Life on earth would be impossible without plants. Plants are sometimes called the ‘lungs’ of the earth because they provide the oxygen that we need to breathe to stay alive. Furthermore, they use the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, coupled with the chlorophyll that they possess, and the suns energy, to provide us with both food and beautiful greenery.
Therefore, humans, as well as animals couldn’t survive on planet earth without green plants – they provide oxygen without which we couldn’t survive and they provide nourishment, without which we suffer from ill health.
There are more than 300 000 different types of plants on earth, although the number keeps climbing as we discover new species.
What makes plants green?
The reason green plants are green is because they contain a special chemical, called chlorophyll. This compound is called a phytochemical, with ‘phyto’ meaning plant.
In Greek, chloro means green, while phyllon means leaf, so it’s simple to see how the word chlorophyll originated.
The chlorophyll in the leaves of plants absorbs sunlight, converting it into carbohydrates from both the available carbon dioxide and water. It also produces oxygen in this process. The carbohydrate that the plant produces is the food that the plant needs to grow. It is also the food that we eat when we eat green plants.
Chlorophyll, the compound that makes some vegetables green, is a delicate compound, and easily damaged by heat. The greener the vegetable, the more chlorophyll it contains. However, when you cook green vegetables until they turn that grayish – green color, they lose their enzymes and water-soluble vitamins, reducing their potent benefits. Chlorophyll also cleanses your body and helps it to detoxify, absorbing and removing heavy metals from your digestive system. But only when it is active, in the raw state.
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