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The Function of Green Foods

Monday, October 19, 2009  |  1 Comment

Green foods may be the most effective natural cure for osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, low energy, gaseous stomach and most important cancer. In order to understand how green foods work, any preconceived ideas about nutrition must be put aside. While green foods contain a host of vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, chlorophyll and more, they are actually catalysts that support chemical chain reactions within the body. Most cancers start when incomplete chemical reactions occur during digestion, respiration and elimination, which create acidic toxic waste in the body that ultimately interferes with cellular replication. Each cell in the body is responsible for replicating itself. During cellular reproduction, chromosomes split into chromatides and reassemble into genes. If they do not match up properly, cellular defects cause aging, bone loss, heart disease and cancer. Green foods help "balance the body" and create an environment where cancer is unlikely to occur. Low pH or over acidity in the system is often the root cause of many diseases. It begins when the blood is deprived of alkaline ash food that creates a low alkaline buffer reserve in the tissue, alkaline ash foods are foods that when burned leave an alkaline residue, we also call these alkaline forming foods. As the alkaline reserve is "used up" by our blood, acidity begins to increase in other organs and stress normal metabolic function. To combat the formation of lactic, uric and other damaging acids, the body will leach calcium from the bones to "buffer" and neutralize these acids. Unfortunately this causes bone loss, arthritis and ultimately osteoporosis. Another defensive measure is to store the ammonia acids in the kidneys in an attempt to conserve the alkaline buffer reserve. This ultimately leads to kidney stones, hormone imbalance and contributes to the cellular stress that leads to cancer. The leading cause of low pH and over acidity is the consumption of processed foods (carbohydrates, sugar, white flour), meat, protein and carbonated beverages. Of course the best way to create a strong alkaline reserve is to consume alkaline ash foods like green foods, which will in turn balance the pH of the body allowing other important aspects of immune defense to be unleashed. However, as important as pH is, it is only one aspect of green food nutrition, and cancer is only one of many ailments that green foods may be helpful in preventing.

Green Foods & Cancer Prevention

"Scientist have discovered that green juices increase the oxygenation of the body, purify the blood and organs, aid in the metabolism of nutrients and counteract acids and toxins. Green juices are the superstars of the nutrition world." As scientists gain more insight into the cause of cancers, it is becoming increasingly clear that the focus of treatment must change dramatically. While many researchers have become convinced, most medical doctors and oncologists are still overcoming their previously deep rooted belief in the genetic origin of cancers. This belief has virtually discredited those who focus on lifestyle modification and a disease preventive diet as the primary defense against cancer, and since doctors thought genetics were the cause, surgery, medications and chemotherapy became widely accepted as the best "reaction" to the "genetic" malfunction.

All of that is changing with current revelations provided by the human genome project, indicating that only 20% of all cancer is genetically linked. This paradigm changing revelation has lead many researchers to turn their attention to ³phyto² chemistry, which is the study of plant-based compounds that act as cellular antioxidants. Recently a unanimous chorus has gone up among doctors, dietitians and nutritionist to significantly increase the amount of green-pigmented foods people get in their diet. The reason for this is because a huge body of scientific evidence currently indicates that green foods may be the most important part of a disease prevention and life extending diet.

Take for example the April 1999 Issue of the Harvard Health Letter. According to Harvard researchers, one of the most important steps anyone can take to avoid cancer is to consume more deep green-pigmented foods. With cancer rates climbing, researchers noted that this type of dietary change must be the first line of defense. (Note: Over 1 million cases are diagnosed each year!)

At the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Tim Beyors has seen how adding green foods to even the best diet can increase cancer prevention dramatically. Studies at the CDC show that people who eat a high fiber, low fat diet can decrease their risk for colon/rectal cancer by less than 10%. However, adding five servings of greens to the same low fat, high fiber diet the risk fell by nearly 40%.

Other studies show a lack of green vegetables increases breast cancer risk nearly 25%, with skin cancer results being very similar. While these studies focused on green leafy vegetables, sea greens have also been impressive in human studies conducted at UC Davis by T.L. Mao, Jean De Water and M.E. Gershwin. These studies published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods shows certain sea plants with green and blue pigments induce interleukin (IL)-1ß,IL-4 and interferon (IFN).

In fact, after only two weeks of oral ingestion (of spirulina platensis), IFN increased as much as 13 times. (Note: These are important to cellular defense and increase macrophage activity, an important aspect of fighting cancer.)

Research Beginnings

So, where did the research begin? All of it is somehow either inspired by or is a continuation of the functional foods program that operated under Dr.Herb Pierson from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, MD. He convinced the U.S. Government to fund $20 million in research into the disease preventive aspect of food. It was Dr. Pierson who coined the term "phytochemical" to describe the yet unidentified compounds in food that help prevent disease. He was also a pioneer in documenting the cancer-fighting compounds in green foods such as endole carbinole 3 and sulphurophane through his support of research on broccoli.

With the overwhelming amount of new research being published every year, it is inevitable that botanists, chemists and others will catalogue an infinite number of endoles, bioflavanoids and polyphenolic compounds in green plants in the future. However, we need to examine the form and function of green plants to fully understand their place in nature¹s apothecary.

We know chlorophyll as the pigment that makes plants green. But it is Chlorophyll's amazing similarity to hemoglobin that is the first clue to it's potential. Form follows function. As chlorophyll performs photosynthesis, it is exposed to hours of ultraviolet and radioactive light. As a byproduct of this, damage is done to the plant¹s nucleic acids causing oxidative stress. In reaction, green plants develop an array of unique bioflavanoids that act as blocking agents or others that act as repairing and suppressing agents. Recent research has shown that those green plant activities can be transferred to the humans who consume them. In fact, scientists have documented green plants¹ effect on cellular rejuvenation and the DNA repair in human cells. One study conducted at UC San Diego showed a component of green leaves from young barley plants to promote the repair of DNA significantly when compared to the control group. This study was conducted by a team led by Dr. Hotta and Dr. Kubuto.

Summary

Today 83% of Americans who die suffer from some form of chronic disease, and with life expectancy at an all time high it is time for change. In Roman times the average life span was a mere 22 years old, while today at least people are reaching ages well into the 100s (Jean Colment of France at 122 years old.) As a society, Japan leads the life expectancy race, with an average of 80 years, while American women come in at a close second with a 78+ year average. The stark realization that any extended lifespan comes with an increased likelihood of developing chronic degenerative conditions has driven home the message echoing from the voice of the father of medicine himself who said, "Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food."

While researchers continue to achieve unprecedented success with cancer treatments, it may be 10-20 years before the most promising treatments become widely available. With 1.2 million Americans diagnosed with cancer last year alone, an aging baby boomer population is running out of time. Today with the scientific validation of green foods as a disease-fighter, the gray generation may soon become the green generation.

 

References:

1. Hughes and Letner. "Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin Regeneration," American Journal of Medical Science, 188, 206 (1936)

2. Kohler, Elvahjem and Hart. "Growth Stimulating Properties of Grass Juice," Science. 83, 445 (1936)

3. The Scandanavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Volume 37, Number 4/April 1, 2002, pages 444-449 talks of a study titled: "Wheat Grass Juice in the Treatment of Active Distal Ulcerative Colitis: A Randomized Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trial." Conclusion: "Wheat grass juice appeared effective and safe as a single or adjuvant treatment of distal UC.

4. Kohler, Randle and Wagner. “The Grass Juice Factor.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 128, 1w (1939)

5. Miyake, T. and Shibamoto, T. Inhibition of Malonaldehyde and acetaldehyde formation from blood plasma oxidation by naturally occurring antioxidants. 1998, J. of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 46 (9): 1135-1138.

6. Hagiwara, Y. Study on green juice powder of young barley (Hordeum vulgare L) leaves II: Effect on several food additives, agricultural chemicals, and a carcinogen. Presented at the 98th National Meeting of the Japanese Society of Pharmaceutical Science (1978).

7. Hagiwara, Y., Sayuki, S., Miysuchi, T., Otake,H., Abe, S., Kuramoto, M., and Takada, K. Study on green barley extract. Presented at the 99th National Meeting of the Japanese Society of Pharmaceutical Science, Sapporo (1979).

8. Osawa, T., Katsuzaki, H., Hagiwara, Y., and Shibamoto, T. A novel antioxidant isolated from young green barley leaves. 1992, J. of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 40 (7): 1135-1138.

9. Digirolamo M. Diet and cancer: markers, prevention and treatment. New York: Plenum Press; 1994. p 203.

10. Nakajima, S., Hagiwara, Y., Hagiwara, H., and Shibamoto, T. Effect of the Antioxidant 2"-O-Glycosylisovitexin from young green barley leaves on acetaldehyde formation in beer stored at 50 degree C for 90 days. 1998, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 46 (4): 1529-1531.


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