The Power of Green Superfoods

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What Are They?

There are a plethora of powdered green superfood drink mixes available. Most of these drink mixes contain dozens of nutraceuticals, including green superfoods. For the purposes of this discussion, green superfoods will be defined as algae (chlorella, spirulina, etc.), grasses (alfalfa, barley grass, wheat grass, etc.), common green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, etc.), and sprouted versions of grass and green vegetables. Powdered green superfood drink mixes may also contain other nutraceuticals, such as fruit powders, herbs, micronutrients, enzymes, and pre- and probiotics. While clearly not green superfoods, these other nutraceuticals may or may not provide benefits depending upon the forms and amounts of each present in the product.

What Are They Supposed to Do?

Generally, people use a powdered green superfood drink mix with the expectation that it is going to provide them with one or more of the following benefits:

• Compensate for a lack of vegetables/leafy green vegetables in their diet,

• Support and/or promote some aspect of the body’s detoxification process,

• Add an alkalizing component to their diet to help prevent disease,

• And/or promote some other aspect of human health.

Compensating for a Lack of Vegetables

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has indicated that Americans are getting about 40 percent less of the recommended servings of vegetables, and specifically 60 percent less of the recommended servings as green vegetables. But is it realistic to expect that supplementing with a green superfood drink mix will truly compensate for a lack of sufficient vegetable intake? The answer is not exactly, but there is still a benefit to be had. While it is not a substitute for eating vegetables, the green superfood drink mix may be able to provide some of the antioxidant power of vegetables and provide the other contributions to health. For example, it significantly:

• Reduced blood malondialdehyde (marker of oxidative stress)

• Increased total antioxidant status

• Increased vitamin C levels

Likewise, research published in other scientific journals demonstrated that 5 to 10 g/day of broccoli sprouts significantly:

• Reduced blood malondialdehyde

• Increased HDL cholesterol

• Reduced oxidized LDL cholesterol

• Reduced oxidative stress index

• Increased total antioxidant capacity

Supporting Detoxification

Approximately 3.97 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are disposed of or otherwise released into the environment annually. The good news is that the body was designed to process and excrete many toxins. The bad news is our bodies may not always be equipped to handle the volume of modern environmental pollutants and toxic substances. However, there are quite a number of nutraceuticals that can help support and promote the detoxification process.

Alkalizing the Diet

The concept that eating a diet that produces a more acidic pH systemically (i.e. emphasis on meat and dairy) is conducive to promoting a disease state, while eating a diet that produces a more alkaline or base pH (i.e. emphasis on vegetables and fruit) is more likely to help prevent disease is fairly well-known. 

In addition to those previously listed, specific green superfoods have been shown to have other health benefits in human research.

Source: Steven M. Rachlin, M.D., of Rachlin Medical Center (927 Willis Ave., Albertson), has been practicing for more than 30 years. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-873-7773 or visit RachlinMedical.com.

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