When it comes to supplementing for improved performance and muscle gains, superstar sups such as whey, aminos, creatine, multis and pre-workout formulas tend to take center stage. With proven efficacy and real-world effectiveness making them legit muscle-building mandatories, the drawing power of such leading products is well justified. However, there is another contender for bodybuilding super sup; a power-packed all-natural plethora of health-giving nutrients unrivaled among performance products; a product so beneficially powerful that it has been likened to a multi-vitamin on steroids; a formula packed with a vast number of health-restoring compounds and specific muscle-building nutrients which also boosts mental and physical performance on multiple levels. And all of this in a humble scoop of green powder.
Unless you have chosen to adopt a head-in-the-sand-approach to advanced nutrition you are no doubt familiar with the vast array of green foods products populating store shelves. With bold claims of all-in-one effectiveness, such products have sparked the interest of many a muscle-hungry consumer. Unfortunately, many such products possess few ingredients and much filler. Or many ingredients in such minuscule dosages that label claims simply cannot be met. Low grade contenders notwithstanding, it is no great stretch to claim that quality green foods products have the potential to become the wonder supplement of the 21st century. And fortunately there are a few excellent brands, such as Labrada Greens Full-Spectrum Superfood, leading the way. So what should the discerning customer expect from a quality green foods brand? And what makes these supplements much more than simply a convenient way to get the nutrient-packed greens we are advised, but regularly fail, to consume? Read on to find out.
Why go green? The benefits to going green are many and varied. Below are some of the key reasons why adding a quality green foods supplement to your dietary plan could be the most significant nutritional adjustment you make this year.
1) RESTORING HEALTH
(one small scoop at a time)
Boosts chlorophyll and chlorella Say what? Of the many vital compounds to be found in green foods products, the largely unheralded chlorophyll and chlorella would surely rank near the top. While both of these super-substances possess specific advantages all of their own, both are superior ways in which to alkalize the body, to restore one’ s pH balance (see below) to enhance health and tissue growth (2).
Chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plant foods, is a proven detoxifier which cleanses the body of waste products and toxins (like lead and arsenic) to restore health. By helping to build and nourish both the heme part of hemoglobin and red blood cells, chlorophyll increases energy levels by aiding the transportation of oxygen around the body. In addition to numerous other health benefits, chlorophyll facilitates the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria (to improve digestion) and exerts a powerful antioxidant effect (2, 3).
Considered to be nature’ s perfect food, chlorella, a form of blue-green algae (much like spirulina), provides many of the advantages of chlorophyll as well as unique benefits of its own. Chlorella ranks extremely high in protein composition (providing 65% – 40 times more protein-per-gram than soya, rice and wheat), with all 10 essential aminos (of 19 total aminos) for sustained muscle replenishment (10).
A 1-ounce serving of chlorella also contains 133% of the RDA for zinc, making it an excellent way to help boost testosterone production (10). Additional benefits of chlorella include: the normalization of blood pressure and cholesterol; high levels of magnesium, fiber and vitamin B-12; 10 times more vitamin A than beef liver per gram; and the immune-boosting-properties of chlorella growth factor (CGF) (6).
Obtaining enough chlorophyll and chlorella through whole foods alone can be a daunting task, with several pounds of raw greens supplying the same serving as one small scoop of green foods powder. To top up on these super-nutrients, a green foods formula is the most economical and convenient way to go.
2) RESTORES pH BALANCE
The pH balance, or acidity/alkalinity ratio, greatly influences the overall health of the many cells of the body and the degree to which tissue growth can occur (9). Ranging from 1-14, the pH (potential of hydrogen) scale shows whether we are functioning in a predominantly acidic or alkaline environment (acidic being below 7 and alkaline being above, with 7 being neutral). To ensure health, wellbeing and a range of biological processes (from bone calcification to free radical elimination to muscle protein synthesis) are properly engaged, our pH balance must fall slightly to the alkaline side of neutral (7.4).
Unfortunately, try as they might, many bodybuilders fail to reach their full muscle-building potential due to a failure to acknowledge the importance of pH. In fact, with their acid-promoting high protein intakes (8) many bodybuilders exist in a state of chronic metabolic acidosis (below 7 on the pH scale). Even with continuous clean eating and a full-spectrum multi-vitamin intake it is extremely difficult to avoid falling to the left of this scale. Left unabated, an acidic pH can leech valuable minerals from muscle tissue and the many vital organs of our body in an attempt to neutralizean accumulation of acid in the blood (9).
A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and low in acid-causing foods (such as processed goods, sugar, rice, meat and beverages such as coffee, soft drinks and alcohol) is often recommended as the most effective way to address metabolic acidosis. However, to obtain a sufficiently plentiful supply of the nutrients contained in alkalinity-promoting foods, many pounds of such foods per day must be consumed. Many of these so-called healthy foods are, in addition, so packed full of preservatives and lacking in vital nutrients (due to various processing and preparation methods) that their full-benefit simply cannot be achieved.
To top it off, the best of the alkalizing foods, purchased individually, would cost a fortune and would require much time and effort to purchase and prepare. With green foods, the very best alkalizing ingredients can be obtained, one small scoop at a time. So concentrated in individual nutrients is each scoop of a quality green foods powder that an optimal pH balance can be achieved with a minimum of fuss and effort.
Key alkalinity-optimizing ingredients should be derived only from organic sources. A good green foods product will include ultra-concentrated all-natural forms of the alkalinity-promoting spirulina, oat grass, wheat grass, barley grass, spinach, and parsley.
Contrary to their name, most green foods powders are replete with a veritable rainbow of health-giving foods. However, in the interests of product potency and efficacy not all nutritious foods can be included in such formulas. Therefore, only the very best will do. To determine the superiority of select foods, many “greens” compounds are chosen for their ORAC value. As well as boosting many markers of good health, high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) foods are preferentially included for their potent antioxidant properties (5). Active people in general and bodybuilders in particular are subjected to continuous metabolic oxidation. Whenever such oxidation occurs, free radical production is increased.
An abundance of circulating free radicals (unstable atoms; toxic molecules which create system-wide damage) can wreck havoc on muscle and other tissues, compromising healing and health as they invade all the cells of the body. An ORAC analysis is used to measure the antioxidant power of foods (5). Once assessed, each food is assigned an ORAC value (units of μ mol TE/100g). High ORAC foods, in particular acai berries, green tea leaf extract, acerola cherry, and blueberries (with values of 100,800, 100,000+, 70,000 and 9,621 respectively), are found in quality green foods products. By contrast, foods such as honeydew melons (with an ORAC value of 241), cucumber (214) and water melon (142), though healthful in their own right, are not considered worthy green foods additions.
4) HIGH BIOAVAILABILITY
Lumping a bunch of ingredients together without addressing the single most important element of supplemental effectiveness, bioavailability, runs counter to what a good green foods product aims to achieve. The old expression ‘ you are what you eat’ is untrue. In fact, ‘ you are what you digest’ more accurately encapsulates what health-conscious people should be striving for. By breaking down larger molecules into more easily digestible particles, digestive enzymes are important catalysts for nutrient absorption and speeding chemical reactions in the body (7). Thus a good green foods formula will include a digestive enzyme blend to ensure all of its valuable nutrients are properly absorbed and assimilated. Protease (splits proteins to amino acids), Amylase, Glucoamylase, Invertase, and Diastase (splits carbohydrates and starchesinto simple sugars), and Lipase (splits fats to fatty acids and glycerol) are key enzymes contained in only the best green foods products.
Aside from improving immunity, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol and providing a host of additional health benefits, probiotics (microorganisms that double as a form of healthy bacteria) increase nutrient bioavailability. An overlooked supplemental mandatory found in fermented foods with active live cultures, probiotics can improve the absorption rate of foods by enhancing intestinal functioning and digestion (1). Superior green foods products contain a probiotic blend featuring L. acidophilus, B. longum, L. casei, and L. rhamnosus.
Also instrumental for nutrient absorption is dietary fiber. By keeping the digestive tract healthy and slowing the transit time of sugars, fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, maintain bowel health and enables the absorption of vital nutrients (4).
Flax seed, inulin, and gum acacia are all superior sources of fiber and contained in the best green foods powders.
CONCLUSION: GO GREEN TO POWER UP!
Quality green foods powders are among the most nutritionally powerful supplements on the market today. In supplying, in concentrated, pure and bioavailable form, over 80 of the vital ingredients the body needs each day, a daily serving of greens may do more to boost health, recovery and tissue rebuilding than all other purported ‘ wonder’ supplements combined. The key, however, is to ensure your greens product is of the highest efficacy.
Of the many competing brands, many skimp on quality. With superior choices, such as Labrada Greens Full-Spectrum Superfood, label claims are not mere window dressing. You can be sure that with such products you will receive maximum benefit. So no more gorging like cow on vegetables and fruits, if such ‘ maximum consumption’ is even feasible in the first place. No more splashing out of high cost ‘ super foods’ and hoping for the best. You can also forget about spending hour-upon-hour preparing salads the size of forests in an effort to obtain vital nutrients. With a daily scoop or two of a quality greens product you can supercharge your mind and body in seconds. Going green has never been so easy.
References 1.Harvard Health Publications. Health benefits of taking probiotics. [Online] http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics – retrieved on 15.10.16 2.Jubert C., et al. Effects of chlorophyll and chlorophyllin on low-dose aflatoxin B(1) pharmacokinetics in human volunteers. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 3.Kumar, S., S. et al. Scavenging of reactive oxygen species by chlorophyllin: an ESR study. Free Radic Res. 2001;35(5):563-574. 4.Lattimer, J., et al. Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health. Nutrients. 2010 Dec; 2(12): 1266–1289. Published online 2010 Dec 15.
About the author
David Robson is a prolific health and fitness author with a particular interest in how training, nutrition and mindset can assist bodybuilding progress, David Robson, a personal trainer and health educator, also walks the walk as a seasoned bodybuilding competitor. David, a Tae Kwon Do black belt, and second place-finisher at the 1997 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, has competed internationally in both Tae Kwon Do and bodybuilding.
In addition, David, who holds separate degrees in psychology, journalism, teaching, and sports performance, is Founder and Director of Advanced Personal Training New Zealand (ATPNZ), a company set up to educate people on how to become fitter, healthier, and better-performing in their day-to-day life, and as athletes.
Charity work forms a large part of David’s life. As Founder and President of the New Zealand Wheelchair Bodybuilding Federation (NZWBBF) and Founder and Director of Fit Futures Charitable Trust, David provides sporting and fitness training opportunities for people with physical disabilities.
David also provides online coaching for fitness and bodybuilding results.
Contacted David at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Education (partial history)
-University of Waikato: Bachelor of Sport and Leisure Studies (BSpLS). 2002
-University of Waikato: Graduate Diploma in Social Science – Psychology (GradDipSocSc). 2003
-Golden Key International Honour Society (inducted member). 2001
-Wintec: National Diploma in Journalism. 2004
-Wintec: Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (with Merit). 2011
-Network: Fitness Leader certification. 1996