As a Holistic Nutritionist I don’t usually speak of fractional or ‘parts’ of foods.  I prefer to use the whole food for its overall energetic balance (flavor, direction, nutritional components and organ action, etc) however, chlorophyll, is a bit of an exception.  It appears in varying degrees in all vegetable matter and its healing properties are simply amazing.

What is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll A and B are the fat soluable portion of plants that allows them to absorb the sun’s vibrancy and convert that into energy – the  primary photoreceptor pigment in biochemical terms.  This energy from the plants is readily available, nutritious and healing for the human body – if you eat plants.  Chlorophyll rich foods top the charts in immune enhancing and toxin elimination.

Green is the color of health

Color truly counts in food and finding chlorophyll rich foods isn’t difficult – it’s in any organic plant matter that is green.  Chlorophyll A reflects sunlight in wavelengths that we see as blue-green, while chlorophyll B reflects in the green-yellow range.  No artificial colorings, please.  I had the most interesting debate with a client who was certain that green jello was chlorophyll rich.  Perhaps if she had made it with seaweed or algae, but I digress. Chlorophyll comes from nature’s true colorings of the leaves, grasses and plants we can consume.

Why chlorophyll rocks

Chlorophyll is packed with with enzymes, minerals, trace minerals and vitamins.  Wheatgrass, for example, contains 92 of the 102 vitamins currently identified by science.  Perhaps, most important is chlorophyll’s relationship to our blood.  Chlorophyll’s DNA  is almost identical to our blood’s, the difference is central atom of blood is iron while chlorophyll’s is magnesium.  In experiments with anemic animals, their blood counts returned to normal, after four or five days of receiving pure fresh chlorophyll.  Once the plant is heated, cooked or exposed to acid (like digestive acids) that magnesium in the center is displaced and replaced with hydrogen. You can identify this reaction by the change in color of food – suddenly the vibrant color dulls.

Does this mean we should eat only raw?  It depends. As a nutritionist, I work with a lot of clients who have compromised digestive vitality. I recommend clients to eat raw foods if they have strong digestive vitality, they are warm in nature, if raw is directly appropriate for the disharmony we are treating, or it is seasonally appropriate.  A little cooking like stir fry, steaming keeps the enzymes live in the food and helps to start break down the food for the body.  In the winter, soups and stews are appropriate to add lasting deep warmth. On a side note – raw means room temperature. Your body is hanging out somewhere around 98.6 degrees whereas food right from the fridge is at 40 degrees. That requires a lot of Yang/fire to heat the food to be absorbed which is hard on weak digestive systems. 

The Energetics & Healing Properties of Chlorophyll


Nourish Yin, builds the Blood, strengthens the body and relieves anemia

Chlorophyll is the blood of plants and it directly cleanses our Blood and replenishes fluids. Studies on anemic animals have shown significant results with no side effects. In most cases the red blood cell count returned to normal within a mere 4 or 5 days.  Want to be stronger?  Add in chlorophyll rich foods.

Treats radiation poisoning

Japan used chlorophyll rich seaweed to treat the victims of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukishima.  Studies by the US Army found found guinea pigs exposed to radiation that were given chlorophyll rich diets had 1/2 the mortality rate of those not fed chlorophyll. Lovely thing about wheatgrass – it’s 70% chlorophyll.  Use it help the body recover from harsh side effects of radiation therapy treatments.

Antibiotic properties

Multiple studies have proven that chlorophyll creates an environment in the body that is unfavorable to unfriendly bacteria.  A study at Loyola Loyola University proved that water soluble chlorophyll prohibits proteolitic bacteria which causes putrefaction of protein by some of the bacteria that are commonly found in the digestive tract of meat eaters.  To be clear, chlorophyll doesn’t act on the bacteria themselves, it just makes the living conditions for them hostile – in a good way.

Gives energy and reduces the appetite

Foods dense with chlorophyll like wheatgrass and spirulina are quickly absorbed (assimilated in about 20 minutes) providing the body with a rapid boost of energy. Wonderful for athletes. A single ounce of wheatgrass juice provides the nutritional equivalent of about 2 pounds of vegetables.  The rush of natural, easily absorbed nutrients sends a signal to the brain – now you aren’t hungry?

Counters carcinogens, toxins and fights cancer

Exposure to toxins and heavy chemicals lead to illness. Multiple studies, including those done by Dr. Chiu-nan Lai, Ph.D. have determined that chlorophyll in wheatgrass actually inhibits the metabolic activity of carcinogens.  Reduction of carcinogens in the body means a reduced risk of cancer. For those who have had heavy exposure to toxins like paints or drugs, use under the guidance of a nutritionists as rapid release can be too extreme.

Clears sinuses and allergies

Allergies are often related to food and digestive issues that lead to excess phlegm, swelling and irritation in the sinuses. Chlorophyll is loaded with live enzymes to improve digestion and vitamins and minerals to improve overall health. Improved assimilation leads to less food sensitivities and allergies. Yes, you can neti pot with chlorophyll – it works wonders – which is why I push nettle tea as one of my favorite allergy prevention and treatment foods. 

Treats skin disorders and deodorizes

Chlorophyll is wonderful internally and externally.  Internally, it purifies the blood and removes toxins and odors.  Externally, use wheatgrass on any skin conditions including bug bites, burns, eczema and x-ray burns.  Use it internally to remove foul odors from perspiration, bad breath, healing wounds and burns.

Improves digestion and stimulates peristalses

If it’s green – a real, plant form of green it heals the digestion relieving problems like ulcers, GERD and acid reflux.  Mildly diuretic, clearing and cooling, chlorophyll helps the bowels remove toxins and promoting regular bowel movements.

Treats chronic disorders, inflammatory diseases and arteriosclerosis

Chlorophyll cleanses the blood and combines with oxygen helping to remove foreign objects from the blood vessels. Use it in treating hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), high blood pressure, arthritis or any inflammatory disease.

Foods high in chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is not considered and essential nutrient, so there is no current recommendation on dosing from the FDA.  However, most nutritionists and whole foods practitioners recommend 100-200 mg a day.  The darker the green the higher the chlorophyll content.  Having problems remembering a few green foods?

  • Cereal Grasses – Wheatgrass and barley grass top the chart.  Heavily studied by Charles Schnabel during the 1930’s and 40’s wheatgrass can be listed as one of the healthiest, most bio-available foods for humans. A single ounce serving is said to provide the nutrients of 4 lbs of vegetables.
  • Spinach – Popeye’s favorite.  1 cup of organic spinach contains about 27 mg of chlorophyll–and yes, studies have shown that eating spinach regularly does help tone and build muscles.
  • Kale – One of winter’s hardiest greens.
  • Parsley – Yes, eat the decorations on your plates.
  • Nettles – Warming nettle tea – lovely way to get in the green. Check out Nourishing with Nettles
  • Seaweed- Time for a little seaweed salad? A note of caution here–with the continued leakage of radiation from Japan and other reactors, please be cautious of where your seaweed is harvested.  Look for Icelandic if at all possible.
  • Other green vegetables – Green bean, peas, asparagus, celery and fiddle ferns – oh, my. If it’s vegetable and green there will be chlorophyll. Add in to your diet leafy green herbs like cilantro and thyme. Don’t forget your flower greens like dandelion and violet greens.

Be well,