6 gr e a t gr e e n s ! Chapter Two Get to Know Your Greens P opeye would be proud. Spinach has reached the pinnacle of superfood status. Ditto for kale, collards, chard, and cabbage. But if these green leafies aren’t ­ making a regular appearance on your dinner table, you may want to become familiar with the following drinkable greens. Grasses Barley Grass: Boasting an array of antioxidants, barley was the very first cereal grain ever cultivated by humans, dating back to 7000 BC. Along with vitamins A, C, E, beta- carotene, and B vitamins, barley grass is a rich source of potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. Barley grass also provides chlorophyll, amino acids, protein, fiber, and enzymes. Most importantly, barley grass is a source of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a critical enzyme that helps neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals. According to a recent report in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, barley grass has numerous health benefits. It’s a natural detoxifier that protects the liver. It also supports healthy blood pressure, enhances immunity, improves digestive health, has blood glucose-supporting effects, promotes cardiovascular health, improves cognition, lessens fatigue, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Many of these actions may be due to barley grass’ ability to tip the body’s balance toward alkalinity. Because it benefits the body on so many fronts, barley grass is considered an exceptional superfood. Wheatgrass: This juice bar staple is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium, and amino acids. Among its 17 amino acids, 8 are considered essential, meaning your body can’t produce them—they must come from your diet. Wheatgrass is a powerful source of glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant.” It's little wonder that preliminary research has found that wheatgrass reduces oxidative damage to cells. Other studies suggest that wheatgrass may support healthy cholesterol levels, aid in balancing blood sugar, counter an inappropriate inflammatory response, and induce the destruction of damaged or abnormal cells. Like barley grass, wheatgrass is a powerful alkalinizing agent that supports balanced pH. Algae Chlorella: This unique single-celled freshwater algae has survived on the earth for more than two billion years. The secret to its longevity is chorella’s fibrous outer wall. Hidden within that wall—which is indigestible to humans—are powerful detoxification properties. Fortunately, scientists have found that breaking the wall releases chlorella’s natural ability to bind toxins and heavy metals through a process known as chelation. Chlorella also boasts a wealth of antioxidants and vitamins including vitamins B1, B2, B12, folic acid, C, and K. Plus it’s a potent source of minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, and fiber.