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Why Go Green?

A curious supplement that has hit health and supplement store shelves has been the centre of question for a lot of individuals who see them. A greens powder? Why powder greens? It is a very peculiar powder to make its way into the supplement spotlight so we will have a look at it, see why many people choose to use them and what benefits they have.

In recent years, greens powders have hit supplement shelves by storm and, as a dietary supplement, they have become an extremely popular way to help people reach their daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, what makes greens powders so popular with the diet crowd is that the nutrient combination in this form of powder is formulated to support your body’s immune system and energy levels while simultaneously meeting the nutrition requirements needed to help sustain a healthy diet.

The typical Ingredient make up that you will find in a greens powder will obviously vary from brand to brand. However, the nutritional targets are generally quite similar, and the common trend seems to look like this:

- Leafy greens and seaweed

 - Grasses and other vegetables

-  Antioxidant-rich fruits

 - Probiotics

-  Nutritional extracts and herbs

So how does one use a greens powder?

Well, usually greens powders are most often mixed into smoothies or juices and blended with other fruits or juices or even whey shakes. The taste on their own is generally pretty grassy and “soily” so I don’t recommend drinking them with water (unless you ate grass as a kid and adapted some level of acquired pallet for that kind of taste). However, some brands will generally go through effort of adding natural sweetening substitutes like stevia or something similar to that to help improve the flavour and taste.

Furthermore, these dietary greens powders are also usually vegan friendly and made from non-genetically modified and organic products. So, if you live a vegan lifestyle and are generally antsy about where you get your minerals, nutrients and vitamins from, a greens powder will likely be an awesome fit for you.

Ok, what nutritional value can I find in my greens powder?

Again, this will obviously change with each brand, but the changes are usually very slight. On average, a single tablespoon serving will tend to contain the following:

  • Calories: 45
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Iron: 18% of your daily value
  • Vitamin A: 60% of your daily value

As for the kind of micronutrients you will be able to find in your greens powders, this is what you are most likely getting:

  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Chromium
  • Potassium

According to Dan Brennan, MD, “Greens powders often include high levels of vitamin C, which has been linked to healthy immune system function, protection against heart disease, and good skin health.” In other words, if you are looking for all the benefits one would get from eating a host of greens daily without having to prepare and eat a host of greens daily, then a greens supplement might be a great choice for you. 

Potential Health Benefits of Greens Powder

Due to the fact that greens powders are literally made from dried fruits and vegetables, you can expect that your nutrition is coming straight from the source and not from an artificial substitute. It is important to note though, that due to the process of powdering the greens, some important nutritional content such as fibre is generally lost in the process (but just some, not all). And, despite the nutrients of a greens powder coming directly from the source of mother nature, greens powders should entirely replace elements of a well-balanced diet. They are the to supplement and bolster elements that one would usually find themselves short on, or if you just hate eating your vegetables.

With that disclaimer out of the way, medical doctors generally agree that greens powder are an absolutely fantastic way to supplement a healthy diet with a boost of extra vitamins and antioxidants.

As for the health benefits, they go something like this:

  • They help improve and promote healthy blood pressure. The minerals one would tend to find in greens powders like calcium and potassium are often associated with good blood pressure management. In one clinical study, people who took one serving daily of greens powder experienced a decrease in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Therefore, taking greens powders will aid in the uptake of minerals that have been shown to alleviate and improve symptoms of irregular blood pressure.
  • Greens help improve immune system support. Greens powders contain high levels of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to help maintain and support a healthy immune system. Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties that enhance immunity. Additionally, studies have shown that the high selenium content found in most greens powders helps the immune system fight infection.
  • They help with chronic disease prevention. The vitamins found in greens powders can reduce your risk of chronic diseases in the long term. Vitamins like C and K are potent antioxidants that fight cell-damaging free radicals. This kind of cell damage is known as oxidation and is linked to the development of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. One study found that a serving of greens powder taken daily reduced cell oxidation in participants by 30%. This benefit is purported as one of the most important for taking a greens powder supplement.
  • They help improve eye and cognitive health. The vitamin K content found in leafy greens is associated with numerous health benefits including maintaining healthy blood vessels, lessening the risk of heart problems, and preventing bone loss with aging. Recent studies have also found vitamin K may promote eye health and reduce incidence of age-related dementia.

That is pretty much the scoop when it comes to greens powders. As you can see, there are a whole host of benefits and even practical reasons to add a greens powder supplement to your daily supplement regime. The information is here, you make the choice.

References:

  1. Greens Powder: Are there Health Benefits? (2020, September 26). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/greens-powder-are-there-health-benefits#2