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Green Foods
Written By : Mark Rosenberg, MD 
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"What's all the hype about eating green foods?" This is a question many of my patients are asking me more often these days. It seems everywhere you look there is some mention of going green in one way or another. People are not only becoming more conscious about preserving the environment, they also want to protect their bodies from everyday pollutants. Choosing foods described as "detoxifiers" are considered good for the liver and helpful in ridding the body of food preservatives.

Detox diets usually recommend cutting out many foods with additives, along with meat and dairy products to combat what is known as "toxic overload." Symptoms thought to be associated with this condition are headaches, muscle weakness, nervousness, diarrhea, and fatigue. Detox diets can sometimes cause light headedness because you are not getting the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.

As a doctor specializing in anti aging, I lean toward daily prevention in lieu of a drastic short term diet. There are so many natural food choices and supplements that offer protection from cancer and other diseases that it makes sense to add them to your diet on a regular basis.

Here is a short list of good-for-you greens that you can easily find in your own kitchen.

Broccoli, kale, baby greens, and spinach are versatile fiber foods. Spinach has about 3.5 grams of fiber per ½ cup and broccoli about 4 grams per ½ cups.

Green tea is a healthy habit that has been known to lower cancer rates. It is loaded with anti-oxidants that help make carcinogens less toxic.

Lime is plentiful in vitamin C and is a potent antioxidant and has been proven to inhibit growth of some tumors.

Other Greens You May Not Know About

This may be an old familiar refrain; eat your spinach, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and drink plenty of green tea to stay healthy and live longer. Of course this is good practice, but do you know there are other green foods you might be missing that are packed with incredible nutritional value? These power foods are wheat grass, barely grass, alfalfa, chlorella, spirulina, and chlorophyll. You may not find them in your pantry but research has shown that they can make powerful contributions to your health, energy, and level of well-being.

Let me provide a little history to give you some background. It all started a long time ago as far back as 1928 when a Kansas City chemist, Dr. Charles Schnabel tried to find a supplement that would increase egg production of hens. After many experiments and getting very few benefits, he realized the chlorophyll in plants was very similar to the blood of human beings. With that in mind, he supplemented the hens' feed with a greens mixture containing a large amount of immature wheat and oats.

As you might have guessed, egg production more than doubled and even resulted in healthier chicks. This prompted more studies of cereal grasses and their benefits. The following list includes a few of the most important findings about greens and how they affect your health.

Alfalfa increases energy, prevents and lessens high blood pressure, protects against hemorrhaging, and contributes to normal clotting. Herbalists have found alfalfa to be a tonic to the kidneys and liver, good for the prostate and reproductive system, and glands.

Spirulina is blue - green alga that is beneficial to the human diet because it helps neutralize free radical damage that may weaken and age human cells. It has been found to be incredibly active as a fighting agent against the AIDS virus, cancer, and appears to protect the vision of elderly people from deterioration.

Chlorella seems to be the leader in green foods when it comes to research. Over 1,000 scientific papers have been written about its value. The Japanese, who lead chlorella research, discovered that it detoxifies the body of harmful chemicals.

Chlorophyll, mentioned earlier in relation to the production of eggs, is also a detoxifier of environmental pollutants. It helps with deep infections, skin disorders, and advanced stages of periodontal disease. Chlorophyll has proven to be an aid for head colds, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, inner ear infections, and inflammations.

Scientific research supports the added benefits of green foods, not just the kind you can put in a salad. You don't have to go on a rigid "detox" diet to protect your body from free radicals and food preservatives. The good news is you can get these fabulous good-for-you greens in supplement form to give you all the benefits without taking time out of your busy schedule to shop or prepare nutritious meals. If eating spinach and drinking green tea isn't for you, talk to your doctor about whether a natural green supplement would be of benefit to you. A daily dose of greens could make all the difference in your vitality and overall good health and well-being.

Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging

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