Captain Chlorophyll

It comes up all the time. In cafes, at dinner parties, just chatting with folks on the bus in the morning: “When you play “superhero,” what’s your special power?” Sometimes I say underwater breathing, other times it’s a sophisticated sense of syntax. Lately, my answer is photosynthesis.

So maybe I am the guy wearing green leafy tights and working hard to harvest sunlight to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms and make sugars. What’s Wolverine got? Blades that come out of his hands? I can exhale really clean oxygen on my enemies so they can breathe deeply and chill away their anger issues. Now that’s power.

Photosynthesis is pretty tiring. There is no other process in living things that creates as much oxidative stress as photosynthesis does in plants. That’ why I’m chock full of antioxidant molecules to keep the intense reactions from damaging my essential DNA and proteins. And here’s a big secret about my powers: because of what I do, my main enemy-well it’s kind of a love-hate thing – is the sun. Yes, the same thing that gives me power could also destroy me unless I develop some method to protect myself from its rays. Say hello to antioxidants.

Green Chlorophyll is an antioxidant, as are vitamins C and E. And there are many pigments in plants that help protect superheroes and mortal humans as well. The color of a fruit or veggie signals its antioxidant power. The best way to keep our mortal coils healthy is to eat a broad spectrum of colors to reap the benefits of those protective mechanisms created by plants.

While plants and plant-like superheroes can use antioxidants to protect themselves from the damages of photosynthesizing, humans have a harder time protecting themselves from the sun. What’s a superhero to do but eat by the colors and wear sunscreen.

Local & Regional: We buy from regional farms whenever seasonably possible. To see what’s in your box this week, go to and click on In The Mix. Then find your region for descriptions and pictures of your local and regional fruit mix.

Enjoy and be fruitful! – Chris Mittelstaedt

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