In this series on Super Foods, we look at the benefits of green foods for nourishing the mind, body, and spirit.
The healing power of green plants has been recognized for thousands of years, yet only in the last 30 years have we embraced it as an effective anti-aging and healing tool. Super green foods include wheat and barley, a microalgae called spirulina, chlorella, and wild blue algae, as well as seaweed. The only factor they all have in common is chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes plants green and the greener the plant, the more chlorophyll it contains. Green is the color of spring and renewal. In Chinese medicine, it is related to treating the liver by balancing the increases caused by a toxic lifestyle: foods high in fat, sugar, alcohol, and smoking. Green also corresponds to the heart chakra located in the center of the chest and it makes sense in Western terms that a high-fat diet can also affect the heart and arteries.
Green foods have the cooling, calm, and serene qualities that provide the yin balance of a hectic and exhausting yang lifestyle. You can easily get the benefits of more green foods simply by eating more veggies in smoothies, soups, and salads, or by gently flowing them. Spring is the perfect time to cleanse the liver. Foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and artichokes, as well as all green leafy salads, herbs, and sprouts can begin to detoxify and help the liver function at a much higher level and control excesses of the holiday season.
You can highlight the health benefits of green foods by incorporating barley grass and wheat into your diet. Most people will be familiar with the wheatgrass that is spread around juice bars in Dubai, as the shots are played at the speed with which they are pressed. But what are they living above the hype?
Many of the benefits can be attributed to chlorophyll’s extraordinary nutritional value. However, there are many other compounds in wheatgrass that have myriad health benefits, including body rejuvenation, anti-inflammatories, and purification.
Chlorophyll and the hemoglobin molecule have a very similar structure and this is believed to be the reason why the chlorophyll in wheatgrass can enrich the blood and help in anemia. Building on interest in the Gulf region, where thalassemia is high among Emiratis, research shows that wheatgrass can become an important tool in reducing blood transfusion requirements. Wheatgrass is rich in antioxidant enzymes that act as liver stimulants and help cleanse the body of toxins. This is why it is used so often in detox programs with other fruit and vegetable juices. In the intestine, it works to promote healthy bacterial flora and activates the enzymes that produce vitamins A, E, and K.
Wheatgrass contains 20% protein in a very useful form, in addition to vitamin B12 and a large number of minerals. As a live food, it contains enzymes that digest acids, so it is not surprising that a single dose of wheatgrass can increase energy.
Wheatgrass has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat arthritis and skin rashes. Research shows powerful healing effects on burns, fractures, and soft tissue injuries. It also calms the stomach and helps control indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, and other infections of the digestive system. It has the ability to rebuild tissues, including those of the heart and arteries, making it useful in the treatment of degenerative diseases.
Wheatgrass not only helps eliminate toxins and alkalizes the system, but it also fights radiation and other potentially carcinogenic substances in the body such as heavy metals. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties for dinner, which boosts the immune system and helps protect against cold and flu viruses.
One condition in which wheatgrass can make a big difference is a vital skin condition called molluscum contagiosum.
I recommended to a friend of mine to treat wheatgrass whose son had this skin condition, which appears as small itchy blisters and then scabs. This juice was applied directly to the skin several times a day, improving the problem by approximately 80%, and it is a much better option than burning the lesions as recommended by dermatologists.
Although wheatgrass juice is highly concentrated, it is safe for babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding, both topically and internally. It is usually taken as a one-ounce (30 ml) dose as fresh juice or as a powder mixed with water. It is recommended once a day for the maintenance of general health, an hour or more before eating on an empty stomach. For disease states, and especially for digestive problems like colitis, drink the juice 2-3 times a day at the beginning of a meal. Some people may experience a mild reaction to wheatgrass, including diarrhea or nausea. This can often be the result of the juice’s detoxifying and cleansing nature or because it may not be right for you. So the next time you stop by a juice bar in Dubai, try a shot of wheatgrass and witness the miracle of super green food.