You hear a lot about “super greens” in the media, but what are they and why are they becoming such a must have health supplement?
Super greens is a term that’s normally applied to a specific category of powder-type supplements. These powders are generally mixed with water and consumed as a drink.
A typical powder contains up to 40 different plant-based ingredients. Sometimes more.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn the color of such powders is always green. In fact, mixing a super greens power can often be somewhat like making a large batch of cold maccha green tea.
Like maccha, super greens powders don’t always taste that good. Some manufacturers try to compensate for the often grassy taste by adding natural sweeteners.
The manufacturers responsible for distributing these products claim their super greens invigorate the body and deliver multiple health benefits.
It’s hard to say why so many manufacturers have started to produce super greens powders. However, the fact that health experts are always stating the wisdom of eating more fruit and vegetables certainly works in favor of such products.
Governments and health organizations all over the world have introduced “5 A Day” campaigns designed to encourage people to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Despite this fact, most people’s diets still fall short of the recommendations. [SOURCE 1]
These days, everything seems to be about speed.
Many people who know their diets contain inadequacies would rather take a supplement than peel fruit or prepare a healthy meal.
However, quibbles aside, some of the better super greens powders do have a lot to offer in the way of health benefits.
Super Greens Ingredients
If you are a fan of natural products, you’d be hard pushed to find a better option than a super greens powder. They are probably the most natural health and wellness products in the world.
They are also normally a supplement vegans and vegetarians can normally use without the need to over scrutinize the list of ingredients.
Formulations are also usually free from totally organic and free from GMOs. However, if this is an important consideration for you it may be wise to double-check the label, just in case.
There are so many ingredient options for super greens products it would be impossible to list them all. However, a few popular examples include:
- Leafy greens (cabbage, spinach, parsley, kale, etc.)
- Seaweed (Spirulina, kelp, dulse, chlorella, etc.)
- Grasses (alfalfa grass, barley grass, pat grass, wheat grass)
- Acai berries
- Goji berries
- Grape seed extract
- Ginkgo bilboa
Many super greens powders also contain some less likely inclusions, such as green tea, probiotic bacteria, and plant-based digestive enzymes. Rice bran, inulin, and other sources of natural fiber may also have a presence in the formulation.
Do Super Greens Powders Have Good Nutritional Value?
No supplement should ever be regarded as a suitable substitute for “real food”. However, good powders can pack a pretty hefty nutritional punch.
They Provide Vitamins and Minerals
All of the fruits, vegetables, and other natural ingredients used in super greens products combine to provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
These important nutrients are essential for good health, but many people’s normal diets don’t provide all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Even when the diet is good, stress and other outside factors can deplete the body’s stores of certain vitamins and minerals. Smoking and alcohol use can be particularly bad. [SOURCE 2]
No matter what the cause, a shortfall of any vitamin or mineral can have a negative effect on the health.
For instance, B Vitamins are necessary for a healthy metabolism. They help the body extract energy from food and make use of it. If you are lacking in B Vitamins, you may experience feelings of fatigue and weight gain.
Lack of Vitamin C can compromise the immune system and men who don’t get enough zinc are more likely to suffer from low testosterone. This can further rob the body of vitality and cause fertility issues. It may also cause ED. [SOURCE 3]
Men and women who don’t get enough iron in their diet may find their quality of life is compromised by anemia, brittle nails, chest pains, and shortage of breath.
There are 13 essential vitamins and most of them are water-soluble. That means your body cannot store them. Levels will need topping up every day. During times of sickness and pregnancy, the need for vitamins and mineral is likely to increase.
Eating at least five pieces of fruit and vegetable a day is a good way to keep levels topped-up. Using a quality super greens product is an effective way to pick up the slack.
They Contain Antioxidants
Many of the ingredients used in super Greens powders, such as acai, blueberries, and green tea are also a good source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants fight the cell-damaging effects of free radical toxins. These toxins are a byproduct of many biological functions, such as muscle contraction.
The body also picks up free radicals from the atmosphere. Certain foods, such as white bread and pasta, also bombard the body with free radicals and smoking can be particularly bad.
When the amount of antioxidants present in the body is insufficient to fight the damaging effects of these toxins the body goes into oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress has an aging effect. It’s also been linked to heart disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and many other undesirable conditions. [SOURCE 5]
All the best sources of antioxidants are plant-based. Again, eating plenty of the right kind of food is a good way to ensure your body has enough. Consuming a quality super greens product can also help, but should be seen more as a precautionary measure than an excuse to eat a poor diet.
They are Prebiotics
Some of the ingredients used in super greens powders are prebiotic. This means they provide a form of natural fiber that nourishes the probiotic bacteria that lives in the guts.
Probiotic bacteria consists of several species of gut-friendly organisms. It’s also known as flora and “good” bacteria. It fights the harmful types of bacteria in the gut. In so doing, probiotic bacteria helps provide a healthy intestinal tract.
When the intestines are not overrun with too much bad bacteria it also has a positive effect on the metabolism that can boost energy levels and may aid weight loss.
Boosting levels of probiotic bacteria can also benefit the health in numerous other ways and may offer an anti-aging effect.
The many benefits this type of bacteria can provide is one of the main reasons so many people eat probiotic yogurts and use supplements that add extra live probiotic bacteria to the gut.
Some people also up their consumption of prebiotic foods like, chicory and asparagus, or use prebiotic supplements to feed the good bacteria and help it thrive.
All brands of Super greens powder can feed probiotic bacteria in this way. Some brands also provide live bacteria. The ones that do always say so on their list of ingredients and will usually state a quantity such as 3-4 billion CFU.
They Provide Digestive Enzymes
Super Greens powders also contain digestive enzymes. These enzymes are provided by natural, plant-based sources, including certain species of mushroom.
They are added to help assist the breakdown of food and ensure the efficient release of nutrients.
Some people increase their consumption of pineapples, mangoes, honey, and other enzyme-rich foods in a deliberate effort to increase the amount of digestive enzymes present in their digestive organs.
Others try to achieve the same thing by using special enzyme-providing supplements.
Although most people who are in good health and eating a balanced diet are unlikely to be short of enzymes, those who are may be more likely to be prone to lactose intolerance and other digestive disorders.
How to Use Super Greens Powders
The way to get the best results from any super greens product is to read the manufacturer’s guidelines and use the powder accordingly. Most super greens powders are intended to be consumed as a drink.
The typical preparation method is to stir the powder into some water. However, the water can usually be substituted with juice or, in some cases, milk. Some of the lesser quality formulations may require the use of a blender to avoid lumps.
Some people prefer not to use their super greens powder as a drink mix. They add the powder to their food instead.
Some typical alternative ways to use super greens powders include:
- Adding them to soups
- Mixing them into dips and salad dressings
- Sprinkling them over vegetables
- Incorporating them into an omelet
- Adding them to scrambled eggs
However, applying heat to super greens powders may reduce the nutritional value by lowering the levels of Vitamin C and certain other nutrients, including probiotics (where included). So, in general, taking your super greens as a cold drink is probably the best way to go.
Super Greens Benefits
Let’s not forget the quality of super greens powders can vary considerably from one brand to another. Not all of them are as effective as their manufacturers claim they are, but some of them can be extremely good.
Taking any of the top super greens powders has the potential to support good health in many ways. Furthermore, the combination of nutrients and antioxidants may also prevent oxidative stress and help prevent disease.
Super Greens for Health and Wellness
Good powders can be very nutritious. The combination of vitamins, minerals, plant proteins, carbohydrate, and natural fiber they contain has the potential to invigorate the body and provide an improved sense of well-being. Obviously, people whose bodies are lacking in certain nutrients due to dietary inadequacies are likely to feel a higher level of benefit.
The potential benefits of such products may include:
- More energy
- Less fatigue
- Healthy bowel movements
- Improvements to the nails, skin, and hair
- Healthier liver function
- Improved mental focus and cognitive function
- Stronger immune system
Due to the important role nutrients play in the body, the list could go on and on. Super greens powders can promote good health in many ways.
The results of one 90-day clinical trial shows consuming greens powder every day may reduce high blood pressure. There is also research that supports the use of greens powders to prevent oxidative stress and chronic disease. [SOURCE 6, SOURCE 7]
Super Greens for Weight Loss
The manufacturers of Super Greens powders often state their products can help with weight loss. Although Super Greens are unlikely to offer the same level of support as a good diet pill can, the weight loss claim is not so far-fetched.
For one thing, the fiber provided by super greens powders may help create a feeling of fullness that prevents hunger cravings.
Green tea, acai, and some of the other ingredients used in the powders can increase metabolism. This causes the body to burn calories faster and supports the burning of fat for energy. Prebiotics and probiotics can have a similarly beneficial effect on metabolism.
By getting extra zinc into the body, super greens may also boost testosterone production. This can further encourage fat burning while also promoting anabolism and muscle growth.
Super Greens for Anti-Aging and Longevity
Free radical damage and oxidative stress are often linked to the aging process. The exact role they play in aging requires further study. However, it’s clear that smoking and other unhealthy practices that increase oxidative stress can cause premature aging of the skin.
Super greens powders provide antioxidants that can protect against oxidative stress.
In addition to this, the vitamins and minerals provided by the powders can also provide healthier-looking skin and hair. All these things help provide a “younger” look.
By boosting energy levels and providing an improved sense of well-being, the use of a good powder should help people feel younger too.
As for the claims that super greens powders can support longevity, the idea is not as crazy as it sounds. The ingredients such products contain can improve the health and help protect the body from disease. In theory, these things should provide a more durable body and help people to live longer.
The important thing to remember is, even the best super greens products are no substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Smoking and drinking too much alcohol takes its toll on the body.
Too much fatty food is murder on the heart and exercise is important for good health. If you want to look and feel younger, you need to bear these things in mind.
Should I Be Using a Super Greens Powder?
If your diet already contains plenty of fruit and vegetables you may not need to use a super greens powder. However, using one certainly won’t hurt and may be a good way to make sure your nutrient intake remains consistently high.
The nutrients and other compounds provided by super greens powders certainly have the potential to support overall wellness. However, they will work best when used in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The best thing is to ask yourself why you are thinking of using a super greens powder. If you are primarily interested in losing weight, you are considering taking the wrong route.
Although such powders may offer some degree of weight loss support it’s not what they do best. For weight loss, you need to be thinking of using a good diet pill. It will offer you a greater level of the right kind of support.
If you are looking for something to help keep you healthy and avoid dietary inadequacies, a good super greens powder will surely help. It’s won’t be “the” answer, but it could be an important part of the answer.
Super Greens FAQs
Can I give super greens to my children?
Powders are natural products that contain organic extracts. There is no reason why you should not be able to give them to children.
Many children still don’t get the recommended 5+ pieces of fruit and vegetables per day. A good super greens powder could be very beneficial for their growing bodies.
Can I use super greens powders during pregnancy?
Using a quality super greens product is a good way to provide you and your baby with extra nutrition. It could be very beneficial to do so. However, it’s always best to ask your doctor’s opinion before using any health and wellness supplement during pregnancy.
What if I don’t like the taste?
If you find the taste is not to your liking, you could try mixing the powder with some of your favorite fruit juice. Alternatively, you could blend it with bananas, pineapple, strawberries and/or other fruit to make a highly nutritious shake.
Are super greens powders better than multivitamin and mineral pills?
Most multivitamin and mineral capsules and tablets are very good, but vitamins and minerals are all they provide. Super greens powders contain antioxidants, natural fiber, and other compounds that can provide the body with a greater scope of benefits. They are also a better option for people who find it difficult to swallow vitamin pills.
Do super greens powders contain caffeine?
Caffeine and other stimulants have no place in a super greens product. Some powders contain green tea, which contains a tiny amount of caffeine. However, the amount per serving will be so low even caffeine-sensitive individuals are unlikely to respond to its presence.
Green tea may seem like an unlikely super greens ingredient, but it’s packed full of antioxidants that can benefit the health in numerous ways. In fact, green tea is often said to be the healthiest beverage in the world.
If you have concerns about any of the ingredients in your chosen brand of super greens powder, your doctor will be the best person to provide advice.