When it comes to staying healthy, I advise my patients to shop in the produce section of their local supermarket. There they will find all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. It is believed that veggies hold the key to keeping your immune system strong along with immune-boosting antioxidants necessary to ward off infections like colds and flu.Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is always a safe bet when it comes to improving your health. However, some foods are higher in antioxidants than others, especially those in the supergreens category. In the first article on the health advantages of supergreens, I explored the protective ingredients contained in green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables as well as the effect they have on your body.Research has been going on for years to substantiate the effect green foods have on the human body. Supportive evidence of their benefit stems from a combination of anecdotal reports, small clinical trials, and laboratory studies. I’d like to share some of the outstanding findings that substantiate the theory of why greens are indeed super and why they are so often recommended for their anti-aging properties.The Proof is in the ResearchThere are several green foods in particular that studies have shown to be miraculous for their healing qualities, chlorophyll, spirulina, and wheatgrass. Cholorella is unicellular green algae that is a popular food in Japan and has been for decades. It is found in many green veggies and is rich in protein, chlorophyll, and cartenoids. Chloroella not only nourishes the body and helps protect it from damaging chemicals but it has been found to protect against gamma-radiation as well as the adverse effects of toxic chemicals.In a recent clinical trial, some patients with moderately severe symptoms of fibromyalgia improved significantly on a daily dose of chlorella supplements. Other studies suggest that chlorella reduces dioxin levels in breast milk, improves digestion, and helps treat hypertension. Korean researchers found that lutein and zeaxanthin (contained in chlorella) have a strong antitumor effect, especially in colon cancer.Chlorophyll is another hot topic researched by medical experts who have reported hundreds of cases in which it has cured deep infections, stimulated healing, removed debris from open wounds, and accelerated connective tissue repair.One very unique feature of chlorophyll is its similarity to hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen in our own blood. Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, president of the Hagiwara Institute in Japan, is a leading advocate for the use of grass as food and medicine. He believes that when chlorophyll is absorbed in humans it is transformed into human blood, which transports nutrients to every cell of the body.Dr. Ann Wigmore, ND, a teacher of natural living has made wheatgrass a household word. Dr. Wigmore credits wheatgrass and the healing qualities of chlorophyll with curing her colon cancer. Due to Wigmore’s endless writing and teaching, many consider wheatgrass a cure for cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. It has also been shown to be a treatment for detoxifying the liver, purifying the blood, neutralizing pollutants, improving energy and circulation, and slowing aging.Studies of wheatgrass by Dr. Chiu Nan Lai of the University of Texas System Cancer Center showed it to be a potent inhibitor of several carcinogens. Applying low levels of the extract to mutagens diminished activity in them by up to 99%.Spirulina is blue-green algae that studies show has antiviral, immune supporting, and liver protecting qualities. Some other amazing properties of spirulina include helping to lower cholesterol, prevent inflammation, lower blood sugar, fight bacterial and viral infections, and contain antidepressant qualities.Another important aspect of spirulina is its ability to remove toxins such as mercury, and radioactive substances from the body. Chlorella contains proteins and peptides that actually binds toxic metals and carries them out of the body making it even more beneficial for detoxification. The healing qualities of both of these greens cannot be underestimated! They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats, which work together to provide energy and vitality as well.Dr. Lawrence Gibson, MD, Mayo Clinic dermatologist touts the effects of green, leafy vegetables for a younger looking skin. He advocates the use of green food supplements to promote clear skin and gain more energy due to their antioxidant properties. When applied to the skin directly it can help eliminate itching and is soothing for cuts, burns, scrapes, rashes, poison ivy, athlete’s foot, insect bites, and many other skin conditions.Antioxidants Boost ImmunityFoods contain different nutrients that work together to strengthen your immune system and promote health. Researchers have discovered three important antioxidants found in vegetables that are known for their health benefits.• Quercetin – a plant based chemical (photochemical) found in teas that fights inflammation and may help reduce allergies.• Luteolin – a flavonoid found in abundance in celery and green peppers that also fights inflammation. One study showed evidence that it may even help protect against inflammatory conditions like Alzheimer’s.• Catechins – a type of flavonoid found in tea that may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.As you can see there is no shortage of research on the subject of supergreens. If you can’t get enough of these wonder greens from eating fresh produce, try looking into taking dietary supplements. Make sure you read the label for the right ingredients and check with your doctor for the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of antioxidant vitamins and minerals for men and women.Next time you’re in the grocery store don’t pass up those miraculous supergreens. They could be the answer to your good health and vitality for many years to come!Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging