Why Chlorophyll Is So Good For You and How To Consume More
What is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is sometimes referred to as the 'green blood' of plants and is derived from the Greek word chloros, meaning green and phyllon, meaning leaf. While this green pigment is found abundantly in leafy greens, it's also found in algaes and bacteria. In fact, the cyanobacteria spirulina is one of the richest sources of chlorophyll, evidenced in its trademark vibrant blue-green colour.
Chlorophyll plays a vital role in absorbing light and transforming it into food and energy during a well-known process called photosynthesis. When consumed by humans, chlorophyll provides a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
What Are the Benefits?
In addition to being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll water has been causing a stir in the wellness industry for claims ranging from anti-ageing effects to its ability to work as an internal deodorant. While some of the claims need more solid research behind them, chlorophyll is a natural and safe compound that is widely consumed. Let's delve deeper into the reported health benefits:
Chlorophyll is a source of vitamin A, C, E, flavonoids and beta-carotene that are abundant in antioxidants. Antioxidants are vital as they help reduce free radicals that cause cell damage and destruction.
Promotes Good Digestion
Chlorophyll may boost digestive health by increasing the number of good gut bacteria. What's more, it has potential antimicrobial properties that may keep bad bacteria under control. However, additional studies are required on the relationship between chlorophyll and gut bacteria before we can say for sure.
Supports Liver Health
The liver is the largest detoxifying organ in the body. Chlorophyll may bolster liver health by activating phase II detoxification enzymes and stimulating the regeneration of damaged liver cells. While the current research looks promising, more solid human studies are needed to validate the results.
Unlike external deodorant that masks odours, chlorophyll is said to work from the inside out by removing odour-causing toxins. It's commonly used as a way for colostomy patients to manage the odour that results from having that procedure done. Many people drink chlorophyll water to help relieve bad breath and sweat odour, although there hasn't been enough research to verify the claims.
Sources of Chlorophyll
We all know that consuming more green vegetables is a no-brainer when it comes to being in good health. Chlorophyll drops, a type of concentrated chlorophyll, have become popular on social media and are a quick way to add more chlorophyll into your diet. The downside of this is that you don't get the other benefits like fibre and protein like when you consume whole foods.
Let's draw attention to some of the richest sources of this wonder pigment.
Chlorella is an impressively nutritious single-celled algae that gets its vibrant green colour from its rich chlorophyll content. It grows in freshwater and is an essential part of the aquatic food chain. It's incredibly nutritious, packed with protein, omega fats and various vitamins and minerals. Chlorella provides a great source of plant-based vitamin B12.
Chlorella is typically taken as a supplement in powder or capsule form since it has a rigid cell wall that humans cannot digest.
Matcha Green Tea
Matcha green tea has a long, meaningful history in the East, stretching from the Chinese Dynasties to Buddhist Monks in Japan. Many green tea enthusiasts believe the quality of matcha tea depends on soil fertility, lighting conditions and the resulting levels of chlorophyll. Without rich levels of chlorophyll, the tea leaves are more yellow in colour, while a rich, intense green colour is often a good visual indicator of the tea's nutritional benefits.
Matcha green tea is rich in antioxidants with brain and liver boosting properties. It can easily be prepared as a tea with hot water or even baked into cookies, cakes and other desserts.
Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria, one of the oldest life forms on Earth, easily recognisable from its vibrant blue-green colour from its rich chlorophyll content. Spirulina is often termed a superfood for being a rich source of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, making it one of the best electrolyte drinks. It's a rich source of sustainable protein and unlike other plant-based sources, it can be easily broken down and digested.
Spirulina is a popular ingredient in smoothies and juices. The spirulina taste is often described as earthy and even fishy, so some people prefer to use pre-mixed spirulina drinks like those made by ful company for a great taste and all of the incredible nutritional benefits.
Wheatgrass is a potent health food that has long been long-adored by health enthusiasts. It provides a wonderful source of various vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C and E, iron, magnesium, calcium and amino acids.
Wheatgrass shots are regularly found at juice bars, but you can also buy wheatgrass in powdered form so you can add it to your smoothies at home.
The dried leaves from the large Moringa oleifera tree, native to North India, deliver a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. While the moringa tree has many names, a favourite is the 'miracle tree', alluding to its hardiness and ability to provide essential nutrients to those in developing countries. In particular, it provides a potent source of vitamin A and is used to help children in developing countries suffering from life-threatening vitamin A deficiency.
Moringa has also been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. It's considered an adaptogen that helps bring us back into balance and adapt to stress.
Moringa is commonly sold in powdered form and can be sprinkled into smoothies, juices or taken in a capsule or pill.
While the jury may still be out on some of the purported benefits of chlorophyll, more green vegetables in your diet is never a bad idea. Many of the chlorophyll-rich food examples above can add a nutritious punch to your diet, adding more vitamins, minerals and essential antioxidants into nutritionally-lacking diets.
However, we know it's not always easy to add more veggies and bitter-tasting supplements into your diet. Fortunately, many companies are creating more delicious ways to eat greens. Nowadays, it's easier than ever to add some of these nutritious compounds into your diet by drinking pre-prepared sparkling soda alternatives and other tasty treats.