Apparently, it has powerful detoxifying and anti-inflammatory benefits, but this is what you need to know – before you get on board with this trend.
We first heard of drinking chlorophyll – “plant-blood”, if you will – for its skin-clearing benefits a few years ago (you might have heard of the stuff’s purported anti-inflammatory properties) but as other wellness trends took centre stage (kale, chia, spirulina, you know…) we didn’t exactly stay, er, vigilant when it came to adding the stuff to our warm water every morning, like we once intended.
But, as we all know, trends are cyclical and chlorophyll is getting some decent PR of it’s own lately. “The green pigment” is re-gaining popularity on the wellness scene, according to Health.com, and people are espousing its detoxifying, metabolism-boosting and ailment-fighting abilities.
Apparently, chlorophyll is being downed and chewed in supplement, energy bar and juice form, but before you start imbibing the stuff by the gallon (don’t do that) we asked accredited practicing dietitian Chloe McLeod if it’s safe, first of all, and what to look out for before adding another supplement to our ever-growing wellness rosters.
“Chlorophyll is a big trend at the moment mainly due to its perceived health benefits,” says McLeod, “and there are claims that it detoxes the body, has anti-inflammatory properties, boosts metabolism, improves energy levels and so on – however, much of this is subjective, and there is limited evidence of its use as a weight loss aid.”
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McLeod also says that there’s not much research to suggest how much is safe to consume, “even though it is thought that supplements are quite safe. Good quality research is limited, though, and it’s important to check ingredients lists (of bars, juices and so on) to ensure there aren’t other additives in there you might want to avoid.
“If you’re taking chlorophyll in powdered form, my recommendation would be to add it to a smoothie, rich with other nutrients. If you want to get your dose of chlorophyll naturally, opt for a fresh vegetable-based juice,” says McLeod.
“Otherwise, be even more careful in the sun, as these supplements might make your skin more sensitive. This is particularly relevant for people taking supplements or medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight, such as Roacutane or Vitamin A, some antidepressants, antibiotics or blood pressure medication,” says McLeod.
If supplements aren’t for you – and you prefer your smoothies sweet – a good place to start are foods such as spinach, broccoli, sprouts, chard and celery, all of which are particularly rich in chlorophyll.
“Make sure you’re eating plenty of these! Chlorophyll should be used as a supplement rather than as a replacement for not eating enough veggies, and eating raw or lightly steamed veggies may preserve more chlorophyll than other preparation methods.”
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McLeod also says that too much chlorophyll can sometimes lead to nausea, allergic reactions and digestive issues, so if you experience any of these symptoms it’s best to consult your health care practitioner, and adapt your diet accordingly.
As for eating a diet packed with natural foods and nutrient-rich ingredients? Well, we all know where the jury stands on that one.