Why take whole food-based supplements?
Alan C. Logan, ND
What are "green food" supplements? If you're looking to increase your energy and vitality, read on.
For more than two decades, “green foods” have been popular natural health products.
These are blends of whole food-derived plant ingredients, standardized herbal extracts, sea vegetables, red and purple fruits/roots, and, of course, greens in the form of chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, and others from the plant kingdom. Green foods also include emulsifiers such as phospholipid-rich lecithin. The term “green food” is therefore a misnomer; these formulas are inclusive of virtually every colour shade found within edible plants.
The reasons health-conscious consumers specifically consume green food formulas are likely the same as those that motivate them to choose natural health products in general. Researchers have shown clearly that Canadians are increasingly surrounded by ultra-processed foods, and even with the best of intentions, nutrient gaps are a current reality. These nutrient gaps might be especially present when considering phytonutrients, the constituents that provide plants with their vibrant colours, taste, and texture.
Physicians, nurses, and dieticians—themselves no strangers to what constitutes high quality dietary habits—when surveyed were found to subscribe to natural health products in their own daily life, with the rationale to “to fill nutrient gaps” being among the top reasons for supplementation.
The allure of green food products may therefore be simply that they are viewed as a nutritional insurance policy; however, scientific research on the effects of consuming green food products would suggest that there is a bit more to it.
University of Toronto research shows that the consumption of a green food formula (versus placebo) can significantly increase energy and vitality. Separate research has also shown that the phytonutrients within green foods are not only numerous, but they also are well absorbed and physiologically active in adult research subjects.
A decade ago, researchers viewed colourful phytonutrients as simply “antioxidants” that protect cells and may slow down aging. Today we know that they are much more; they may even influence the availability of the chemicals responsible for nerve function (think mood and mental outlook).
As researchers learn more about the ways in which green food products may influence specific aspects of health and well-being, the existing research on how a consumer “feels” as a result of taking a phytonutrient-rich product probably explains a lot about why they remain so popular. Energy and vitality are precious commodities in the modern high-paced environment.