Your mother was right when she told you to “Eat Your Greens”.
Plants have the ability to produce energy from sunlight…
Photosynthesis is truly an evolutionary wonder—it marked a whole new chapter in the development of life forms on the planet, and thus is rightfully praised as an awe-inspiring adaptation.
This nifty ability is made possible by chlorophyll, the pigment that gives green plants their distinguishing color. Chlorophyll is able to harvest light by forming vast photosensitive networks of molecules that capture, transfer, and process light.
Scientists decoded the incredible inner workings of chlorophyll in the early 20th century, but it’s taken them until now to discover something equally exciting: mammals (and human beings, by extension) can take advantage of this photosynthetic ability too.
Over the course of a series of experiments, researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center determined that the more greens (and thus chlorophyll) you eat, the more energy your body will produce! 
So eating plants makes us more like plants?
More or less, yes. Here’s how it works…
Researchers have discovered that chlorophyll metabolites remain in the tissues of mammals who consume green plants, and that these metabolites retain the ability to absorb light!
And it turns out that the tissues of mammals with more chlorophyll metabolites have more ATP (energy transfer) in their mitochondria after being exposed to light. This means that the chlorophyll is still doing its job even after being sequestered in animal tissue—upon light exposure, it gathers fuel that mitochondria can use to create more energy, just like in plants.
The same study even found that mammals with higher levels of chlorophyll metabolites and with sufficient sunlight exposure have a longer median life span.
These findings have profound implications for nutrition, medicine, and an overall understanding of human health.
They’re aligned with the knowledge that compromised ATP production leads to accelerated aging, cell dysfunction, and disease. They also provide a possible explanation for anecdotal reports that taking chlorophyll (or eating lots of chlorophyll-rich plants) can lead to greater energy and vitality. Most people attribute these effects to chlorophyll’s “blood-oxygenating” benefits, but there’s no concrete scientific evidence that chlorophyll increases the blood’s oxygen-carrying potential.
And by providing concrete data, the study opens up the discussion around more questions of human energy production (bioenergetics)—such as the theory that melanin, the pigment in our skin, is equipped with its own ability to convert sunlight into usable energy.
Perhaps most importantly, the study offers profound scientific confirmation of what common sense (and probably your mother) has told you all along: that eating plenty of greens and spending time out in the sun will help you live a long, happy, healthy life.
Even more reasons to eat your greens
In case this groundbreaking information isn’t enough to convince you that eating a chlorophyll-rich diet is of primary importance, here’s a few more reasons that you should pile on the greens as often as possible…
Kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens boost the immune system, stabilize metabolism, and flood the body with detoxifying antioxidants. They’re also packed with prebiotics, the ideal food for the beneficial bacteria that make up your microbiome.
The chlorophyll that these veggies contain also alleviates anemia (another possible reason why this compound seems to combat fatigue so well), helps the body detox heavy metals, speeds up the healing of wounds, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and even controls hunger and cravings.
And the more studies scientists conduct, the more benefits they find.
The takeaway here is simple: eat your greens everyday! Get creative with your veggie intake: make juices and smoothies, try some creative salads, and use dark greens as cooking ingredients. And don’t forget to catch some sun whenever you can, so that your body is able to transform all that chlorophyll into vital energy.