One of the fastest-growing supplement categories that everyone has been raving about as of late is greens supplements, or you may also know it as super greens powder. These supplements claim to have a few servings (sometimes a day's worth) of veggies and fruits and promise a convenient way to fill a nutritional gap. Considering most people don't eat enough veggies, this sounds pretty great... maybe even too good to be true!
Super greens supplements sound like a magical way to increase your vegetable intake without actually having to actually eat any, but before you get too excited, there are some misconceptions surrounding them. Just like with all supplements, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch. So, before you hit your favorite health food store, we're going to separate fact from fiction about these green supplements – what they are, supposed health benefits, and what to look for. That way you can decide for yourself if you're going to add it to your supplement pantry or not...
What are super greens supplements?
They are a dietary supplement that is made of veggies, fruits, algae/grasses, and have been compacted and air or freeze-dried into a green powder. It's typically mixed into water, smoothies, or juices and can taste a bit grassy which is why many opt to add it into smoothies. Super greens powders are typically low in calories, but high in micronutrients and vitamins. Many also contain plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, and some even add probiotics and digestive enzymes to improve digestion.
Depending on the brand, greens powders contain anywhere from 25-40 different ingredients. Here are the most common ones:
- Antioxidant-rich fruits and leaves – Acai berries, blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, pineapple, and citrus bioflavonoids extracts.
- Digestive enzymes – Amylase, astragalus root powder extract, cellulase, lipase, papain, and protease.
- Grasses – Alfalfa grass, barley grass, wheatgrass, and oat grass.
- Leafy greens – Spinach, kale, collards, and parsley.
- Mushrooms – Maitake mushroom extract, reishi mushroom extract, and shiitake mushroom extract.
- Natural sugar substitutes – Stevia leaf extract, and monk fruit extract.
- Nutritional extracts – Green tea extract, grape seed extract, and ginkgo Biloba extract.
- Other nutrient-packed veggies – Broccoli, beets, carrots, tomatoes, and green cabbage.
- Prebiotics and fiber – Rice bran, inulin, tapioca starch, and apple fiber.
- Probiotics – Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis.
- Seaweed – Spirulina, chlorella, dulse, and kelp.
As you can see, there are a lot of ingredients found in greens powders! However, don't confuse a long list of superfood and healthy ingredients fool you... They may not even contain optimal dosages to give you the benefits it claims.
Super greens powder benefits
Aside from getting a full serving of fruit and veggies in one low-calorie scoop, there are some pretty good health benefits you can get – if you choose a good one with optimal ingredients and dosages (like 373 Lab Super Greens), but we'll get to that later!
First, let's have a look at some of the main super greens powder benefits:
- Help support immune function and digestive health – Greens powders usually contain high levels of vitamin C and A which are known for helping keep your immune system healthy. Most also contain selenium which helps the immune system fight infection. Additionally, most have probiotics or digestive enzymes added to them which not only helps to support your immune system, but also your gut health!
- Help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation – A greens powder with sufficient antioxidant-rich fruits and plants can promote anti-inflammatory effects and reduce oxidative stress. Vitamin A, K, and C are potent antioxidants that help fight cell-damaging free radicals, thus helping to reduce your risk of chronic diseases linked to inflammation.
- Improved energy – Some greens powders contain green tea extract which is a natural source of caffeine and can help boost your energy levels. This is ideal for those who prefer not to drink coffee, pre-workout, or energy drinks. Some, like 373 Lab Super Greens, contain a blend adaptogenic mushrooms that helps boost endurance and performance. So, aside from naturally boosting energy levels, it can also help you train harder for longer!
One more potential benefit of drinking super greens powder has to do with weight loss... It is said to help regulate blood sugar levels and control your appetite. But as always, don't rely on greens supplements to do all the work! To achieve weight loss you must have a proper training program, eat a nutritious diet of whole foods, prioritize rest and sleep, and more.
Are they worth it or a waste of money?
There's no denying that eating the daily recommended servings of greens is important for your health, so is supplementing with a greens powder really necessary?
If you're already eating 10 or more servings of leafy greens, other veggies, and fruits then no! But, let's be real... You're most likely not eating that many servings every single day. Especially those strength training (or doing any high-intensity training) and following a low-carb diet (like the keto diet), if you are then chances are you're lacking some nutrients. In this case, greens powder can be a good addition to your supplement regimen!
Just remember supplements are called that for a reason, they are used to supplement a healthy diet – not replace it. With that being said, don't let a long plant-based ingredient list fool you into thinking you can substitute it for whole plant foods. Incorporate a wide variety of healthy foods into your diet, including whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. Eating plants in their raw form will ensure that you're getting all the natural fiber from them, not the fiber compounds that are added after processing.
So, they are not a waste of money as long as you're using them to supplement your healthy diet... and if you know what to look for because not all greens powder are created equal!
What to look for
With any supplement, companies can list a bunch of healthy-sounding ingredients, but more often than not, they're sprinkling enough of the ingredient to say it's there. This means that if you buy a greens powder with all the right ingredients it can potentially have an extremely low dosage that will give very little to no health benefits!
To find the best greens powder for you, do your research! The dose-to-effect relationship with greens supplements isn't clearly defined like protein powder or other popular supplements, but what you can do is take a look at the list of ingredients and search for the optimal dosage for them online. For example, if you're looking for one with green tea extract to have a boost of energy, then search online to see the effective dose of green tea. This will take a little bit of time, but it will ensure that you're getting the best greens for your buck!
The other two things to consider are – ingredient quality and sweeteners. When you shop for green vegetables and other fresh produce you typically look for the best quality. Well, the same goes for greens powder! Look for brands that use organic or non-GMO ingredients that have been processed using a freeze-drying or cold-pressing method, and avoid any brands that include cheap fillers like grains and soy. And try to avoid any unnecessary additives like added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Fortunately, our sister company has released the best Super Greens formula in the market. 373 Lab Super Greens Supplements is made with all-natural ingredients (no added sugars or unnecessary fillers) so that you get a convenient and optimal serving of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, probiotics, and more. Drink one serving a day to help improve your gut health and immunity, or use it to naturally increase your energy levels, endurance, and performance! 373 Lab's Super Greens Powder is just what you need to feel healthy, less bloated, and energized!
The right Super Greens Supplements can give you a much needed nutrient-boost
Greens powder can enhance an already healthy diet by providing you with extra vitamins and minerals in one single serving size. However, to improve your overall health and wellness, you should prioritize a nutrient-dense diet and use greens supplements only if you're lacking in that department. As long as you don't completely replace all veggies and fruits with it, then greens powders can make an excellent addition to your supplement regime!