Greens and Superfoods

The Truth About Greens and Superfoods Powders

The consumption of fruits and vegetables is critical to our overall health, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control, fewer than 10% of American adults eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. How much is that? Around six cups, or 800 grams. While eating whole fruits and vegetables as close to their natural form as possible is the best way to take full advantage of their nutritional profiles, many of us just aren’t inclined to do so in the quantities necessary, be it because we don’t like fruits and vegetables or because we travel a lot and don’t have access to them. While research on the benefit of greens and superfood powders over their whole-food counterparts is limited, the obvious benefit comes from actually consuming them. So, if you’re more likely to mix a powder into a smoothie or slam it stirred into a quick glass of water than you are to sit down and eat a salad, the supplement is likely the way to go. And because greens and superfood powders are mixed with water or other beverages, the antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins and minerals they contain are more easily absorbed than capsules or tablets. They can provide a boost in energy, balance your mood, support weight loss and immunity, detoxify, and provide anti-aging benefits.

Can Greens and Superfood Powders Replace the Need for Fruits and Vegetables?

Greens and superfoods powders are designed to help us bridge the gaps in our diets and should not be used in place of whole fruits and vegetables. And while the powders are potent sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and some do contain added sources of natural fiber, the fiber found in whole fruits and vegetables is necessary for our overall health. Greens and superfoods powders are best use as a supplement to a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.

What “Greens” are in Greens Powders?

Greens powders typically contain a blend of powders made from nutrient-rich, dehydrated plants and vegetables, such as wheatgrass, barley grass, alfalfa grass, broccoli, spinach, kale, parsley, and often, nutrient-dense seaweed or algae, like spirulina or chlorella.

What “Superfoods” are in Superfoods Powders?

Superfoods powders typically contain a blend of powders made from antioxidant-rich, dehydrated fruits and berries, such as beets, blueberries, tart and acerola cherries, acai, black currant, pomegranate and grape seed. They may also contain herbs and spices with proven health benefits, such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, chili powder, peppermint, echinacea, oregano or cardamom.

Why are Greens and Superfoods Good for You?

Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, which are phytonutrients responsible for their vivid colors and distinctive aromas. More specifically, carotenoids give turmeric, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot and mango their yellow color, while anthocyanins give beets, acai, blackberries, blueberries and tart cherries their red, purple and bluish colors. They are anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic and are rich in micro-nutrients. These molecules defend plants against pathogens, and they can do the same for you.

Can Greens or Superfoods Powders Help with Bloating?

Many greens and superfoods products contain gut-healthy ingredients such as probiotics or plant-based digestive enzymes, which may help with bloating. However, it is important to choose a product that does not contain artificial flavors, sweeteners or gums, because they may actually increase bloating. In general, it is best to select powders with little to no added sugars and no artificial sweeteners, with the exception of natural varieties like stevia and monk fruit.

How Do I Use Greens and Superfoods Powders?

Because many greens powders can taste a bit grassy, the easiest and least offensive way to consume them is in a smoothie, blended with berries or bananas, nut butters, juice or almond milk, or vegan or whey protein powder. Many superfood powders that contain more fruit tend to already be more fruit-flavored and palatable. However, if you don’t mind the taste of the powder along, and like the idea of consuming it without extra calories, you can stir it directly into a glass of water, juice or nut milk. Or, for those who are adventurous in the kitchen, the powders can be added to recipes for energy balls, chia pudding, overnight oats or muffins, or even hidden away in sweet treats like cookies and brownies.

What is the Recommended Dosage of Greens and Superfoods Powders

While there is no set Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for greens and superfoods powders, there are established DRIs for most of the vitamins and minerals they contain. When choosing a greens or superfood powder, carefully read the nutrition label and assess how the vitamins and minerals in the supplement fit into your diet, and with any other vitamins or supplements you might be taking. Once you decide to add a greens or superfoods powder to your daily routine, it is generally best to follow dosage instructions established by the brand, as each product contains different ingredients in different quantities. And if you have questions, consult your healthcare provider.