Most people don’t have enough vegetables in their diet that’s why some of them resort to taking greens powders. Greens powders are dietary supplements that are created to help you achieve your daily recommended vegetable intake.
Knowing Greens Powders
Greens powders are dietary supplements. You can mix these into the water and other forms of liquid. Most of the best greens powders typically contain a green hue and might taste a little bit grassy. Moreover, natural sugar substitutes might be added to this product to improve the flavor. (1)
Greens powders have many different ingredients. This may vary by brand. However, most of the ingredients commonly include the following:
- Leafy greens: kale, parsley, spinach, collards
- Seaweed: chlorella, spirulina, kelp, dulse
- Other vegetables: beets, broccoli, green cabbage, carrots, tomatoes
- Grasses: wheatgrass, alfalfa grass, barley grass, oat grass
- High-antioxidant fruits: goji and acai berries, blueberries, raspberries
- Nutritional extracts: grape seed extract, ginkgo Biloba extract, green tea extract
- Probiotics: L. acidophilus, Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis
- Plant-based digestive enzymes: protease, cellulose, papain, amylase, papain
- Herbs: milk thistle, holy basil, Echinacea, astragalus
- Natural sugar substitutes: monk fruit extract, stevia leaf extract
- Mushrooms: shiitake mushroom extract, maitake mushroom extract
- Extra fiber: apple fiber, inulin, rice bran
The produce that forms part of greens powders is typically dried and then turned into powder. On the other hand, some ingredients can be juiced, dehydrated, or some components may be extracted from whole food. (2)
Other manufacturers also prefer to ferment or sprout ingredients. This increases the vitamin levels of your greens powders and can even help break down compounds that can hinder mineral absorption.
Greens powders formulation tends to be vegan. They are mostly organic or non-genetically modified. However, it is best to check the label to ensure these details.
Greens Powder vs. Vitamins
It is best to get the micronutrients your body needs from whole foods rather than from isolated or synthetic vitamins. Unless you have an underlying issue or your doctor prescribes you to do so.
Firstly, the nutrients that are found in whole food sources tend to work in synergy. For example, bioflavonoids and vitamin C in fruits or the vitamin D and A found in egg yolks, butter, and cod liver oil typically work together in order to provide better absorption.
Second, the micronutrients found in whole founds are more bioavailable compared to the synthetic forms. Lastly, there are vital phytochemicals and nutrients in plants that we haven’t had the opportunity to discover yet.
With this, since greens powders can provide you the vitamins we usually get from nutrient-dense whole food sources, it is one of the best ways to ensure you can get the right amount of antioxidants and micronutrients.
Most vitamins, especially the B vitamins, are considered stimulants. Several people find B vitamins to be very stimulating that it even causes anxiety and heart palpitations. In contrast, vitamins from whole food sources are less likely to cause any of these problems.
Greens Powders Nutritional Value
Since the ingredients of green powders differ by brand, this also means that these products’ nutritional value also varies from one product to another. On average, a scoop (two tablespoons or 10 grams) of greens powder tend to contain the following: (2)
- 40 calories;
- 0.5 grams of fat;
- 7 grams of total carbs;
- 2 grams of dietary fiber;
- 1 gram of sugars;
- 2 grams of protein;
- 2% reference daily intake (RDI) of sodium;
- 80% RDI of vitamin A;
- 80% RDI of vitamin C;
- 60% RDI of vitamin K;
- 5% RDI of calcium;
- 20% RDI of iron;
- 100% RDI of iodine;
- 70% RDI of selenium;
- 60% RDI of chromium;
- 5% RDI of potassium.
Greens powders typically are low in calories. However, if you mix them with something other than water, calories might be added. Also, unlike multivitamins and other mineral supplements, greens powders don’t usually list all the vitamins and minerals they contain.
Should You Consider Taking Greens Powders?
The plant compound and nutrients found in greens powders are great for supporting your overall wellness. It works really well when combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet. For example, greens powders are typically loaded with vitamin C and A, which can help support your immune function. Not only that, but the probiotics in greens powders may help support digestive health and immune function.
Below are some of the benefits of taking greens powders:
Might Help Prevent Chronic Disease
Plant compounds in greens powders with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions can help in reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases. Study shows that taking one scoop of greens powder a day can lower the blood levels of oxidatively damaged protein. It lowered it down by 30%.
Preventing damage to your blood proteins is vital. This is because they perform functions that help protect you from cancer and other chronic diseases.
Might Boost Your Energy
Some greens powder advertise to improve your energy. However, these products typically have low-calorie content. Does this mean they can only supply little energy?
The answer is, it depends. Some of these products contain compounds that can help you feel more energetic and alert. This includes green tea extract, which naturally has plant compounds and caffeine that help support the burning of calories.
How To Use Greens Powder
If you want to get the best results, it will help if you follow the instructions labeled on the greens powder canister you bought. People would often mix the greens powder into water, milk, juice, smoothies, or even milk substitutes.
For safety, it is best to refrigerate your rehydrated greens powders if you choose not to drink them right away. If you don’t want to drink your greens powders, you can do the following:
- Sprinkle them over your roasted vegetables;
- Add them to your omelet or scrambled eggs;
- Stir them into your vegetable dip;
- Mix them to your homemade salad dressing;
- Add them to your homemade soup.
Harmful Ingredients You Should Look Out For In Greens Powders
There are different kinds of greens powders in the market. As mentioned, these products are not created equal. Furthermore, there are some vital things you should watch out for when it comes to choosing a greens powder:
Gums, Artificial Colors, and Hidden Sweeteners
Vegetables are generally good for you. Unfortunately, it is quite challenging for some to make vegetables taste good. To make greens powders taste palatable, most manufacturers use some potentially harmful ingredients, like:
- Artificial sweeteners;
- Artificial colors;
- GMO or non-organic ingredients.
Greens powders are technologically challenging to make because many phytochemicals and vitamins are very sensitive to light, heat, and some forms of chemical processing. In fact, the vegetable found in greens powders is usually freeze-dried gently into water-soluble powders to preserve the nutrients.
Not only that, but to take advantage of single-celled algae, the manufacturer of a greens powder may need to crack the cell walls of these algae in order to make the nutrients found inside the cells available. Thus, it is vital to make sure that you buy your greens powder from a reputable manufacturer that deeply knows the biology of the superfoods they mix in with their product and can confirm the presence of the intact nutrients in their final products.
Greens Powders Are Not A Substitute
Eating different kinds of whole vegetables and other produce is great in achieving a nutritional balance. Whole vegetables are high in water and can give you the pleasure of chewing, which greens powders cannot offer. Both of these aspects may help prevent overeating and can even promote fullness.
It is essential to note that greens powders are mostly low in fiber. They tend to provide you with only 1-2 grams of fiber per serving. However, some products add extra fiber to the ingredients.
Greens powders are also high in vitamin K. It will help if you keep in mind that this vitamin typically interacts with specific medications, including blood thinners. Hence, greens powders might interfere with your treatment.
Several greens powders also warn that pregnant, breastfeeding, women, children, and other people taking medications should not use these products. They tend to contain concentrated extracts and herbs that might pose potential risks to the consumer. Thus, it’s best to talk to your doctor before deciding to take any form of supplement, including greens powders.
To Wrap It Up
Greens powders are supplements that contain greens, probiotics, vegetables, digestive enzymes, and so much more. However, these formulations tend to vary by brand. They might help in improving your overall wellness, support your immune function, and prevent you from developing any chronic diseases.
With all of these benefits, it is essential to know that some greens powders may contain ingredients that are considered harmful to your health. That is why it is best to consult your doctor before you decide to include greens powders in your diet. Moreover, always remember that greens powders are not a substitute for eating fresh greens, whole vegetables, and any other healthy foods.
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1. English, N. (2021). The 8 Best Greens Powders (2021 Updated). BarBend. https://barbend.com/best-greens-powders/.
2. McCulloch, M. (2018). Super Greens: Are Greens Powders Healthy? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/super-greens.