One of the amazing nutrients you get from green juices is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants responsible for photosynthesis. That is, it’s what enables plants to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. But what can it do for you?
Here are some of the benefits of chlorophyll as part of a healthy diet:
Very similar to human blood—the only difference being a central atom of magnesium, whereas in humans it’s iron—Chlorophyll is sometimes referred to as “plant blood.” Studies have shown that this “plant blood” can act as a physiological stimulant of red blood cells in human bone marrow. The magnesium in chlorophyll actually helps rebuild and replenish red blood cells.
For people with anemia, when foods high in chlorophyll are consumed together with foods high in iron, or when you consume leafy greens, which contain both chlorophyll and iron (unlike, say, lentils or calf liver), the number of red blood cells—red blood cell deficiency being the definition of anemia—increases faster than when iron is consumed on its own. Green plants that are a good source of both chlorophyll and iron include spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, green beans, kale and broccoli.
One of the other benefits of chlorophyll is that it also helps the body to release more carbon dioxide. This results in a more aerobic environment in which healthful bacteria, important to digestive health, thrive and harmful bacteria, which cause disease, bad breath and body odor, cannot survive.
In addition to leafy greens (of which spinach is the most bountiful source) and broccoli, chlorophyll can be derived from asparagus, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, celery, collard greens, green beans, green peas, kale, leeks, green olives, parsley, romaine lettuce, sea vegetables, Swiss chard, turnip greens, wheatgrass and barley grass.
Dramatic loss of chlorophyll happens after prolonged cooking. One study found that about two-thirds of the chlorophyll was lost after boiling broccoli for 20 minutes. For the biggest chlorophyll boost, keep cooking times under five minutes or eat the vegetables raw or as a component of fresh-made juice.
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