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The Mighty Greens; Moringa, Spirulina and Chlorella.

Immunity, Wellness

Moringa

There has been a global demand for this miracle tree known as Moringa oleifera, or horseradish tree or the drumstick tree, and it has made headlines for good reason. This affordable and nutritious plant native to Asia and Africa, grows as a shrub in a lot of semi-arid areas and has been consumed as food and for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It has a great reputation as a fast-growing plant that has also provided economic benefits to communities that trade it for its health-boosting values and supports farmers in dryland areas working to address hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.  Most parts of the Moringa tree are edible and medicinal, including the leaves, oil, bark and gum. It is filled with nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, B2, B6, essential amino acids (proteins), Iron, Magnesium, and other trace minerals. Moringa strengthens your immune system and boosts your body’s ability to thrive and maintain optimum function. It is consumed as a vegetable and is cooked like any other edible greens. The leaves are also dried and ground up to powder form and added to juices, meals, smoothies, cereals, and so on, or boiled and drunk as a herbal infusion. The seeds are also dried and eaten in small amounts or the oils extracted for both internal and topical use. The taste of Moringa leaves is pretty neutral and this makes it easy to blend in with different cuisine or foods. Some of the benefits of this miracle tree include the following:

 

  • Moringa leaves are rich in many important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron that strengthen the immune system and boost overall function
  • Moringa oleifera is rich in various antioxidants, including quercetin and chlorogenic acid and can increase blood antioxidant levels
  • Moringa oleifera may help lower blood sugar levels by use of its plant compounds that are beneficial for people with diabetes
  • Moringa has been shown to have anti-inflammatory compounds in the leaves, pods and seeds that may ease many chronic health problems, including heart disease, arthritis and cancer
  • Moringa oleifera can effectively lower your cholesterol levels, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and aid in weight loss
  • Moringa leaves and seeds are rich in glucosinolates, which are linked to the plant’s beneficial effects on prostate health
  • Polyphenols in Moringa seed and leaf extracts have been shown to improve erectile dysfunction in men by allowing for more blood flow to the penis
  • Moringa leaves and seeds are rich in antioxidants shown to neutralize sperm-damaging oxidative stress and improve male fertility and sexual function
  • Moringa oil is high in protein and oleic acid, a monounsaturated, healthy fat. When used for cooking, it’s economical, nutritious and lowers bad cholesterol
  • Used topically, moringa oil is beneficial for acne breakouts and contains compounds such as tocopherols, catechins, quercetin, ferulic acid, and zeatin for skin and hair health
  • The leaves and seeds of Moringa oleifera may protect against some of the effects of arsenic toxicity that contaminates food and water in many parts of the world
  • Moringa also helps in the prevention of respiratory problems and infections as well as increases red blood cells, two essential benefits during these pandemic times
  • Moringa also treats parasitic infections, gum disease, constipation, headaches, detoxes the system, strengthens liver function boosts mood and improves appetite among many other benefits

 

NB: Ingestion of the bark, leaves, and flowers of the moringa tree can generate uterine contractions severe enough to cause a miscarriage in pregnant women. The roots should not be ingested.

Spirulina

The superfood of the sea, yes it is spirulina. It is defined as a ‘filamentous cyanobacteria which form tangled masses in warm alkaline lakes in Africa and Central and South America.’ To put it simply, Spirulina is a microscopic single-celled algae. It grows naturally in lakes, ponds and the ocean and may have different flavors depending on where it is sourced. It was a key source of proteins for the Aztecs thousands of years ago and we still see this and more from this rich blue-green-hued algae. This super green is alkaline promoting which has been linked to better mental alertness and memory, reduction of candida growth and other pathogens, generation of healthier tissues, proper functioning of your cells, improved heart health, and reduction of the risk of chronic diseases and muscle degeneration. Spirulina is harvested, scooped up and passed through a set of filters washed and dried and the final powder is ready for use. Mix spirulina with water, fresh juices, smoothies, soups, sauces, salad dressings, or in your food sprinkle it on top for that boost of energy and nutrients to benefit your body and brain function.  Some of the many benefits of this mighty green powder include the following:

 

  • This superfood of the sea may be one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, full of essential amino acids, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, Iron and Copper
  • Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color
  • Spirulina alone has been equally beneficial as a medication in treating mild to moderate asthma by improving lung function
  • Spirulina may have brain-protective properties and promote increased energy and stimulation of the immune system
  • Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit the production of inflammatory signaling molecules, providing impressive anti-inflammatory effects which leads to healthier aging and strengthening of the immune system
  • Spirulina can lower triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol and may simultaneously raise “good” HDL cholesterol
  • The antioxidants in spirulina can help prevent fatty structures in your body from becoming oxidized and slowing the progression of many diseases
  • Spirulina may have anti-cancer properties and appears especially effective against a type of precancerous lesion of the mouth called OSMF
  • Spirulina supplements are very effective against allergic rhinitis, reducing various symptoms characterized by inflammation in your nasal passageways
  • Spirulina can reduce anemia in older adults by increasing the hemoglobin content of red blood cells and improved immune function
  • Spirulina may provide multiple exercise benefits, including enhanced endurance and increased muscle strength
  • It improves blood circulation and therefore promotes healthy hair growth
  • It may benefit people with type 2 diabetes, significantly reducing fasting blood sugar levels
  • Spirulina naturally detoxes heavy metals that may be found in your blood by binding to them and cleansing them out

 

NB: If too much uric acid builds up in the body, gout or kidney stones can develop. If you are susceptible to gout attacks or kidney stones, then spirulina may be harmful to you.

 

Chlorella

This other type of single-celled algae is close in nature to spirulina but offers other nutrients and is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, and zinc when compared to its counterpart. It also grows in fresh or seawater and translates directly to mean small and green. Chlorella is a wellness algae that helps you recover your health. It has the highest concentration of chlorophyll in the world. An important thing to note when ingesting chlorella is to get the powder that has cracked cell walls in order to digest it and from a reputable supplier. Chlorella can be used internally as a supplement or in powder form. But it also has benefits externally and can be used in topical creams, face masks and wound healing balms given its anti-inflammatory effects. Add it to fresh smoothies, juices, or cook it in sauces or other recipes to get those added nutrients in your meals. Like with most super greens, you may have some side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, headache or other indications of a detoxifying substance. Ensure to take the specified amount. The following are some of the benefits of chlorella:

 

  • Chlorella contains many nutrients, including vitamins C, B12, iron, antioxidants and omega-3 fats and small amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid. It is 60% protein meaning it’s a complete protein source that contains all nine essential amino acids
  • Chlorella may help the body detox by binding to heavy metals and other toxins, it has been found to weaken the heavy metal toxicity of the liver, brain and kidneys
  • Chlorella enhances the immune response by increasing the activity of various parts of the immune system
  • The nutrients found in chlorella, including niacin, fiber, carotenoids and antioxidants, may help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high blood pressure and/or slightly elevated cholesterol
  • Chlorella’s antioxidant content may provide some protection against chronic disease these include; chlorophyll, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein
  • Chlorella keeps blood pressure in check, it could help promote heart and kidney health, which is essential for normal blood pressure especially nutrients it contains such as arginine, potassium, calcium and omega-3s, which help protect arteries from hardening
  • Chlorella may help lower blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • The antioxidants in chlorella may have anti-inflammatory effects, which can possibly improve asthma and other respiratory diseases
  • Branched-chain amino acids in chlorella have been found to improve aerobic performance in various studies
  • Chlorella contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that protect the eye and lower the risk of macular degeneration
  • Chlorella may relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) because it contains calcium and B-vitamins
  • Chlorella has been shown to improve markers of liver health in people with liver disease, eases digestion and reduces bloating

 

NB: Since chlorella affects the immune system, it may not be appropriate for people with immunodeficiency or on immune system medications.

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