The best green powders – and everything you need to know before using them

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By Webdesk

glass of green powder supplement with lime

With over 225 million views on TikTok, videos using the hashtag #greenpowder have virtually infiltrated the app. You know them: videos in which makers stir a grass-colored grit into a glass of water with a spoon. It’s all very “Get Out” – except the tea has been swapped for an earthy green concoction and you’re being hypnotized by an influencer (v. your friend’s mother) as they indulge in the purported benefits of the powder, from reducing bloating to boosting your immune system.

Between the sheer number of videos and the tantalizing health benefits, it’s hard not to get carried away and try a green powder yourself. But as with all things social media, you have to ask yourself: are the benefits of green powders legit? And what is actually in these green powder supplements? Ahead, those answers — plus, the best green powders to try if you decide to join the trend, all according to nutritionists.

What are green powders?

Green Powder is best described as “a nutritional powder supplement made from a wide variety of different ingredients that attempts to match the nutritional profile of a person’s recommended consumption of produce per day,” says Hannah Ball, RDN, CDN, owner of Hannah Ball Nutrition and Registered Dietitian at Wellory.

While the specific ingredients vary by brand, the supplement usually contains an assortment of leafy greens, other vegetables (e.g., broccoli, carrots, beets), some type of seaweed (e.g., spirulina, chlorella), and grasses. Some varieties also contain extra fiber (such as inulin, rice bran, or apple pectin), probiotics, digestive enzymes, and natural sweeteners, says Ball. And you won’t be hard-pressed to find green powders that contain fruits—often berries, too, which are rich in antioxidants, according to Ball.

Unless an ingredient is a powder in its original state, chances are it has been processed in some way to eventually become an easily soluble particle. In general, green powders are made by dehydrating (i.e. drying) certain ingredients or pressing and drying them before grinding them into a powder.

Regardless of the method, the end result is one of the reasons why green powders are becoming extremely popular: They provide a convenient way to increase your produce (and, in turn, micronutrient) intake, says Marissa Meshulam, MS, RD, CDN, founder from MPM Nutrition. “These powders can be a great option if you’re traveling or on the go and don’t have as much access to fresh fruits and veggies. Plus, they tend to be quite a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, meaning you can get a lot more than you could normally eat, which can provide an extra boost of nutrients.”

That said, it’s important to note that green powders are not a substitute for eating whole fruits and vegetables and maintaining a balanced diet. “However, if people feel they can’t handle a challenge for any reason, they may consider adding a powder as a supplement, not a replacement,” says Keri Gans, RDN, author of “The Small Change Diet” and host of the podcast “The Keri Report.”

Benefits of green powder

Support the immune system

“Since green powder comes from a variety of whole fruits and vegetables, they contain nutrients that can be beneficial to our health,” says Gans. “For example, they may contain the antioxidants vitamins A, C and E, which have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with maintaining immune system health.”

In addition, as mentioned above, some green powders usually contain gut-friendly probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus or acidophilus or Bifidobacteria lactiswhich have been shown to help with immune function, says Ball.

Stimulate healthy digestion

In addition to helping your immune system, probiotics (such as those found in certain green powders) can help balance the gut microbiome, which is essential for keeping your system running smoothly and reducing gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating . But green powders don’t necessarily have to contain probiotics to promote digestive health — all fruits and veggies mixed into the drink should also contain some amount of fiber. While you normally get a lot more fiber from eating whole foods versus powdered foods, fiber, in any amount, is vital for gut health, keeping you regular, promoting satiety, and more, says Meshulam .

Boost energy

Here’s the deal: Many green powders claim to boost your energy levels, but “this may not be entirely accurate in the way it’s portrayed,” says Ball. That’s because green powders are generally low in calories, and at the most basic level, calories are the energy or fuel your body needs to function. Because green powders are low in calories, they cannot provide much usable energy to the body on their own. But when they’re mixed into yogurt, for example, or blended into a smoothie—both of which typically contain a healthy amount of calories per serving—the supplement may seem like it gives you more energy, she explains.

That said, some green powders contain green tea extract, which has been shown to increase energy, in part due to its caffeine content, according to the Cleveland Clinic. So drinking supplements with this ingredient can actually make you more alert and awake.

As is the case with all supplements, green powders are not thoroughly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning the organization does not maintain strict rules about ingredients, effectiveness, safety, or labeling that brands must adhere to when producing or marketing the powders. Since they are quite unregulated, green powders may very well contain contaminants that you would otherwise want to avoid. It also means that “we don’t necessarily know what they claim is in the product is actually in the product,” Meshulam adds. “For example, it might say it contains turmeric powder and is just orange food coloring.”

There is also a risk of gastrointestinal upset when consuming green powders, especially if you already suffer from tummy troubles. “Green powders may exacerbate bloating in people with gastrointestinal issues, such as IBS [irritable bowel syndrome]because of the high-FODMAP foods used by certain brands for ingredients,” Ball explains. cause.)

In addition, some of the ingredients in the supplements may not be safe to consume for individuals taking specific medications. “For example, many of these powders are high in vitamin K, and that could be a problem for someone on a blood thinner,” says Gans. “Also as [you’re] If you are pregnant or nursing, these types of powders may not be recommended due to added herbs whose safety has been limited.

So, are green powders worth it?

That’s up to you to decide. “I consider a vegetable powder as nutrition 2.0,” says Meshulam. “If you’re already doing the right things like sleeping well, eating healthy, moving your body, managing your stress, etc. and you’re looking for another boost to your well-being, these things could be great to try. having said that, they are absolutely unnecessary for health and there are plenty of ways to reap the benefits through real foods.”

On the other hand, Gans recommends that you “save your money and instead focus on simply eating more fruits and veggies.”

The Best Green Powders, According To Experts

Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood ($34)

Meshulam calls this green powder her “go-to” – and with good reason. For starters, “it’s made with a variety of veggies (some of which you wouldn’t normally get in your diet, like barley, grass, or alfalfa), meaning you get a variety of different nutrients,” she explains. . It’s also free of artificial sweeteners (think: sucralose, aspartame, etc.), which can wreak havoc on your gut and taste buds, leaving you needing more sweets to feel satisfied. Other factors that make it a “win” in her book: a simple ingredient list and the fact that the “brand has been third-party tested for heavy metal contamination, making it a safe option,” explains Meshulam.

Amazing Grass Superfood Greens Blend ($46)

This green powder is not only packed with healthy vegetables, but also contains gut-friendly probiotics. Also on the ingredients list? Algae, which has anti-inflammatory properties, says Ball.

AG1 by Athletic Greens ($99)

Influencers and Peloton instructors are not the only fans of this brand: Athletic Greens also receives the Ball seal of approval. That’s because it’s vegan, free of common food allergens, and contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than any other variety out there.

KOS Show Me the Greens Superfood ($33, originally $37)

“Another great option,” according to Meshulam, KOS Show Me the Greens Superfood stands out because it’s organic and contains prebiotics, which help support the growth of good gut bacteria. In addition to keeping your digestive tract in tip-top shape, it also contains chlorella and spirulina — two immune-boosting phytonutrients “that we don’t normally eat on a daily basis,” Meshulam explains.

Vital Protein Daily Greens ($33)

This green powder, recommended by Ball, is a smart choice for those also looking for an energy boost, as it contains both green coffee bean extract and green tea extract. Plus, it’s organic, satiating (thanks to the addition of protein) and free of added sweeteners.

Image source: Getty Images / TATIANA DOLGOVA

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