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Green Up Your Immune System

By Edison de Mello, MD, PhD

Scientific evidence confirms that which we already know: The more greens we eat, the less likely we are to develop chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease and more quickly fight off acute conditions, such as colds and flu. Yet, most Americans do not eat nearly enough nutrient-packed dark-green vegetables – and thus cannot take advantage of their rich health benefits, including fighting off inflammation, enhancing detoxification, and maintaining an optimal acid-base balance in the body.

Although our nutritional needs should be met primarily through diet, for some people however due to a busy life style, power greens may be a useful way to get the nutrients that their diets might otherwise be lacking. When combined with Vitamin D and immune support, the properties that powder greens have to help fight off infections, specially during the winter months are impressive.

 

GREENS & PH BALANCE:

Acid-base or pH balance is one of the body’s most effective of maintaining homeostasis (balance). What we eat influences the body’s pH, which is why concentrated greens 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 immune function, excessive cortisol and impaired thyroid function, among others. Eating more alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables helps balance pH and optimize our microbiome, which contains a myriad of helpful bacteria that is essential for proper metabolism and digestion.

A recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 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)

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY POWER

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 essential for optimal health and healthy aging. Green powders contain thousands of plant compounds that 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 therefore offer a powerful nutrient density complement. Both 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 – 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.

NATURE RESCUES US

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.

THE MAGIC TRICK

So, Green up, drink plenty of water (approximately half of your body weight in ounces), eat healthy and wholesome foods, get one hour of exercise at least 3 times a week, decrease stress, laugh at least 3 x a day, be grateful to how your body allows you to do what you need, be happy – and experience your immune system be be the best it has ever been.

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