There are greens and then there are “Supergreens.” Most people are familiar with the basic greens such as Romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, just to name a few. These are referred to as leafy greens. However, maybe only a few people know or recognize supergreens and the power that they can have on improving our overall health. Supergreens are so powerful that our bodies only require small amounts to reap the benefits they offer. So powerful that if you had to, you could survive consuming only supergreens daily (though I don’t recommend it under normal conditions); which is why the word “super” should not be taken very lightly when referring to these particular greens.
Over the years, supergreens have gained in popularity, and why shouldn’t they? Packed with chlorophyll, an inherent property of all green plants, these supergreens flood the blood supply with oxygen, which not only helps detoxify the body, but also helps neutralize cancer-causing free radicals.
However, the benefits don’t stop there; an increase in energy level has also been reported as a positive side effect from consuming supergreens daily. In this day and age, caffeine has become a main staple to help revive an exhausted mind and body. However, it is proven that caffeine wreaks havoc on our bodies and immune system and causes cortisol levels to rise, which can cause weight gain (especially around the waist) and accelerates the aging process (Caffeine Blues, Cherniske,1998).
On the contrary, supergreens naturally increase stamina, energy levels, endurance, mental clarity, awareness, and memory due to the rich, highly potent, and readily absorbable nutrients contained in these greens. Supergreens contain an abundant amount of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, trace elements, chlorophyll, enzymes, and proteins that are easily absorbed by the body.
If leafy greens are not what we’re talking about here, then what exactly are supergreens? Most supergreens can fall into the following categories: grasses, sprouts, algae, and sea vegetables, each unique unto themselves.
The following are examples of the wide variety of supergreens available to us with a brief description of some of their health benefits.
The most popular of grasses are wheatgrass and barley grass. “Man eats cows and cows eat grass, so why doesn’t man just eat grass instead of cows?” Two of the most potent supergreens on the planet are wheatgrass and barley grass. Many researchers have written articles and reports solely on their health benefits alone.
There is very little nutritional difference between wheatgrass and barley grass. Both are supergreens that deliver concentrated nutrition with high chlorophyll content. In addition they contain 18 of the 20 amino acids and all the essential amino acids; vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E and K; the minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, iodine, copper, and phosphorous; and various antioxidants such as apignenin and superoxide dismutase, or SOD.
So powerful are these supergreens that they have been widely promoted to help prevent and maybe even cure various types of disease, including cancer. Grasses can be consumed as a fresh juice or they can be chewed to extract the juices while the dried wad of wheatgrass is spit out. You see our human stomachs are a little different than our animal friends and so we cannot digest grasses if we were to eat and swallow them. Cows for instance have stomachs that have evolved to break up and digest grasses. Our stomachs are not capable of breaking apart the cellulose in grasses like we can in other plants, like green vegetables for instance. The best way to get the most out of wheatgrass is to juice it with a masticating juicer. While wheatgrass and barley grass are best consumed as a “live” food (best when freshly harvested), they can be taken freeze dried, as tablets, extracts, tinctures, or powders.
Wheat and barley grass are two of the most popular and highly effective supergreens, however algae such as spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae, pack a good punch too.
Spirulina and Chlorella are single celled, water grown algae rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and enzymes. Both spirulina and chlorella have been used as high protein sources that contain all of the amino acids to help with building muscle, strength, and endurance. They also improve energy levels, balance blood sugar, and build stronger bones. Both spirulina and chlorella are complete proteins which are easily absorbed by the body and contain large amounts of chlorophyll. They help decrease appetite and can be used to help facilitate fat loss. Both algae can be added to smoothies and juices or sprinkled on salads.
Blue-green Algae (E3live, Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae - AFA) is wild harvested, and packed with nutrients similar to spirulina and chlorella with one of the richest sources of chlorophyll found in nature. High chlorophyll content helps increase oxygen uptake in our bodies, resulting in more fuel to the muscles and therefore increasing endurance, strength, and performance while shortening recovery time—especially good for avid athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It provides all the benefits of spirulina and chlorella in addition to nourishing the brain and creating greater mental alertness, stamina, and memory. It’s a complete protein source that is both easily digestible and useable. It helps suppress appetite because of its high nutrient source and therefore aids in fat loss. Take E3live in the morning on an empty stomach or any time right before you exercise to get an increase in energy.
Also known as seaweed, sea vegetables are highly nutritious foods that provide all 56 minerals and trace elements required for the human body’s physiological function, such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, iodine, etc. Sea vegetables, like greens, are also rich in chlorophyll, fiber, and minerals. They contain a significant amount of vitamins, especially the B vitamins. The amino acid composition of sea vegetable proteins is generally well balanced and contains all or most of the essential amino acids. As a result, sea vegetables have a higher quality protein than certain grains and beans. Sea vegetables also help regulate hormones, promote a youthful look to your skin, and cleanse the body of toxic pollutants. Some of the most popular sea vegetables are dulse, nori, kelp, and wakame.
Sprouts happen to be one of the most nutrient packed foods. They are economical, easy to digest, and are full of oxygen and enzymes. When they are sprouted and eaten, they provide the body with a form of living energy. When you eat a sprout, you are eating a tiny, easy-to-digest plant that is at its peak nutritional value. The seed releases all its stored nutrients to become a plant and you get the best of what it has to offer. Since sprouts are living foods, they contain oxygen essential for healthy cells. They contain extraordinarily high levels of high quality protein which aids in muscle recovery and tissue rebuilding. Sprouts also contain essential fatty acids that help perform basic bodily functions. Next to sea vegetables, sprouts are the best source of minerals and trace minerals. Most sprouts are rich in calcium and magnesium, have more phosphorus than fish, and are excellent source of hard to find trace minerals such as tritium, selenium, manganese, chromium, and others (Sprouts the Miracle Food, Meyerowit, 1999).
Some of the most popular and easiest seeds to sprout are sunflower, pea shoots, alfalfa, lentils, mung beans, and quinoa. Make sure you add lots of sprouts in your next salad so your body can be fueled with living foods.
Simply adding supergreens daily into smoothies and juices is an excellent way to get extra nutrients into your body; just remember to rotate your supergreens so you can have a variety every day.
Copyright © 2013 Mary Luciano
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