Getting in your daily greens has never been easier thanks to the variety of greens powders that can easily be added to a morning smoothie, but not all greens are created equal and the best greens powder for you will depend on what you are looking for in your greens.
Most are a good source of micronutrients, but there is a lot of difference the blend of ingredients and what they do in the body. Made with blue-green algae like spirulina and chlorella, wheat grass, barley, alfalfa, and other fruits and vegetables, greens powders provide a mega dose of concentrated fruits and vegetables in every scoop. They are often categorised the same as a “greens superfood powder” but there are some key ingredients to look out for:
Marine algae (water based) sources of greens include spirulina, dulse and chlorella. These types of green powders are very nutrient dense and often recommended in supplemental form for their health benefits. Marine powders are available on their own, but they do have a strong algae taste so they are often preferred when mixed in blends.
Spirulina is a complete protein containing 60-70% protein, plus an excellent source of calcium, potassium, b-vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, zinc and iron. Chlorella is also a great source of protein at 50-55%, as well as, vitamin A, B-vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc. Dulse is a rich source of vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, potassium, calcium, chromium, iron and magnesium. Additionally, marine algae’s are a superior source of chlorophyll.
Grasses (alfalfa, wheat, barley, rye and oat)
Grasses have always been popular in green powders. They have a more subtle taste then algae’s, blend really well with other ingredients and are very palatable individually. Grasses are grown above water and have a dry constitution compared to the wet constitution of algae’s. Wheatgrass and barley grass contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B-vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Alfalfa is rich in vitamin K, zinc, copper, magnesium and vitamin C. Rye and oat grass have similar nutrient content to other grasses and they all are a good source of dietary fibre.
Fermented foods included in powdered green blends are relatively new to the market, but such a beneficial bonus. People have been fermenting vegetables for decades, but the powdered form provides a unique nutrient dense powder compared to traditional greens. Fermented foods act as prebiotics to help grow good bacteria within the gut flora. They also produce short chain fatty acids, which supports colon health and immune system health. The fermentation process is like pre-digestion along with nutrient enhancement and shelf-life preservation to the formula. The good bacteria used in the fermentation process help break down the fibrous cell walls of greens and vegetables leading to less chance of indigestion, gas and bloating, as well as, better bioavailability of nutrients.
Organic, GMO & additive free
It’s important to know your greens powder supplement is from a reputable manufacturer. Looking on the front of the pack for some key certificates is trusted way of finding out. Key one’s include: vegetarian and vegan approved, organic certification and gluten free. Then look at the ingredients list to see if any additives have been added. If the product is organic than you can be sure to be safe from any artificial additives or preservatives. Additionally, in the EU if a product has been certified organic than the ingredients used will be non-GMO sources.