Green Powders: Why use them?
by Dr. Edison de Mello
We all know that that the more greens we eat, the less likely we are to develop chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. However, sadly most Americans do not eat nearly enough nutrient-packed dark-green vegetables – and thus cannot take advantage of their rich health benefits, such as decreasing inflammation, enhancing detoxification, and maintaining an optimal acid-base balance in the body.
Our nutritional needs should be met primarily through diet. Greens, or any other supplements, are not intended to be a food substitute. For some people however greens may be a useful way to get nutrients that their diets might otherwise be lacking.
GREENS AND PH BALANCE:
Acid-base or pH balance is the body’s way of maintaining homeostasis (consistency). What we eat influences the body’s pH, which is why green supplements can be beneficial. Grains, dairy, and protein are acidic, while green leafy vegetables are alkaline, or basic. The alkaline properties of greens improve the body’s acid-base balance.
An unbalanced pH may lead to decreased bone health, excessive cortisol, and slightly impaired thyroid function. Eating more alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables helps balance pH and optimize our microbiome. Our microbiome also known as microbiota, contains a myriad of helpful bacteria that is essential for proper metabolism and digestion.
A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2008 suggested that daily greens supplement might improve urinary pH. The study showed that two weeks of daily supplementation helped improve the study participants’ increased urinary pH to one considered more optimal. (Berardi et al, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, November 2008)
If eating several daily servings of greens is not an option, consuming green powders, such as Akasha Greens is a convenient and reliable choice to help you get the necessary daily intake of green vegetables.
It has now been both clinically and scientifically recognized that chronic inflammation is the common denominator of most disease. It leads to apoptosis (cell death) and organ degeneration. Quenching inflammation is therefore essential for optimal health and healthy aging. Green powders contain thousands of plant compounds, which have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Because more than a pound of greens may be used to make a mere ounce of powder, cereal grasses and algae can offer a powerful nutrient density. Cereal grasses and algae, for example, are abundant in chlorophyll; a chemical that provides plants with their rich nutritional benefits and gives them their multiple color variance.
Similar to leafy and cruciferous greens, cereal grasses and algae possess an impressive oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score, which is a test-tube analysis that measures a food or chemical’s ability to rid the body of free radicals.
Oxidants or Free Radicals are the product of “cellular waste” that can wreak havoc on cells. It increases the risk of inflammation and oxidation and thus contributes to a number of chronic conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer, among others.
Chlorophyll is known to help the body eliminate cell-damaging toxins, such as dioxin and free radicals through the liver. Because chlorophyll is similar in structure to hemoglobin, it has an important function in optimizing healthy blood flow.
In addition, chlorophyll is a key compound in methylation, an essential detoxification pathway that our bodies depend on for proper function. Daily greens can prevent cell disruption by providing an arsenal of phytonutrient antioxidants to help neutralize these free radicals. In addition, the antioxidant properties of greens can help repair the oxidative muscle damage associated with exercise and thus improve exercise time recovery.
QUALITY: NOT ALL POWDERS ARE CREATED EQUAL.
Choose one that is at least 50 percent organic and was processed with protection from UV light, heat, and moisture, such as the Akasha Greens. This will ensure that the chlorophyll and nutrient content are well preserved. In addition, powders should be raw and dehydrated, and always stored in cool, dry places to prevent mold or nutrient loss from light and heat exposure.