Superfood Breakdown: Chlorophyll
By Sarah Axtell, ND • April 22, 2021
Supplementing with liquid chlorophyll drops seems to be all the rage right now. Let’s unpack whether or not this “green blood of plants” is worth adding to your water.
First, let’s discuss what it is and its health benefits. Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their green, vibrant color. Chlorophyll helps plants turn the sun’s rays into energy via photosynthesis. I often refer to it as the “green blood of plants” as it closely resembles a component of our red blood cells, hemoglobin. The hemoglobin in our blood is virtually identical to the molecular structure of chlorophyll. This means that it is a powerful “blood builder,” providing us with energy.
Chlorophyll is also a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants quell free radicals, which are essentially molecules that damage cells and age them rapidly. A diet rich in COLOR (such as this beautiful green hue found in green leafy vegetables) can thus slow the aging process and prevent chronic disease, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.
It also stimulates detoxification pathways in the liver, making it a powerful blood cleanser and blood purifier.
Recent research also reveals it improves glucose tolerance, reduces inflammation, and increases the abundance of good flora in our gut.
And lastly, chlorophyll is an excellent source of vitamin K2. It is passed through the mammalian digestive tract into the bloodstream and then into the mammary gland. So in the past, humans got chlorophyll and thus vitamin K2 not only from plants but also from drinking grass-fed cow’s milk and eating grass-fed meat. However, today because of grain feeding animals and eating highly processed foods, vitamin K2 has gone missing from our diets. Vitamin K2 deficiency results in osteoporosis, heart disease and an accelerated aging process.
Food Sources of Chlorophyll
-Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens, salad greens)
-Green tea, especially matcha (matcha has been estimated to have 5.8x the chlorophyll content of regular green tea)
-Cilantro and parsley
-Sunflower seeds (Fun fact: the combination of sunflower seeds and baking soda in these cookies results in a natural green hue)
Should I supplement?
If you know me, I am a huge fan of “Food as medicine.” It is preferred to obtain chlorophyll from foods. Not only do we get chlorophyll from eating greens, but we also get other disease-fighting antioxidants, cleansing vitamins and minerals, and fiber!
Do note that when you add chlorophyll to your water, you are not drinking the whole green molecule. Chlorophyll can’t actually dissolve in water. Chlorophyll water is actually chlorophyllin, a compound derived from chlorophyll.
It won’t hurt to add liquid chlorophyll drops to your water, but don’t let this replace eating REAL.WHOLE.FOOD so you can get the other benefits of plants besides just chlorophyll. Aim for 2 cups of green leafy vegetables daily. Get really good at making: green smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and stir-fries for dinner.
For ways to incorporate more chlorophyll in your diet, see these recipes:
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.