By llee_wu on 2014-09-16 18:37:33
In this series on Super Foods, we look at the benefits of green foods to nourish the mind, body and spirit.
The power of green plants in healing has been recognized for thousands of years, yet it is only in the last thirty years that we are embracing them as a potent healing and anti-ageing tool. Supergreen foods include wheat and barley grass, the micro-algae called spirulina, chlorella, and wild-blue algae as well as seaweeds. The one factor they all have in common is chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes plants green and the greener the plant the more chlorophyll it contains. Green is the colour of spring and renewal. In Chinese medicines it is associated with healing the liver by balancing excesses caused by a toxic lifestyle – high fat and sugar foods, alcohol and smoking. Green also corresponds to the heart chakra located at the center of the chest and it makes sense in western terms that a diet rich in fats can also affect the heart and arteries.
Green foods have a cooling, calming and peaceful quality that offers a yin balance to our stressful, hectic yang lifestyle. You can easily reap the benefits of more green foods simply by eating more vegetables in juices, soups and salads, or by lightly streaming them. Spring is an ideal time to cleanse the liver. Foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and artichoke plus all the green leafy salad vegetables, herbs and sprouts can kick-start detoxification and help your liver to function at a much higher level, managing the excesses of the party season.
You can accentuate the health benefits of green foods by incorporating wheat and barley grass into your diet. Most people will be familiar with wheat grass that is sprouting up around juice bars in Dubai, where shots are being thrown back as fast as they are being pressed. But what are they living up the hype?
Many of the benefits can be attributed to the extraordinary nutritional value of chlorophyll. However there are many other compounds in wheat grass that have a myriad of health benefits, including renewal of the body, anti-inflammation and purification.
The chlorophyll and haemoglobin molecule are very similar in structure and it is thought that this is why the chlorophyll in wheat grass can enrich the blood and help treat anemia. Of interest in the gulf region where thalassaemia is high amongst Emiratis, research is showing that wheat grass may become an important tool in reducing blood transfusion requirements. Wheat grass is rich in antioxidant enzymes that act as a liver booster, helping to cleanse the body of toxins. This is why it is often used in detoxification programmes with other fruit and vegetable juices. In the intestines it promotes healthy bacterial flora as well as activating enzymes that produce vitamins A, E and K.
Wheat grass contains 20% protein in a highly useable form, as well as the vitamin B 12 plus a spectrum of minerals. As a living food the enzymes it contains acid digestion, so it is no wonder that a single shot of wheat grass can boost energy.
Wheat grass has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful in the treatment of arthritis and skin rashes. Research shows powerful healing effects in burns, fractures and soft tissue injuries. It also calms the tummy and helps to manage indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis and other inflammations of the digestive tract. It has the ability to rebuild tissue, including those of the heart and arteries, and is thus helpful in the treatment of degenerative diseases.
Wheat grass not only helps eliminate toxins and alkalinize the system, it also counteracts radiation and other potentially carcinogenic substances in the body such as heavy metals. It has supper antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, boosting the immune system and helping to ward off cold and flu viruses.
One condition where wheat grass can make a significant difference is in the vital skin condition called molluscum contagiosum.
I recommended wheat grass therapy to a friend of mine whose son had this skin condition, which appears as small pimples that become itchy and then form scabs. This juice was applied directly to the skin a couple of times a day, improving the problem by about 80%, a far better option than having the lesions burnt off as recommended by dermatologists.
Wheat grass juice, though very concentrated, is safe for children, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, both topically and internally. It is normally taken as a one ounce shot (30ml) as the fresh juice or as a powder mixed with water. Once a day is recommended for general health maintenance, one hour or more before a meal on an empty stomach. For disease conditions, especially for digestive problems like colitis, take the juice 2-3 times a day at the beginning of a meal. Some people may experience a mild reaction to wheat grass, including diarrhea or nausea. This can often be as a result of the detoxifying and cleansing nature of the juice or because it may not be suitable for you. So next time you pass a juice bar in Dubai try a shot of wheat grass and see for yourself the miracle of super green food.