One thing just can’t be beat for energy, immunity, gut health, and cleansing—green foods. Spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, and other powdered gems are concentrated sources of nutrients, each with their own unique mix of vitamins and minerals. We sat down with green foods expert David Sandoval, author of The Green Foods Bible: Could Green Plants Hold the Key to Our Survival?, and owner and co-founder of the health company Purium, to get the inside scoop on buying and using these supplements.
BN: What are the most important health benefits of green foods?
DS: There are endless health benefits associated with green foods, both scientific-based uses and anecdotal ones. Here are my favorites:
- Excellent source of prebiotics
- Alkalizing effect on the body
- Liver detoxification
- Blood builder (for stronger hemoglobin)
- Energy aid
- Natural immune support
BN: What are the main differences and health benefits of green foods, specifically spirulina, chlorella, and grasses?
DS: Here are my thoughts on these incredible foods:
Health Benefits of Spirulina and Chlorella
Spirulina is a natural multivitamin, and a vegan source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also rich in phycocyanin, a powerful polyphenolic compound. Chlorella is best for heavy metal detox and tumor suppression. It also promotes healthy bone growth and cellular replication. Both are similar in that they are chlorophyll-rich algae. Both are rich in essential amino acids, low in fat, and high in fiber and minerals. Chlorophyll is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound healer that has been found to aid in normalizing the blood counts of anemic individuals. Both algae contain some vitamin B. Along with the usual vitamin and mineral suspects found in deep green plant foods—B vitamins, carotenoids, magnesium, and vitamin C—chlorella also contains some potent flavonoid nutrients, including lutein, which is important for eye health. Chlorella also contains a rare xanthophyll, a type of carotenoid that, like beta-carotene, has vitamin A activity.
Health Benefits of Barley Grass and Wheatgrass
Barley grass and wheatgrass are mineral-rich green vegetables. They help fight inflammation associated with arthritis and are great for enhancing detoxification. These juices have been used successfully by natural medicine to aid in healing from allergies, arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue, constipation, skin injuries or infections from fungus or bacteria, and yeast infections. Juice from grass is loaded with chlorophyll, which improves intestinal mobility—the ability of the muscular intestinal wall to move waste out of the body through bowel movements. Most green juice converts who tend toward constipation notice quick relief from this problem. Studies show that green grass juices and other green foods can decrease the absorption of toxic chemicals, such as dioxins, through the walls of the intestine into the body.
BN: What if I already eat lots of veggies—should I still take green supplements?
DS: Definitely—you simply can’t get beneficial phytochemicals associated with algae, seaweeds, and grasses from diet alone.
BN: What about matcha (green tea powder)—is this a green superfood too?
DS: Absolutely! Both green tea and matcha are wonderful additions to any diet that is already green to start with. In general, green tea (and matcha) will be pretty powerful protection against every disease that plagues human beings in First World nations, especially cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
BN: Can you share a few tips for buying and using these powders?
DS: If you’ve never used a green foods powder, start with a green foods blend, and take it on an empty stomach when possible (this includes with a morning smoothie). Also, consider purchasing products made using low-heat processing, which retain more nutrients than other types of powders.
Cooking with Green Foods
Here are two delicious and creative ways to sneak green foods powders into your diet:
More Green Food Recipes:
- Chilled Green Gazpacho Soup
- Matcha and Greens Ice Cream
- Super Green Smoothie
- Pomegranate & Strawberry Smoothie
- Kale and Coconut Milk Smoothe – Sassy Green Kick Start
- Green Dew Mint Smoothie
- Superfood Virgin Margarita
- Hawaiian Spirulina Trail Mix Bars
- Superfood Virgin Margarita
- Matcha Tea Coconut Latte recipe