You might remember chlorophyll from science classes as a vital part of photosynthesis in plants. It is also the pigment that gives green vegetables their color. But did you know that chlorophyll has some remarkable healing properties too?
Whether you’re doing a cleanse or not, including chlorophyll in your diet can help to prevent disease, reduce inflammation and much more. Here is the definitive guide to how chlorophyll can help you detox!
#1 Chlorophyll is a proven anti-carcinogen
A number of studies have suggested that chlorophyll can reduce DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Although there have so far been no studies completed on humans, research on rainbow trout and other animals have shown a clear reduction in the incidence of liver, colon and stomach cancer.
In particular, researchers have looked closely at cancer caused by fungi found in moldy legumes and grains. These fungi produce Aflatoxin-B1, a known liver carcinogen. A 2007 study by the Linus Pauling Institute looked at how chlorophyll might reduce the carcinogenic effects of Aflatoxin-B1. This study found that chlorophyll offered “potent chemoprotection against … carcinogenesis in the rat liver and colon”.
Another study in 2008 fed carcinogenic material to rainbow trout. Among those trout who were given an additional dose of chlorophyll, the incidence of liver cancer fell from 51% to 21-26%. And the incidence of stomach cancer showed a similarly dramatic fall from 56% to 19-29%.
#2 Chlorophyll is an antioxidant & anti-inflammatory
The antioxidant properties of Chlorophyll are well established. It has been shown to reduce free radical activity and prevent or slow down mutations in your cells. This is actually one of the jobs that chlorophyll performs in plants – it prevents damage from disease, pollution or molds.
Green leaves have long been a folk remedy to reduce inflammation, but recent studies are beginning to show that there is a scientific basis to this too. A 2012 study found that “chlorophyll a and its degradation products are valuable and abundantly available anti-inflammatory agents”.
#3 Chlorophyll chelates heavy metals
The pollution of our air, water and food supplies means that none of us can avoid heavy metals. Over time, the concentrations of lead, mercury and aluminum can build up until they start to threaten our health. Chlorophyll can actually reduce those concentrations by binding with the heavy metal molecules and enabling them to be eliminated from your body.
This property is the reason why most heavy metal cleanses recommend chlorophyll-rich foods like cilantro, chlorella and spirulina.
#4 Chlorophyll has antiseptic properties
During World War II chlorophyll was widely used as an antiseptic to prevent wounds from becoming infected. Later research found that while chlorophyll does not have antiseptic properties of its own, it actually increases the disease resistance of your cells and slows down the growth of bacteria.
#5 Chlorophyll treats bad breath
If you’ve ever suffered from bad breath you know how embarrassing and uncomfortable it can be. Chlorophyll is one way to treat your halitosis and regain your social confidence. If you’ve ever tried Clorets gum or breath mints, look at the ingredients and you’ll see that chlorophyll in one of the main ingredients.
Bad breath often originates not in the mouth, but in the stomach and the gut. A British study showed that Chlorophyll reduced toxicity in the gut and could even lower the possibility of colon cancer. By neutralizing toxins in your digestive system, chlorophyll can eliminate those unpleasant odors too.
Chlorophyll can even reduce body odors too. In fact, many hunters start taking chlorophyll tablets a few days before they go hunting to reduce their body odor and prevent animals from smelling them.
#6 Chlorophyll is rich in nutrients
Lastly, chlorophyll is packed full of the nutrients that your body needs to function well. It is especially rich in minerals like copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. It is also a good source of vitamin K, which is important for blood coagulation and is often deficient in the elderly.
Sources of chlorophyll
The most obvious source of chlorophyll is those green vegetables I keep talking about. In fact the greener your vegetables, the more chlorophyll they contain. Leaves with a really dark green color tend to contain more chlorophyll, whereas the lighter greens contain less.
Here are some examples. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, 1 cup of spinach leaves contains around 24mg of chlorophyll. Compare this to Chinese cabbage and endive (both lighter color) which contain around 4-5mg of chlorophyll. So as a general rule, dark green leafy vegetables will give you the biggest chlorophyll hit.
There’s one important note to make here – cooking your leafy greens will destroy much of the chlorophyll that they contain. For example, boiling broccoli for 20 minutes will destroy around two thirds of the chlorophyll. So if you want to get all the nutrients from your green vegetables, you should eat them raw or lightly steamed.
Another good source of chlorophyll can be found in your local health food store. Since the health-affirming effects of chlorophyll became widely known, a number of liquid chlorophyll supplements have appeared. These are usually derived from alfalfa and can be added to juices, smoothies or simply consumed straight out of the bottle. While producing your own chlorophyll from fresh, organic vegetables is always best, chlorophyll supplements can be a great addition to your cleanse or detox routine.
Juicing: An easy way to get the chlorophyll you need
If the thought of eating huge amounts of leafy greens makes you cringe, then there is another way. Just throw some green veggies in your juicer and watch all that wonderful, chlorophyll-rich juice pour out!
Juicing is perhaps the easiest way to get your daily fix of chlorophyll, and there are some really tasty recipes that you can try. If you’re doing a juice cleanse, always remember to include lots of green vegetables. Juicing at home is generally a better idea than buying from the juice bar. Remember that commercial juicing companies have to cater to everyone’s sweet tooth, so their recipes tend to contain more fruits and fewer green vegetables.
Here are a couple of juice recipes you can make at home. Each recipe will make 2 cups of tasty, chlorophyll-rich juice.
2 cups of kale
Handful of cilantro
2 cups of spinach
5 celery stalks
½ cubic inch of ginger