Health food fads come and go. I remember when aloe juice, oat bran, and fat-free everything had their days. One such supplement that I remember people chugging was chlorophyll. Maybe it was because I worked in a health food store, so I met alot of supplement fanatics. Nowadays, you hardly hear mention of chlorophyll.
Instead, we are all in love with greens these days, from our newfound love of kale in all forms, to green smoothies and drinks. Everybody knows that greens are good for you, loaded with iron, calcium, even a respectable amount of protein for a salad green. But do you ever think about what makes greens green?
Chlorophyll, the pigment that makes leafy greens green, is the catalyst for photosynthesis. The leaves of plants spend their days soaking up sun, and using the energy to split water molecules apart into hydrogen and oxygen to make carbohydrates to feed the plant. That’s photosynthesis. Because of the intensity of all this sun-baked chemistry, the oxidative stress on the plant is huge. To survive and flourish, all plants have had to stock their leaves with antioxidants. That, in a nutshell, is why leafy greens have so many incredible antioxidants. But Chlorophyll is the green queen.
Chorophyll has been studied for years, and found to be a potent protector against cell damage, cancer, and other oxidative ills. One study found that it kept subjects from absorbing carcinogens that were consumed at the same time. Chlorophyll is considered a natural deodorizer, breath freshener, and blood builder.
Of course, you can buy bottles of chlorophyll, but some experts think they may be too processed to give you what fresh plant sources do. Plants, as you know, deliver everything in a symphony, not a single molecule at a time. That’s why we eat whole foods and don’t count on extracts or pills for vital nutrition.
Some people like to get chlorophyll and green goodness from spirulina and chlorella and other dried micro-organisms. That’s probably ok, but why buy a powder that doesn’t really taste great?
The best way to get lots of chlorophyll is to eat tons of greens. Wheat grass, parsley or spinach juices can give you a concentrated dose.Today I pulled out all my parsley stems, kale stems, salad that was not going to be eaten in time, and juiced them, and threw in some cucumber and a pear to sweeten it up. It was really good, not bitter or overly strong, and I felt good drinking it.
But what if you don’t juice?
Pile on the salads, the darker green the better, and when you make pasta, go for lots of parsley in your pesto. Make a habit of keeping bunches of parsley on hand and adding a handful to just about everything. You’ll be surprised, most savory dishes are improved by a finishing flourish of parsley.
Mediterranean parsley salads are really simple to make- just chop parsley, garlic, and if you want some cuke or tomato, and dress with olive oil and lemon or red wine vinegar. The peppery parsley is a nice change from lettuce.
And reap the healing magic of chlorophyll along with all the other goodies in greens.
Easy Green Juice
2 bunches kale stems
1 bunch parsley stems
2 large cucumbers
1 large apple
1/2 large lemon, peel and pith removed
Juice it all and taste it- if you want more sweetness add another apple or a carrot. Should make about 2 cups.