Green powders are promoted as the latest trend in health to cure everything from cancer to diabetes to allergies. Advocates of green powders claim that you can get as much nutrition from the powder as you can from whole vegetables, but is this true? Or are super green powders a waste of money?
Super Greens powders are not a waste of money because it offers a super simple way to get you’re daily greens, which is normally lacking in most people’s diet. Most provide enough nutrition to help improve your energy, immunity, health, and more if your diet is not rich in fruits & vegetables.
A balanced diet should reduce the need for supplemental nutrition, but if you think you need super greens powders, read on to learn how to use them properly.
Are Superfoods Really That Super?
Back in the 1980s, food categories included the four food groups, and people knew what was healthy and what was not healthy. Plant foods, meats, dairy, and eggs were considered foods that promote health. Nutritionists recommended eating from each group and eating a rainbow of colors from the plant group, which provides all the nutrients from each plant.
So, in a sense, plant foods were superfoods, but back in those days, they were known as “food.” Today, however, the term “superfoods” is used to describe different nutrient-dense foods. The “superfoods” term is mostly used to sell products that might not have more nutrition than a multivitamin, but that has more nutrition than whole foods.
Kale and spinach are healthy, but they aren’t healthier than collard greens, swiss chard, or broccoli rabe. Quinoa is healthy, but so are millet, amaranth, and oats. Acai and goji berries are healthy, but not more so than blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Super greens powders contain kale, spinach, chlorella, and spirulina, which have several vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy immune system. Still, you can get the same nutrition from a salad made with leafy greens and berries. If, however, you don’t have time to eat a salad or full meal, super green powders might be an acceptable option.
What Are Super Green Powders?
Super Green powders are dehydrated and pulverized leafy greens like spinach and kale. It also contains algae like spirulina and chlorella, known for their high protein content and B vitamins like B12, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and copper. Other ingredients in most Super Greens powders include:
- Collard greens, parsley, spinach, and kale
- Kelp, dulse, spirulina, and chlorella
- Green cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, and carrots
- Grasses, like alfalfa and barley grass
- Berries, including acai and goji berries
- Digestive enzymes from plants, like bromelain and protease
- Herbs, mushrooms, and fiber
- Plant-based sweeteners like Stevia and monk fruit for taste
Super Green powders are meant to be used as a supplement to your diet in much the same way you use a multi-vitamin, and it boosts your daily nutrition in a way that cannot be done with whole foods.
While whole foods give you a good deal of nutrition, they don’t always have all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Some benefits to drinking super greens powder include: boosted immune system and improved their energy. When you take in more vitamins and minerals, you have more energy, focus, and resistance to disease and illness.
What Are You Getting in Your Super Greens Powders?
Ideally, you are getting only the above ingredients in your super green powders with no fillers or contaminants. However, since this isn’t a perfect world, fillers and contaminants end up in products meant for human consumption.
For example, leafy greens contaminated with E.Coli have been recalled and the growing area sterilized, but more often than not, leafy greens usually have mercury, pesticides, lead, and arsenic.
When these greens are dehydrated, the contaminants end up going into the green powder. Consumer labs tested several popular green powders for contaminants. They found that one tested heavily for lead, while another product that was supposed to be gluten-free was found to have just under the legal limit of gluten.
Because these are from several greens, vegetables, and berries, there is more risk of contaminants from these foods, especially if they are mass harvested and produced.
Many brands will often put fillers in their greens, such as tapioca maltodextrin, sunflower oil powder, and guar gum. While guar gum isn’t bad, per se, it might not be necessary as an ingredient in the powder. However, it is a stabilizer and can create a smooth drink. It also acts like a fiber in that it can help you feel full.
Nutritional Content of Super Greens Powders
Super Green powders are a good source of vitamins A and C, as it contains up to 80% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of both and 100% of the RDI of Iodine. However, it only contains about 5% of the RDI of calcium and potassium and 20% of the RDI of iron.
While most powders don’t list all of their nutritional values, they have several other vitamins and minerals from the many greens, berries, fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms.
Probiotics and fiber round out the nutritional profile of super greens powders. If you were to buy all those ingredients separately, you would spend well over $200, as some of those items are rare and not available in all areas.
Health Benefits of Super Greens Powders
Now that you know a little more about super green powders, you might be wondering about their health benefits. Why should you take them as opposed to eating whole vegetables and leafy greens? More importantly, why should you spend the money on something you can get cheaper in your supermarket’s produce department?
- The short answer: You don’t have to because you can technically get all the nutrition you need from whole plant foods and lean meats.
- The long answer: When you take in additional nutrients through supplemental products, you benefit from an increased immunity, reduced disease risk, and improved cognitive health. You can also experience more energy when taking green powders in addition to your normal diet.
You can find the rest of the long answer below.
- Immune support: A healthy immune system depends on how much inflammation you have. Vitamin A and selenium, which are found in abundance in the greens, help lower inflammation to boost your immunity to illness and disease. B vitamins also support your immune system by supporting your cells and red blood cell growth.
- Blood pressure management: According to WebMD, calcium and potassium were shown to be two minerals that help manage blood pressure. When the patients took the minerals in the green powder, both systolic and diastolic numbers showed a dramatic decrease. Green powders also help reduce inflammation, as previously mentioned, which can also manage high blood pressure.
- Reduce disease risk: Diseases come from oxidation in the cells caused by free radicals in the air and the foods you eat. Vitamins C and K are two of the many vitamins that provide antioxidants to heal the oxidized cells. When people take super greens powders daily, they can reduce their risk of disease by 30%. Acai and goji berries found in green powders provide even more antioxidants to support your immunity.
- Improve cognitive health: Leafy greens provide a significant amount of vitamin K, which supports brain function by strengthening the blood vessels in your head and around your eyes. B vitamins, found in the chlorella and spirulina, are necessary for proper brain growth, development, and maintenance. They also help you keep focus when doing heavy brain work.
Can You Get the Same Benefits With Whole Plant Foods?
Whole plant foods can give you the same benefits as super greens powders, but it would take up to 10 times more plants to equal one serving of the powder. However, the issue with powder versus plant foods is that you are getting more natural plant fiber from the whole vegetables and greens. Super Greens powders do have fiber, but it is not the same as whole foods.
As far as powders’ nutritional content versus whole plants is dehydrated, they still have the same nutrition, but the water content is gone, giving the powder more concentrated nutrition.
So, technically, you can get the same benefits of whole plant foods with powders. It fails to measure up because when you have whole vegetables and greens with your meals, you get full faster and won’t need other food to satisfy you. Also, the added chewing action can keep you from snacking as much.
If you don’t have the extra money for super greens powders in addition to your food budget, then there is no need to shell out extra money for them, as you will get the same nutrition from green leafy vegetables and other plant foods.
Possible Risks of Green Powders
While super greens powders provide several benefits for your health, they can also pose some risks that might not be worth the trouble of taking them.
Super Greens powders might contain contaminants, as mentioned earlier, or they might interact with medications you are taking. If you’re a new mom, they could pose additional risks for you and your new baby if you’re breastfeeding.
Before buying a particular brand of super greens powder, do some research about the brand to see if it tests clean of contaminants or not. Consumer Lab is one of the major research facilities that test products for contaminants or the presence of gluten when a product is labeled as “gluten-free.”
As mentioned earlier, some super greens powders tested showed an unacceptable level of contaminants, like mercury, lead, and arsenic. Those could either be from processing or during the growing phase of the ingredients. High levels of these contaminants can lead to organ failure or low energy levels.
If you take enough of the super greens powders with these toxins in there, you could unknowingly have the opposite response that you wanted and could potentially die from them eventually.
Antibiotics, weight loss drugs, and anticoagulants have serious interactions with vitamin K, a major nutrient in the super green powders. People on blood thinners should also watch their super green powders consumption, as vitamin K is also a blood thinner, and they could have a serious condition.
Other medications might interact with vitamin C or other acidic ingredients. The acid from vitamin C can interfere with the absorption of some medications, including some antibiotics. Talk with your doctor before taking super greens powders to make sure you won’t do any damage.
Some people are rather sensitive to certain ingredients found in the super greens powders and might want to avoid them. Green tea extract or wheatgrass are two common allergens that people have reactions to, including headaches or nausea. The mushroom blend could create issues for people who are allergic to mushrooms, while the fiber blend might cause some issues.
If you know what you have allergies to, you might want to avoid taking super green powders altogether.
Some super greens powders might also contain gluten, so those sensitive to gluten might have some gastrointestinal distress or other issues associated with gluten allergies. Even if the canister states that it is “gluten-free,” it still might have some gluten particles if processed in a facility that processes gluten products.
Are Super Green Powders Safe for New Moms?
While it is not exactly known how safe green powders are for new moms, with the potential contaminants, it might be better to avoid them if you are breastfeeding your baby. Added herbal and super greens supplements might create problems with your prenatal vitamins and cause you to overdose on certain nutrients.
However, if you don’t have a very healthy diet, to begin with, you might want to consider adding one serving of super greens powders per day. Regardless, it’s best to talk with your doctor first before using them.
Why Would You Take Super Greens Powders?
When combined with a healthy, balanced diet, super greens powders can support well-being and a more active lifestyle. Even if you don’t have a balanced diet, super greens powders can enhance your health and help keep your immune system healthy to fight illnesses and infections.
If you have digestive issues, probiotics and digestive enzymes can heal your gut so that you can feel better and be more regular.
When you don’t have proper nutrition, you are more at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Green powders provide enzymes that protect your red blood cells, which keeps your immunity against diseases strong.
How to Make a Homemade Super Greens Powders
Do you need to spend money on the powders if you don’t have the money? If you have a green thumb and are able to grow vegetables and fruits, you can make super greens powders from home, especially if you have a dehydrator.
The process includes the following:
- Once you’ve grown your produce, harvest, wash, and prepare them for the dehydrator.
- If you add broccoli and apples to your mix, slice them thinly, so they dehydrate better.
- Place the greens, vegetables, berries, and fruit in the dehydrator and use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When dried, let cool before completing further steps.
- Place all ingredients, one set of ingredients at a time, in a food processor and process until they reach a powdered state.
- Mix everything and pour into a tight-sealing container and store in a cool, dry place.
To use your homemade super greens powder:
- Get a plastic scoop from an old protein shake mix container.
- Use one or two scoops per serving, depending on the scoop’s size.
- Mix as you would with commercially prepared super greens powders, such as with juice or in a smoothie.
Whole Vegetables vs. Super Greens Powders: Which One Should You Choose?
Should you spend the extra money on super greens powders or stick to whole vegetables and fruits? To be clear, you can get all the nutrition you need from whole fruits and vegetables without extra supplementation. A good multivitamin can take care of the rest of the nutrition that is lacking from your diet.
However, when you’re in a hurry and cannot sit down to a proper meal, super greens powders can give you extra nutrition in a pinch and might help you feel full until the next meal, keeping you away from the office snacks.
Also, if you had to buy all of the produce that gets stuffed into the super greens powders, you would have to spend much more than what a canister of super greens powders would cost.
However, since you don’t usually eat all of your daily nutrition in one meal, you wouldn’t need to buy all the vegetables at once.
Are super greens powders a waste of money? Or are they cost-effective for extra nutrition? Depending on your health needs, super greens powders could be worth the money compared to the whole vegetables you need to buy to match the nutrition content.
On the other hand, if you are relatively healthy and don’t need more nutrition than what you are getting from your diet and multivitamin, then super greens powders could be a waste of money. Your situation determines what nutrition you need for the health concerns you have. Consult your doctor if you have questions specific to your health concerns.
Our Top Recommended Super Greens Shakes
|Supergreen Tonik is one of the most powerful supergreens shake on the market. Unlike other Super Green Powders and shakes in general, SuperGreen Tonik does not hide behind Proprietary Blends so that you don't know how much of each ingredient you're really getting, if any at all. Instead, SuperGreen Tonik tells exactly what you’re getting of every ingredient.
The SuperGreen Tonik comes in two enjoyable flavors: mint and berry. Supergreen Tonik has helped me and others with:
With a 1 YEAR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE, It's hard to argue against trying out Supergreen Tonik for yourself.
PLUS, SAVE 10% with Coupon Code: ESR10
MacroLife Macro Greens
|While Supergreen Tonik will always remain #1 to me, MacroLife Macro Greens comes in second. Similar to Supergreen Tonik, it contains 38 super food ingredients. The benefits of Macro Greens include:
If you're not interested in Supergreen Tonik, then check out Macro Greens below.
|Shakeology is #3 on our Super Greens list because it doesn't only have super greens ingredients. Instead, it's a nutrient dense shake that includes several more ingredients than you may actually be looking for. This includes:
Shakeology is perfect for weight loss, increased energy, digestive health, reduced cravings, and overall better health.
Plus, Shakeology has stood the test of time as it has been around since 2009 without compromising its whole food ingredients. Instead, Shakeology has improved their flavors in taste and potency, and has even added vegan and gluten free options. If you're only looking for a super greens shake, stick with Supergreen Tonik. However, if you're looking for a more complete supplement, check out Shakeology instead.
- Healthline: Vitamin B Complex: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, Foods, and More
- Consumer Lab: Contamination Still an Issue in Some Greens and Whole Food Products, Tests Reveal
- Organic Authority: This Is How to Choose the Healthiest Greens Powder
- Eleat Sports Nutrition: Are Green Powders a Waste of Money?
- Healthline: Super Greens: Are Greens Powders Healthy?
- Healthline: What’s the Difference Between Chlorella and Spirulina?
- WebMD: Greens Powder: Are There Health Benefits?
- GQ: How to Pick a Green Superfood Powder (If You Absolutely Must)