Chlorophyll has received a lot of attention recently, with supplements and chlorophyll-infused water found on every health food shelf. Even celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian swear by its health benefits. With this kind of buzz, you may be tempted to try it. But before you try any chlorophyll supplement, find out if it's really worth the hype!
What is Chlorophyll?
As you may remember from your high school science class, chlorophyll is a compound that traps light from the sun, which is then used for energy through the process of photosynthesis.
However, what you may not be aware of its health benefits for humans. Recently, this green pigment has been extracted from leaves to create a nutrient-rich superfood that we can all benefit from.
Benefits of Chlorophyll
One of the biggest reasons people advocate for chlorophyll is because of its weight loss benefits.
A randomized control trial was conducted to see whether green-plant membranes could affect the body weight of 38 women in the long-term. Some of the participants were provided the green plant supplement while others were given a placebo.
After the 12 weeks, mean weight loss with green-plant extract was 30% greater than in the control groups.
Therefore, the consumption of the green-plant membranes once per day helped control appetite and promote weight loss.
When you consume too much junk food, your liver becomes overworked and inefficient.
This superfood boosts detoxification by speeding up waste elimination and reducing constipation. More specifically, it will detoxify your liver, which is responsible for the cleansing and digestion of fats, carbs and protein in the body.
For this reason, chlorophyll can help naturally cleanse and detoxify the liver, thereby increasing the likelihood of weight loss.
A recent pilot study found that chlorophyll has great cancer-fighting properties which help reduce carcinogen bioavailability—the rate at which carcinogens are absorbed into the skin and body.
However, much of the research on cancer prevention has been performed on animals. Only recently, a small study on humans found that chlorophyll may limit ingested aflatoxin, a compound known to cause cancer.
Research has shown that chlorophyll may increase the count and improve the quality of your red blood cells.
In one study published in 2005, wheatgrass (which contains up to 70% chlorophyll) was found to reduce the transfusion requirements in patients with thalassemia major, an inherited blood disorder. A large part of this result could be attributed to the role of chlorophyll.
In another study, a form of chlorophyll was used to treat patients with anemia. After the consumption of chlorophyll, patients experienced an improvement in their anemia symptoms.
Side Effects of Chlorophyll
There are not major side effects from consuming chlorophyll, although it may cause GI distress and green coloration of the urine for some.
It is always advisable to consult with your doctor first, particularly if you have a serious health condition.
Foods Rich in Chlorophyll
When we think of chlorophyll-rich foods, green leafy vegetables first come to mind. However, not all leafy greens contain high amounts of chlorophyll. This is why it is important to eat a wide variety of whole foods to ensure you are getting all the different benefits they provide.
Matcha Green Tea
Matcha tea is a Japanese green tea that was initially grown and processed in Japan. It is made by taking tea leaves and grinding them into a bright, vibrant green powder. However, unlike many other teas, matcha tea is grown differently.
A few weeks before harvest, the plants are covered to block most of the sunlight that reaches them. In order to survive, the plant begins to produce more chlorophyll, which leads to a higher concentration of this superfood that is found in Matcha Tea.
Not only is spinach one of the best leafy vegetables to eat with a rich amount of chlorophyll, but it is also high in many other nutrients and minerals.
Spinach provides a great source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and much more.
Parsley is also a concentrated source of chlorophyll. This herb contains about 19 milligrams of chlorophyll per half cup.
It also also rich in antioxidants and is found to support bone health, improve heart health and protect your eyes.
Chlorella is a type of algae that grows in freshwater. It is the alga with the highest chlorophyll content, containing 8.45 µg/ml of chlorophyll a and 4.33 µg/ml of chlorophyll b.
It can also improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Wheatgrass is a nutrient-rich type of young grass in the wheat family. It is usually sold in the form of powder or tablets. Wheatgrass is known for its potent ingredient, chlorophyll. This plant is made up of a whopping 70% chlorophyll!
It also eliminates toxins, helps with digestion and helps boost your metabolism.
Chlorophyll can also be supplemented. It is usually found in tablets, powder, and and liquid form. These supplements extract the chlorophyll from the leaves to create a nutrient rich superfood that we can all benefit from.
The most popular form is liquid chlorophyll concentrate that can be taken daily with a glass of water or juice. It has a nice green color and surprisingly, it does not take like sewer water!
It has a very mild grassy taste, but adding more water can help get rid of its “earthy” flavor.
While it does not hurt to try chlorophyll, if you follow a plant-based diet and consume sufficient amounts of greens such as wheatgrass, broccoli and spinach, then you are already getting enough chlorophyll. If you feel it makes you feel better or helps you drink more water, then go ahead!
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