Chlorophyll has long been a favorite among health fanatics because of its concentrated antioxidant power and detoxifying properties. But its earthy (and many might say unpleasant) taste has prevented it from going mainstream. This may change as more and more brands launch chlorophyll-based products.
So what exactly is chlorophyll?
You probably learned about it in high school science class, but here’s a refresher. “Chlorophyll is the compound found in green veggies and it’s responsible for absorbing light from the sun to help plants grow and thrive,” explains nutrition and health expert Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN. “When we eat green plants, it’s responsible for cleansing, alkalinizing and supporting our tissues and organs thanks to its vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.”
What’s interesting about this bubbling trend is that unlike other trendy superfoods like matcha and kale, it started to go mainstream topically, whereas most healthy ingredients get popular at juice spots before finding their way to Sephora. Cocokind’s Organic Chlorophyll Mask and Perricone MD Chlorophyll Detox Mask are just two of the standout products to consider. Their popularity is due to the fact that chlorophyll is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and can heal wounds (like acne). And it’s equally as powerful when you drink it.
While Minchen highlights that you can consume chlorophyll by loading your plate with green veggies and algae — like spirulina and chlorella — you can get a quick, concentrated burst by consuming it in liquid form. The catch? While it’s tasteless in your veggies, it’s certainly not tasteless when you drink it.
The health benefits might make you forget about the flavor profile, however. “Because of its vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it’s cleansing, restorative, blood-building and helpful for keeping our tissues and organs functioning in their optimal alkaline/acid balance,” says Minchen. And since chlorophyll makes it into green juice via vegetables, you’ll get many of the healthy cleansing benefits of your green juice for a fraction of the price.
While it’s easy to make your own by adding a few drops to your water bottle, a growing number of brands like Verday and Chlorophyll Water offer their own versions. They come at a price, but they’re convenient and taste better than DIY versions. It’s important to note that not all chlorophyll water provides the same concentration.
“When you use the liquid chlorophyll, you can control the concentration to your liking,” says Minchen. “Personally, I love ChlorOxygen. I drink it daily and it’s alcohol- and preservative-free as well as a higher concentration. I’ve found it helpful for supporting my own immune and digestive functions and for boosting red blood cells and energy since I’m very active.”
If the flavor isn’t your cup of tea, try adding it into juice or a smoothie because while it does have many of the same benefits of green juice, chlorophyll doesn’t have all of them. “Green juice may provide a greater concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as veggies contain more than just chlorophyll,” explains Minchen, who also notes it’s generally recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women not drink chlorophyll until there’s more research to determine its benefits and risks.
“However, ChlorOxygen promotes the blood-building benefits of its chlorophyll for pregnant women to fight anemia and poor red blood cell function so even though more information is needed, considering it’s a part of green vegetables, a moderate amount may be presumed safe.” Just make sure you check with your doctor first.
Ready to give the green stuff a go?
“I generally recommend at least a few days per week and up to one to two daily servings for benefits,” says Minchen. “Many of my patients with digestive conditions drink it daily and have seen their digestive symptoms, like constipation, diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain, decrease with use.”