The raw vegan Hippocrates diet, which is very high in chlorophyll, is centered on wheatgrass, sprouts and edible algaes. Ann Wigmore, founder of the non-profit Hippocrates Health Institute, is the author of "The Hippocrates Diet and Health Program." Proponents say the diet can help you achieve and maintain good health, depending on your determination to make lifestyle changes.
Raw Vegan Foods
The Hippocrates diet uses only plant-based uncooked foods. Heat destroys enzymes found in living foods that Wigmore asserts are necessary for good health. Vegetables should be fresh, raw and organic, and fruits should be ripe when harvested. Raw vegan diets are said to improve energy and strengthen the immune system. Columbia University researchers evaluated changes in quality of life and immune markers of 51 subjects attending the Hippocrates Health Institute. The most common disease diagnosis among participants was cancer. Assessments revealed a 18.6 percent decrease in anxiety and a 16.4 percent decrease in stress levels. Immune markers did not change significantly with the exception of decreased CD4, CD8 and natural killer cells, components that play a role in inflammation. The study was published in the June 2008 "Complementary Therapies in Medicine."
To heal her own stage 4 bowel cancer, Wigmore consumed the chlorophyll-rich juice of grasses. The best tasting variety, hard red winter wheat, was chosen as the basis for the nutritional program at Hippocrates Health Institute. Meals at the facility include three 2 oz. glasses of wheatgrass juice daily. Mayo Clinic reports that wheatgrass provides a concentrated amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C and E, but warns there have been few scientific studies evaluating its purported anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and infection-fighting properties.
Importance of Sprouting
When following the Hippocrates diet, prepare raw nuts, seeds and grains by soaking them overnight. This step is suggested to improve digestibility; soaking eliminates enzyme-inhibiting substances that, in nature, prevent sprouting until growing conditions are favorable. After soaking, seeds that are rinsed twice daily will change into nutritious sprouts. On the Hippocrates diet, emphasis is placed on eating large portions of sprouted plants as a source of concentrated nutrients. For example, broccoli sprouts are known to contain more sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting chemical, than mature vegetables. According to a January 2011 EurekaAlert, broccoli sprouts are also a rich source of myrosinase, an enzyme that must be present in order for sulforaphane to be effective. The University of Illinois researchers found that overcooking destroys myrosinase.
Algae and Sea Vegetables
Hippocrates Health Institute recommends the daily consumption of high protein, chlorophyll-rich algaes, such as spirulina and chlorella. Wigmore wrote that seaweeds, such as arame, dulse, wakame, nori, kombu and kelp provide minerals that aid detoxification and stimulate kidney function. Soak up to 2 tbsp. daily to reduce the sodium content of these sea vegetables.
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- "The Hippocrates Diet and Health Program"; Ann Wigmore; 1983
- PubMed.gov: Change in Quality of Life and Immune Markers After a Stay at a Raw Vegan Institute: a Pilot Study
- Mayo Clinic: What is Wheatgrass — And Why is it in My Drink?
Mary Earhart is a registered nurse, a public health nurse and licensed midwife. Her articles have appeared in professional journals and online ezines. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from California State University at Dominguez Hills. She works in a family practice clinic, has a home birth practice and her specialty is perinatal substance abuse.