, on an empty stomach. Take once a day for maintenance, two or three times a day for treating disease. Due to the detoxifying nature of the grasses you might experience a mild headache, diarrhoea or other discomfort. If this occurs, halve your next dosage. If the symptoms persist, discontinue use, and try a less detoxifying product such as chlorella or spirulina.
Green in your everyday food
Every green food will have therapeutic properties described under the chlorophyll rich food section above. Try to include a large proportion of green foods in your diet to counteract environmental toxins and provide a wide range of nutrients.