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Getting plenty of greens in your diet is one of the best ways to boost your energy levels while providing your body with nourishing plant compounds that can do amazing things for your health. But there are green superfoods available that offer way more benefits than what’s on your salad plate at dinner. Here we have 5 energizing green superfoods from around the world that will energize your body while offering an array of amazing health benefits to help you live your best, most vibrant life.
You can find all the recommendations mentioned in this post at online health and wellness superstore iHerb.com. As always, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.
Moringa (moringa oleifera) is a drought-resistant tree and also known as the miracle tree, tree of life, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, or ben oil tree, and is native to northern India and parts of Africa. One of the most nutrient-dense plants alive, Moringa has been used in traditional medicine practices like Ayurveda for over 4,000 years and supplies over 90 protective compounds and nutrients. Moringa leaf powder is super rich in trace minerals, amino acids, and a variety of phytochemicals that have antioxidant, anti-microbial, and disease-fighting powers. These powerful compounds can boost energy, reduce inflammation, ease the symptoms of allergies, ward off cancer and reduce the effects of toxins and free-radicals while also boosting libido. (1)
Nicknamed “the miracle plant” Moringa has been used to treat over 300 diseases including fatigue, arthritis and joint pain, allergies, asthma, chronic headaches, kidney stones, inflammation, and symptoms of malnutrition. Moringa has also been associated with improved thyroid health, which can help boost energy levels, improve mood, and enhance sleep quality. Studies have shown that the compounds in Moringa can even improve circulation while balancing blood sugar, reduce the effects of aging, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes. (2, 3, 4)
For a green food, Moringa is high in protein and supplies a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan that supports the nervous symptom and encourages the production of the “happy hormone” serotonin, which can reduce anxiety and depression. (5)
Moringa is so healthy in fact, that it is reported to have:
- 25 times more iron than spinach
- 17 times more calcium than milk
- 15 times more potassium than bananas
- 10 times more vitamin A than carrots
- 9 times more protein than yogurt
- 7 times more vitamin C than oranges (6)
If you’d like to try Moringa, the Organic Moringa from California Gold Nutrition is part of their super affordable high quality superfoods line available only at iHerb. This dehydrated and ground Moringa leaf powder has a mild and peppery flavor similar to green tea that blends easily with sweet and savory foods and beverages. To take Moringa leaf powder, it can easily be mixed into your morning juices or your daily smoothie. You can also sprinkle it over your morning oatmeal or even try baking with it. Capsules are available as well.
When you think of algae, that green slimy stuff that grows along the sides of ponds and pools may initially come to mind. But spirulina, believed by many to be “the world’s healthiest superfood” is a type of edible microalgae that typically grows in freshwater lakes, natural springs, and saltwater in warm climates is a type of algae that you want to keep around. In fact this blue-green freshwater plant classified as a cyanobacteria is one of the world’s most researched and nutritionally dense green superfoods on the planet. Dating back to the 16th century, spirulina was collected by the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans and made into “cakes” that were sold throughout the markets and taken on long journeys for sustenance. (7)
Composed of about 60% protein, spirulina is also high in a number of nutrients like iron, potassium, zinc, iodine, calcium, and energy-boosting B vitamins. It’s rich in chlorophyll and contains healthy fatty acids like DHA and GLA as well as antioxidants like Zeaxanthin and beta-carotene that protect cells from the effects of free radicals that cause disease and early aging. It’s also a great source of prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut. (8)
Some of the proven benefits of spirulina include its ability to enhance brain function, detox the body of heavy metals and environmental toxins, lower bad cholesterol while raising the good, and also boosting energy levels, performance, and athletic recovery. (9)
One of the most amazing benefits of spirulina is that it may help to modulate the immune system. Studies done with HIV patients found that after 6 months of taking spirulina, patients had high numbers of specific immune system cells, an overall lower level of viral load and delayed the onset of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and other infections related to the initial infection. (10)
Not only is spirulina super healthy, but it’s also a truly sustainable and earth-friendly food source. Spirulina is easy to grow and absorbs an incredible amount of CO2 from the air.
The flavor of spirulina is typical of greens. It has mild grassy notes, making it mellow enough to pair well with a wide range of berries, fruits & veggies like apples, bananas, celery, lemon, and mint. Spirulina can be added to everything from smoothies, drinks, and energy bars and is found in powder or supplement form. Spirulina lattes are totally on-trend and are a healthy, energizing way to start your day instead of coffee. Spirulina is offered in powders, easy to take on the go tablets, and is often added to other superfood blends.
3. Wheat Grass
Another incredibly nourishing green superfood with potent health benefits, wheat grass is from the young tender leaves of the wheat plant. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, wheat grass has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties in the body and has been linked to improved digestion, ridding the body of heavy metals, reducing high blood pressure and reducing inflammation in the body which is linked to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases like arthritis.
Incredibly nutrient-dense, wheat grass is especially potent antioxidants and vitamins like B-complex, A, C, E, K and minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, and calcium. Considered a complete protein, wheat grass supplies 17 amino acids, eight of which are considered essential and must be obtained through diet. Amino acids play many roles in the body including protein synthesis, enzyme synthesis, the growth and maintenance of cells, hormone production, and muscle growth. (11)
One of the most immediate effects you may notice after drinking wheat grass is that you’ll feel more energized and alert. Wheat grass has even been linked with a boosted metabolism and aiding in weight loss. Research and few test-tube studies have shown that wheat grass may even kill cancer cells and minimize the side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy. (12, 13)
Wheatgrass is often “juiced” from the live leaves and drank as a shot. but it also comes in a powdered form that is easy to keep on hand and use on the go in smoothies and juices. It has a mild grassy sweet flavor that pairs well with apple, ginger, cucumber, lemon, and celery. Since keeping live wheat grass greens around can be expensive and inconvenient, a dehydrated wheat grass powder is an easy way to get the health benefits without all the hassle. The California Gold Nutrition Superfoods Organic Wheat Grass Powder, is organic and a great option sourced right in the USA.
Since wheat grass juice is consumed from the leaves, it is considered gluten-free and should be safe for those who are gluten sensitive. Be sure to check the label and consult with a health professional just in case.
Recommended Products: California Gold Nutrition Superfoods Organic Wheat Grass Powder
4. Barley Grass
A crop dating all the way back to 7,000 BCE, barley grass was used by many ancient civilizations including the Greeks, Egyptians, and Babylonians for its powerful health benefits. Barley grass has been shown to support the immune system, detoxify the body of harmful toxins, improve digestion, rejuvenate skin, improve energy levels, and boost overall health.
Barley grass is high in nutrients and vitamins such as, C, E, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, iron, magnesium phosphorus, potassium, manganese, zinc, as well as important enzymes and antioxidants like carotene. A great source of natural enzymes, barley grass juice can help the body break down fats more efficiently which can help the body stay a healthy weight. Barley grass is also rich in “arginine,” an amino acid known to assist the body in healing from injuries, wounds, and burns. (14)
Like the other greens on this list, the high mineral and green chlorophyll content of barley grass has an alkalizing effect in the body. This means it can help balance the pH of an acidic body to a healthier level and make it a less favorable environment for bacteria and disease. It also promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails and gives the body a natural source of energy to keep you going through the day. Loaded with bioactive compounds and antioxidants, taking barley grass regularly may protect against carcinogens, and reducing inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases.
Like the other greens on this list, barley grass is another great detoxifier of the body encouraging heavy metals and environmental toxins to move out of the cells as it promotes healthy circulation by oxygenating the vascular system. (15)
If you don’t enjoy the taste of wheat grass, or simply can’t tolerate it, barley grass juice can be a great alternative. But fresh can be a challenge to find unless you grow your own. Containing over 100 beneficial phytonutrients, we like the organic Green Foods Green Magma Barley Grass formula by Dr. Hagiwara who discovered this amazing nutritional green over 40 years ago. Sold in over 50 countries, it comes in easy to take tablets or a juice powder that can easily be blended into any beverage.
Often confused with spirulina, chlorella is another type of algae native to Japan and Taiwan. This single-cell, solid green algae sometimes called “the king of superfoods” has a similar nutritional profile and benefits to spirulina and is high in Vitamins A and C while also providing Vitamins K, B1, B6, B12, zinc, phosphorus and iron. Rich in healthy green chlorophyll, it’s also a complete protein source and composed of about 60%. (16)
But what makes chlorella so special is something called the Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). This extraordinary compound which is produced during photosynthesis allows chlorella to grow very quickly, quadrupling in numbers every 20 hours. Made of nucleotides and peptides, CGF provides our own cells with the raw materials needed to repair and rebuild the DNA and RNA in our tissues. This allows our own cells to rejuvenate using less energy, allowing our bodies to heal more efficiently, boosting our energy levels and immune systems with vibrant anti-aging effects. (17)
Chlorella has also been credited with aiding in weight loss and balancing blood sugar and hormones. (18)
Chlorella also has double the amount of chlorophyll that spirulina has, making it a super effective cleanser in the body. It supports the liver and works to push out toxins, pesticides, and heavy metals from the body. (19)
Like the other green superfoods on this list chlorella is easy to take and comes in tiny round tablets that are easy to swallow. I like to grab a small handful in the morning when I have my breakfast. Chlorella is also often added to green superfood blends.
The Best Way To Get All Your Greens
If you’re looking to get the benefits of a variety of the superfood greens on this list all at once, we recommend getting a green superfood formula. It’s not only convenient, but it’s a great way to fill nutritional gaps and help you get all the greens you need to stay healthy. These green, vegan-friendly blends include many of the greens listed in this post and also provide even more superfoods, herbs, and benefits like added fiber, adaptogens, enzymes, and probiotics.
The Amazing Grass Green Superfood (the original) gives you the equivalent of 2 full servings of fruits and veggies and includes a variety of organic grasses including wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina and chlorella in addition to alfalfa grass, spinach, beetroot, acai, pineapple, maca and much more.
My personal favorite is the ORAC Energy Greens from Paradise Herbs and includes organic wheatgrass, organic barley grass, organic oat grass, organic spirulina, organic chlorella, mushrooms, berries, adaptogens and so much more. Best of Supplements Award Winner from Better Nutrition, this one gives you the antioxidant power of 24 servings of fruits and vegetables in one scoop. They come in convenient capsules or a green powder that I like to mix into cold water with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of stevia. Lemonade works just as well.
If you’re not used to eating or drinking a lot of green stuff, you may need to get used to the taste. I’ve grown to enjoy taking my greens and love what it does for my overall health and energy levels.
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