The word ‘green’ is always high on the ‘must have’ list from nutrition experts, with proven heroes such as broccoli, spinach and kale now ever present in our fridges. Another category of green foods which are now becoming an integral part of diet, are those which are grown in water, such as the micro-algae spirulina and chlorella as well as the ‘cereal grasses’, barley grass and wheat grass. These humble greens are classified as ‘super greens’ because they all have astonishingly high concentration of nutrients packed into the smallest space!
Unlike other ‘superfoods’, the micro-algae spirulina and chlorella, are no overnight successes. They emerged over 540 million years ago, and are directly related to the very first form of plant life on earth. Thanks to these humble algae, we have oxygen on our planet! It is not surprising then that these remarkable survivors are the authority for providing stamina and endurance.
SPIRULINA tho Spirulina is packed with over 100 nutrients. The UN and World Health Organisation, have esteemed Spirulina to be the richest, most complete nutrient “whole food” source in the world. Its nutritional profile is so impressive that scientific, nutrition, sports and medical institutes have carried out hundreds of published and reviewed studies focusing on how, its phytonutrients and extracts may boost the immune system and improve health.
Spirulina is nature’s equivalent to an energy drink boasting the highest source of digestible protein (60 per cent to 70 per cent). It has more beta carotene (Vitamin A), than any other food and is second only to mother’s milk in its concentration of GLA – an essential fatty acid that is critical to brain health, which behaves like an omega 3. In fact, it contains all eight essential amino acids, which are a fundamental part of diet when exercising. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which also makes them the building blocks of muscle tissue.
Their importance extends to the amount of energy we have, the speed of recovery, weight loss and brain function. Spirulina is also exceptionally rich in iron and a significant amount of the B vitamins including B12 (often low in vegetarians), vitamins E, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It’s naturally occurring nitric oxide provides immediate and enduring physical and mental energy. As unrefined wholefoods, the protein in microalgae is 85 per cent to 95 per cent digestible, and their nutrients absorbed up to 16 times more effectively than synthetic supplements. It is no wonder that
A FEW FACTS ON SPIRULINA
Contains more beta carotene than any other food, including 25 times more than carrots
Contains 12 times more iron than beef liver
Richest source of vitamin A
Contains 11 vitamins, 10 minerals and 18 amino acids
Is composed of more than 60 per cent protein. Compared with meat (27 per cent) or soybean (34 per cent)
Provides 12 times more bio-available protein than steak
Richest plant source of GLA (essential fatty acid)
Contains omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA
Rich source of vitamin E, three times more than wheat germ
Contains phycocyanin, a blue pigment rare, unique antioxidant to spirulina
CHLORELLA Chlorella gets its name from its intense concentration of chlorophyll – a potent, natural detoxifying agent. Chlorella has the highest concentration of chlorophyll in the plant world, ranging from three per cent to five per cent percent chlorophyll content while, typically, most green vegetables contain less than 0.5 per cent. Its fibre content supports healthy digestion and works with chlorophyll to remove toxins and heavy metals from the body and to balance alkalinity. Its high levels of RNA and DNA supply nucleic acid (which decreases with age), for cell rejuvenation, growth and repair – vital factors in anti-ageing.
Chlorella is a very popular supplement throughout Asia. In fact, the Japanese take more chlorella per capita than Australians take vitamin C. They add it to tea, yogurt, juice, soup, noodles and many other foods. With the silly season fast approaching, nutritionist Lisa Guy suggests that chlorella may also help reduce hangover symptoms by taking five grams of chlorella with plenty of water before heading out and then again before bed.
BARLEY GRASS AND WHEAT GRASS Barley grass and wheat grass are both rich in many of the B vitamins, as well as minerals, antioxidants, chlorophyll and fibre. They are known for their ability to help the body to regain its natural alkaline balance. They have also shown promise for supporting digestive function and promoting the circulatory system and the gut. It is said that a healthy gut can increase ones immunity by up to 60 per cent! Poor digestion, absorption and elimination of food can have vital impact on health.
The easiest way to get your greens is to mix the powder in nourishing smoothies. Mixed with water, juices, seasonal fruits and vegetables they will give you all the fuel to keep going. If you are time poor, they are all available in tablets or capsules.
Source: written by Keri Hogarth