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Living Green

AIDP

Health-conscious consumers today are looking for more than wholesome, Nutritious food to maintain good health—they also want to avoid the ever-increasing levels of pesticides and other chemicals in our environment. According to www.greenfoods. com, “while periodic use of internal cleansing programs may help to eliminate pesticide residues, the best solution is to gently cleanse our bodies every day through our diet. Therefore, optimal nutrition requires foods that supply us with all the nutrients necessary for cellular metabolism that also help us cleanse our bodies daily.”

Over the past few years, the green foods market has been making positive strides, due to the tremendous health benefits associated with “green,” said Guinevere C. Lynn, director of business development at California-based Sun Chlorella USA. “Green food supplements have always had a loyal following, and I would highlight that this loyalty extends beyond the reaches of a ‘small, die-hard core group.’”

Green foods and nutrition are synonymous, Lynn continued, adding that green food supplements are a convenient way to obtain the many valuable nutrients commonly associated with green foods (i.e., chlorophyll, beta glucan, mixed carotenoids, omegas). “Green food supplements are especially beneficial for those who normally do not obtain a daily serving of leafy green vegetables,” she said.

Greener Options 

While the market continues to grow for all green foods, cereal grasses have stood out in particular said Ron Seibold, co-founder of kansas-based pines international. “The trend [we see] is toward cereal grass and other green foods as commodities, such as corn or beans,” said Seibold, who specified that cereal grass variations are much more significant than most commodities. “They vary because of differences in how and where they are grown, stage of growth at harvest, storage methods and sanitary standards. Further, like other green food products such as algae, some cereal grasses now come from China and third-world countries in Asia and South America, where health, safety and organic standards may not be up to North American and European standards.” 

Pines specializes in certified organic, whole food cereal grass grown through the winter and harvested in the early spring at the jointing stage, said Seibold. “This is the form of cereal grass we use in our own oxygen-free amber glass bottles. However, we do not deal in indoor greenhouse cereal grass, which contains too low of nutritional value and too high levels of bacteria and mold to meet our standards.” 

Meanwhile, Sun Chlorella, hailed as Nature’s Perfect Superfood, was one of the original chlorellas ever introduced, and has been on the market for over 40 years, said Lynn. Sun Chlorella’s claim to fame is the DYNO®-Mill, a patented pulverization process that provides approximately 99 percent pulverization of chlorella’s tough, indigestible cell wall, thus allowing for maximum absorption and digestion of chlorella’s valuable nutrients within the body, Lynn explained. The key nutritional elements found in chlorella include chlorophyll, protein, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), amino acids, essential fatty acids, lutein, beta carotene and many other vitamins and minerals.

Sun Chlorella has two specific health benefits that work simultaneously with one another, continued Lynn. “The first is nourishment and revitalization, and the second is the detoxification of impurities including heavy metals. It is also available in a granulated powder, Which is especially beneficial for those who have difficulty swallowing tablets or who juice daily,” she said, adding that Sun Chlorella is further offered in liquid chlorella extracts called Sun Wakasa Gold Plus and Sun Wakasa Honey Plus. “These elixirs contain a much more concentrated form of Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF) compared to the tablets or granules. CGF is found in the nucleus of chlorella, and contains nucleic acids, which are known to be the basic building blocks of life. CGF is not found in any other vitamin Mineral, herb or food—it is only found in chlorella.” 

Additionally, Utah-based BioLife offers Living Greens, named after the host of living enzymes present as well as live plant-based probiotics, said the company’s production manager, Patrick Formby. “Living Greens is a product of fine grind organic cereal grasses and grass juice powders, sprouts, vegetables, algae and a special warming spice blend to balance the cooling effect of the greens,” he said.

According to Lynn, one of the biggest developments in green foods has been green food-themed functional Foods, which include nutritional bars and specialty drinks and juices, which may be found in both mainstream supermarkets and convenience stores. “Many of these products contain green foods, such as chlorella, as an ingredient. Functional foods are making green foods more accessible and acceptable, and thus opening the category up to a newer and often untapped customer demographic.”

Unique Advantages 

Hundreds of private and government studies suggest that increased consumption of vegetables may reduce incidence of cancer and heart disease, and lead to fewer health problems across the board, according to Pines’ website (www.wheatgrass.com). Further, nine of every 10 people fail to eat at least three to five servings of vegetables every day.

“Regardless of where it is grown or how it is grown, if a product has a deep green color and tests out to be low in bacteria, mold and other contaminants, it is good,” said Seibold, adding that the standard American diet (SAD) is the only diet of any primate that does not contain large quantities of dark green, leafy vegetables. “Our bodies were designed to function best when dark green, leafy foods are a major part of the diet. The chlorophyll and high nutritional levels, along with the pure vegetable fiber in whole food cereal grass, are exactly what is missing from many diets. Chlorophyll-rich roughage is what the colon needs to provide the best media for growing probiotics. It also detoxifies and alkalizes the body.” 

While the old USDA Food Pyramid considered fruits and vegetables to be the basis for a healthy diet, its new USDA MyPlate recommends eating more vegetables than any other food. The pigment in vegetables and fruits is directly related to their ability to provide antioxidants, said Seibold. “When you add water to a dehydrated green food powder, it should turn dark green. The darker the rehydrated green color, the more antioxidants are present. Some ‘green’ foods are more yellow, grey or brown than green. That is an obvious tip-off of poor storage and growing conditions.” 

Over the years, there have been hundreds of peer-reviewed green foods studies. Research demonstrating chlorella’s ability to remove heavy metals and toxins from the body are important and significant, noted Lynn. In one such study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods in 2007, chlorella was measured in nursing mothers and was found to reduce the amount of dioxin (a class of chemical contaminants that are formed during combustion processes such as waste incineration, forest fires and trash burning) found in breast milk. One additional benefit that was uncovered during this study was the increase of the level of immunity in the blood, as measured by IgA levels, said Lynn.

Challenges 

Despite the many benefits green foods possess, there certainly are formulation challenges, specifically in regard to quality.

“The biggest challenge for quality cereal grass producers is to harvest it at the once-a-year ‘window’ when it reaches its nutritional peak,” said Sebiold. “This window lasts for only a few days in the early spring. Sudden warm temperatures can cause the cereal grass to quickly go past the jointing stage, and rain can prevent getting into fields at this critical time.” 

Growing cereal grass in sandy soil in semi-arid regions with irrigation eliminates some of the weather-related problems, but poor soils result in a lower nutritional value, continued Seibold. “Further, even if the producer is organic like Pines, most ground-water in these areas is now contaminated with atrazine and other farm chemicals that were used on nearby fields that are not organic.”

The obstacle with formulating supplements is to ensure that the highest level of potency is achieved, without compromising the quality of the product, agreed Lynn, who said that at Sun Chlorella, “we monitor all phases of its manufacturing process, by constantly testing for purity and digestibility, and by producing regular certificates of analysis.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

BioLife, (801) 566-3445 

Pines International, (800) MY-PINES 

Sun Chlorella USA, (310) 891-0600