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Nearly every major health organization recommends eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maintain health. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, less than nine percent of American adults consume the recommended number of servings.
One way to make sure you are receiving the nutritional benefits of multiple servings of fruits and vegetables is through Green Food supplementation.
Cereal grasses, such as wheat grass, barley grass, oat grass and alfalfa grass offer exceptional nutritional value. Cereal grasses were among the first whole foods consumed specifically for their vitamin and mineral content. Dehydrated cereal grass has been available as a food supplement for humans since the 1930's. Cereal grasses became an "accepted food" by the Council on Foods of the American Medical Association in 1939, recognized as a rich source of many nutrients, including beta-carotene, calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and Vitamin C. As is often the case, the first attempts at improving nutrition were the ones that have proven to be the most successful. The cereal grasses consumed at the turn of the century were unadulterated and minimally processed, retaining their significant nutritional value.
Cereal grasses are defined as the young grass stage of the wheat plant, the barley plant, the rye plant, and the oat plant. At this stage these cereal grasses have the look, feel, taste, nutrient and chemical makeup of green leafy vegetables. At this young green stage the cereal plant contains many times more vitamins, minerals and proteins than found in the same plant once it matures to the grain stage. In simple terms, the young cereal grass is much more nutrient dense than the mature cereal plant.
Cereal grasses are delivered to the body in one of two ways, concentrated grass juice powder or fibrous whole leaf grass powder. Whole Leaf Powders are made by taking the cereal grass and dehydrating it. The dehydrated cereal grass is then ground into a fine powder. The process is a quick and inexpensive way to create a powder.
Grass Juice Powders are made by taking the cereal grasses and juicing them. The juice is then allowed to dry into a fine powder, retaining the benefits of the juice itself. The process is time intensive and a more expensive alternative than simply grinding up a whole leaf powder.
When cereal grass is juiced, as opposed to dried and ground up, the resulting juice is packed with most of the nutrients available in the grass. Once this juice is low temperature dried, the resulting powder is much more densely packed with water soluble nutrients such as B-vitamins and folic acid than an equal amount of whole leaf powder.
Additionally, juicing fruits and vegetables makes them more soluble, allowing for easier digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Many raw vegetables are hard to digest because they require cellulase, an enzyme that our bodies do not produce, to break down the cellulose in the vegetable. Juicing the cereal grass bypasses this process and allows for the quicker and easier assimilation of nutrients. Whole Leaf Powders are less soluble as they contain the cellulose from the cereal grass.
Finally, when the cereal grasses are juiced, they must be taken to the juicer as soon as they are harvested, before the grass can dry out. Juicing the grass when it is so freshly harvested ensures a higher nutrient profile. When grasses are dried without juicing, they are often left out in a field to sun dry. This approach does not optimize the nutrient benefit of the grass.
Whole foods and their concentrates are ingredients in which no chemical extraction has been performed. When nutrients are stripped of their co-factors as a result of extraction, it may alter the nutrients’ utilization. In addition, these co-factors might have additional (i.e. antioxidant) benefits. In contrast, most widely available vitamin and mineral supplements are made from fractionated, isolated or synthetic sources that can potentially create an environment of biochemical imbalances.
For optimal health, there’s nothing better than nutrient-rich, unprocessed whole foods in their balanced, natural state.
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