If you're looking to power up your healthy diet game, plant-based superfoods are undoubtedly a great place to start. Filled with the vitamins, minerals and protective antioxidants your body craves, these powerful foods offer an abundance of healthy potential in every bite. And while all superfoods live up to their laudable name, some are true everyday essentials. It's this kind of championing that belongs behind the class of superfoods known simply as “green foods.”
Dietary systems can be borderline as divisive and polarizing as any political or religious discussion. But aside from water, there's one thing almost every dietary dogma under the sun can agree with: the power of green. So, what is it that makes this class of food so celebrated?
Plants Are Energy Machines
The biggest key behind the healthy prowess of greens is the very component that makes them green: chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is an antioxidant found in plants that transforms the sunshine energy they absorb into fuel through photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is often called “the blood of plants,” and interestingly enough, is remarkably similar to the hemoglobin in human blood! The only difference between them is that chlorophyll carries magnesium in its center, while hemoglobin carries iron. This is one of the reasons why consuming chlorophyll-rich foods like wheatgrass can help you build your own blood, giving you the nutrients needed to create your own oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Clearly, there's a reason why you feel so energized eating “green!”
Increased Oxygen Equals Increased Healing
The body relies on oxygen-rich blood to speed up all kinds of healing—from tissue injury and inflammation—to neurological regeneration and balance. The more oxygen-rich chlorophyll you consume, the speedier your recovery.
Green Also Means Clean
Green foods have a strong link to detoxification, thanks in part to chlorophyll’s robust antibacterial qualities. But even further, chlorophyll can help purify your liver as well, aiding in the removal of heavy metals, drug deposits and chemical accumulation. Additionally, chlorophyll helps aid digestion by keeping blood sugar levels stable, and it can even reduce chronic bad breath and body odor.
Plus, There Are All Those Micronutrients
Getting enough vitamins and minerals from naturally occurring sources is a challenge for many, but green foods offer up the micronutrient goods in heaps. Immune-boosting vitamins like beta carotene and vitamin C are plentiful in foods like kale and spinach, which are also brimming with essential minerals like magnesium and calcium. Even hard-to-source nutrients, such as vitamin K (essential for strong bones, blood clotting and adrenal activity) are abundant in broccoli and asparagus.
Green foods come in all varieties, and should be consumed whenever and wherever possible. Sure, you can have a big salad, but don't forget to boost your smoothie with some protein-rich greens, make yourself a dreamy matcha latte or even mix some wheatgrass powder into your homemade hummus. There are endless ways to go green!
Author Bio: Julie Morris is a Los Angeles-based superfood chef and New York Times best-selling author. Julie is also the founder of Luminberry, the world’s first online superfood cooking school, where she leads courses on how to use cutting-edge ingredients in recipes. Julie works as a recipe developer and consultant for various health companies, restaurants and media outlets, and has published five cookbooks that have sold around the globe.