Green, grassy and good for you: What are the health benefits of greens powders?
By Zoey Sky
(Natural News) A healthy diet must include fresh vegetables, but a lot of people don’t get enough of these nutrient-rich foods regularly. This is where greens powders come in. As dietary supplements go, greens powders are designed to help people reach their daily recommended vegetable intake.
Greens powders are dietary supplements that can be added to water or other liquids. As their name suggests, these powders are often green and they usually have a grassy taste.
There are different brands of greens powders, but they usually contain a combination of the following ingredients:
- Antioxidant-rich fruits – Acai berries, blueberries, goji berries, and raspberries.
- Extra fiber – Apple fiber, inulin, and rice bran.
- Grasses – Alfalfa grass, barley grass, oat grass, and wheatgrass.
- Herbs – Astragalus, echinacea, holy basil, and milk thistle.
- Leafy greens – Collards, kale, parsley, and spinach.
- Mushrooms – Maitake mushroom and shiitake mushroom extracts.
- Natural sugar substitutes – Monk fruit and stevia leaf extracts.
- Nutritional extracts – Grape seed, green tea, and ginkgo biloba extracts.
- Other vegetables – Broccoli, beets, carrots, green cabbage, and tomatoes.
- Plant-based digestive enzymes – Amylase, cellulase, lipase, papain, and protease.
- Probiotics – Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus (L.) acidophilus, and L. rhamnosus.
- Seaweed – Chlorella, dulse, kelp, and spirulina.
The produce used in these supplements is usually dried then ground into powder. Sometimes, ingredients are juiced and then dehydrated while other components of the whole food are extracted. (Related: Spirulina extract can prevent the increase of fat in the blood by inhibiting lipid metabolism and absorption.)
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Alternatively, ingredients are fermented or sprouted to boost their vitamin levels and to help break down compounds that may interfere with mineral absorption. Most greens powders are vegan, non-genetically modified, and organic. Always check the product label to confirm these details.
Depending on the ingredients used, greens powders can cost about 22 to 99 cents or more per scoop (about 10 g or two tablespoons). Since the ingredients of greens powders vary by brand, most products have different nutritional values. Generally, a scoop of greens powder contains vitamins A, C, and K. These powders can also contain minerals like calcium, chromium, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium.
Greens powders are usually low-calorie, but combining them with ingredients other than plain water may add calories. Some greens powders are formulated as meal replacements and they are more nutritionally complete and higher in calories.
Powders are often full of polyphenols and other plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. Listed below are the other health benefits of greens powders.
They prevent chronic disease.
Since greens powders are made with plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, they can help lower your risk of chronic diseases.
According to a four-week study in 10 healthy people – published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences – two tablespoons (10 g) of greens powder taken daily helped lower blood levels of proteins that had oxidative damage by 30 percent. Reducing damage to blood proteins like enzymes is crucial since they perform functions that protect you from cancer and chronic diseases.
They boost energy levels.
Some greens powders can boost your energy because they have compounds that promote alertness and energetic feelings. For example, green tea extract contains caffeine.
Data from a three-month study published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research revealed that participants who took a tablespoon (10 g) of greens powder with green tea extract daily reported significant increases in energy, compared to the placebo group that didn’t report any changes.
They can help with detoxification.
Consuming greens powders can support detoxification. To illustrate, as the liver detoxifies certain compounds, the process produces harmful free radicals. Greens powders are full of antioxidants that fight these free radicals.
Guidelines for using greens powders
Here are other things to keep in mind before you start adding greens powders to your diet.
- In general, greens powders are full of vitamin K. Take note that this vitamin interacts with certain medications like blood thinners.
- Some powders may contain harmful contaminants, like lead and other heavy metals. Before you buy a product, check the company’s website to determine if they verify purity.
- Certain greens powders aren’t suitable for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or individuals taking medications. Always consult a physician before you start consuming greens powders since some products can interact with medication for certain conditions.
- Follow the instructions on the container of greens powders for best results.
If you’re tired of adding greens powders to juice, milk, milk substitutes, smoothies, or water, here are other ways to consume them.
- Add them to scrambled eggs or omelets and vegetable dips.
- Add them soups and stews.
- Sprinkle them over roasted vegetables or juicy fruits.
- Mix a greens powder-based homemade salad dressing.
- Make pancakes or French toast with greens powder.
- Eat a bowl of oatmeal with a scoop of greens powder.
Follow a healthy diet and consume nutritious greens powders made from spirulina and other superfoods to boost your overall well-being.
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