Do you eat enough greens? Do you even like vegetables? Well, whether you like them or not, you really do have to find a way of incorporating them into your diet. Veggies, especially super greens, have a ton of nutrients that are beneficial to your body.
How often do you have a vegetable salad? A lot of people have salads, alright, but vegetable salads are not fancied by many. What about green juices and smoothies? If you knew the benefits of drinking super greens, you would have had your first green smoothie long ago. Super greens are nutritional powerhouses, and here is why you need to include them in your diet.
What Is A Superfood?
Whole foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits and, at the same time are low in calories are referred to as superfoods. Such foods are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals (8). Compared to other foods, superfoods have extremely high nutrition densities. Most superfoods are plant-based.
Super greens are an excellent example of superfoods. You may be wondering what is so special about these greens for them to be termed superfoods. Your answer lies in their nutritional profiles. Often, these foods are dried then ground into powder. You can even make them yourself. Sometimes only a part of the food and not the whole is used to make green powder. Nowadays, more complicated methods of dehydrating and freezing are used to make powder.
To increase vitamin levels and maximize absorption, these foods are sometimes fermented before being made into powder ( 7).
In this form, these foods create a drink that is dense in nutrients. Adding some super green powder to your smoothie helps you easily reach your recommended daily intake of minerals and vitamins.
Read More: Digestive Superfoods That Support Gastrointestinal Health
These powders contain ingredients from superfoods such as:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Fruits rich in antioxidants
- Plant-based digestive enzymes
- Natural sugar substitutes
The exact nutritional value of these ingredients varies depending on the ingredients used. However, one scoop (tablespoon) of this powder most likely contains:
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Common Super Greens Used To Make Powders
A lot of people think that green powders are made from rare plants. Shockingly, these powders can be made from common plants, some of which are in your refrigerator now waiting to be made into salads. Instead of a salad, why don’t you make a powder instead? Your smoothie will be richer, I promise.
Here are some common super greens used to make powders.
Also called leaf cabbage, this veggie is one of the most nutrient-dense foods mother earth has blessed us with. It is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. This means that they are low in calories and rich in fiber, vitamins, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Kale has its origin in early roman and greek culture.
Kale is rich in nutrients such as proteins (2.9g), carbohydrates (4.4g), fiber (4.1g), iron(1.60mg), potassium (348mg) (9).
Tracing back to 700BC, Barley grass is a cereal super crop rich in nutrients and also used to make powders. Although commonly used in beer production, this grass is a worthy addition to your diet since it is packed with essential nutrients.
These nutrients (for 100g of the powder) include: sodium (1200mg), carbohydrates (40g), proteins (40g), sugar (20g), iron (21mg), potassium (3363mg) (1).
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Chlorella is a species of single-celled green algae found in freshwater. Native to Taiwan and Japan, this superfood is densely packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin C (10.4mg), iron (130mg), calcium (221mg), zinc (71mg), and protein (58.4g) (16).
Most people don’t know just how rich broccoli is. The benefits of this wonder vegetable are innumerable. Broccoli has its origins in Italy, and by the 18th century, it had spread to Northern Europe. It was not until the 19th century that broccoli was brought to America by Italian immigrants.
There are three main types of broccoli, namely:
- Calabrese broccoli
- Purple cabbage
- Sprouting broccoli
It is rich in nutrients such as carbohydrates (6.64g), protein (2.82g), fibre (2.4g), calcium (42.8mg), vitamin C (81.2mg), vitamin K (92.5 mcg) (3).
This grass is also known as oat straw. You may be familiar with oats. Well, oat grass comes from the same plant that produces oats. However, the two parts have different nutrition compositions. You can trace their origins from New Zealand, Africa, South America, and Australia.
Oat grass is packed with nutrients and has been termed as one of nature’s finest medicines.
It contains vitamin B6 (0.12mg), calcium (54mg), potassium (429mg), fiber (11.6g) and proteins(16.9g). The grass is also rich in chlorophyll (19).
11 Benefits Of Super Greens Powder
Adding super green powder to your diet will go a long way in improving your health. Apart from helping you attain your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, these powders have other immense advantages. These powders are a dream come true, especially for people who have a hard time eating veggie salads.
Powdered superfoods may have the following benefits.
Healthy Blood Pressure
Green powders are rich in minerals such as calcium and potassium which are excellent for blood pressure management. Additionally, the high concentration of magnesium in drinks made from these powders is essential for protein manufacture and muscle function, muscles such as the heart (18).
High levels of magnesium in the body also aid in improving blood flow. The nutritional benefits of spinach come into play in this instance. Spinach powder is rich in nitrates, which may help maintain your pressure levels and reduce your heart disease risk (6).
Green powders are also rich in iron. Having enough iron in your body means that your blood cells are healthy and can carry oxygen throughout your body. Lack of iron causes anemia, resulting in smaller blood cells and consequently impacting blood pressure and volume (10).
Read More: Top 10 Superfoods To Boost Your Healthy Diet
How often do you have a bowel movement? Do you struggle to poop? Well, drinking super green smoothies could help get your bowel system running smoothly.
It is understandable if you think that green juices will cause constipation because of their low dietary fiber content. However, green powders with added probiotics or live bacteria in them are your go-to if you need constipation relief. If you are constipated, you could have a reduced number of certain probiotic bacteria in your gut. Ingesting some of these probiotics might boost the count and hence, literally get things moving (11).
Healthier Immune System
Your diet plays a massive role in maintaining your immunity. Having super green powder drinks could give a significant boost to your immunity.
Green powders are powerhouses for vitamins and minerals that you need to maintain a healthy immune system. For example, vitamin C helps prevent infections, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage by free radicals (21, 23).
Super green powders can help make your weight loss journey easier. In this journey, you need a supplement that enables you to manage and control your calorie intake without compromising the nutrient. Your best bet is super green powders.
These green foods and powders are not considered meal replacements but as supplements to your diet. They serve to help you meet your body’s nutritional needs. You can add these powders to your usual smoothies, soups, or salads. Be careful not to include them in foods that involve heating, as some nutrients may be lost.
Taking green drinks also helps you manage cravings and suppress your appetite. You end up eating less. Some super green powders are also high in fiber. How does this contribute to your weight loss? Simple. Your body works twice as hard to break down and digest fiber. Therefore, you feel fuller for longer and need to eat less overall to feel satisfied.
Plant protein also feeds your muscles. In your weight loss journey, you aim to lose fat and gain muscle. Super greens are rich in proteins which are essential in building and maintaining lean muscle tissue. So go ahead and add a spoonful of green powder to your protein shake (20).
A Healthier Alternative To Multivitamin Tablets
Actually, it is unfair to compare super green powders with multivitamin tablets. Here’s why. First, although multivitamin tablets contain vitamins and minerals, they also have other ingredients that are non-nutritive. These tablets are synthetically made, so they have such elements.
A daily cocktail of these tablets may not deliver what you hope for. They also contain varying amounts of these nutrients and sometimes may have a higher or lower amount of the nutrient stated on the label. This poses a challenge when it comes to tracking your vitamin intake (5). What’s more, your body may find it difficult to absorb all the nutrients from these tablets completely.
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Natural Energy Boost
Let’s face it, life has gotten busier and more fast-paced, and sometimes you have to pause to catch your breath literally. Late nights and early mornings are a norm today because you guessed it, life got busier. Energy drinks, excessively sugary foods, and caffeine have become a part of what feeds our daily fuel. These are quick, convenient fixes that, sadly, might have detrimental effects on your health.
The good news is super green powders are natural energy boosters. They are healthier and longer-lasting. Adding a spoonful of chlorella powder to your smoothie every morning is a great way to up your energy levels. Also, your energy levels will be at all time highs throughout the day since super greens are rich in slow-releasing carbs and protein enough to give you a continuous supply of energy throughout the day (17).
Glowing Skin, Strong Nails, And Healthy Hair
If all the other benefits don’t convince you to jump on the green powder bandwagon, this should. Who doesn’t want glowing skin and a head full of thick, lustrous hair?
Your body absorbs nutrients faster from fruits and vegetables (super greens) compared to other types of food. This contributes to the overall health of your tissues, including hair and nails.
What’s more, super green powders have chlorophyll, the natural green pigment found in plants. This pigment has amazing benefits for your skin and even hair. Chlorophyll may help to fight cancer and plants high in chlorophyll are also rich in vitamin B, D, and E, excellent and vital for healthy hair and nail growth (4). Topical chlorophyll is also great for acne treatment (12).
Great Source Of Phytonutrients
Also called phytochemicals or flavonoids, these are compounds found in plants that help keep them healthy and protected from the sun and insects. Alright, what benefit do these compounds have for the human body? Phytonutrients have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are valuable to you (13, 14).
You may be familiar with common phytonutrients such as:
- Beta-carotene: Vital for a healthy immune system, good bone and skin health, improved vision.
- Lycopene: Helps prevent certain types of cancers, such as prostate cancer. It also improves the health of your heart.
- Lutein: This one is necessary for good eye and heart health. It also helps prevent cancer.
- Anthocyanins: This help maintain the health of your blood vessels
- Isoflavones: They help prevent breast cancer. Plus, they improve the health of your bones, joints and also aid in lowering cholesterol.
Provision Of Digestive Enzymes
Your gut is just as important as your heart. If your digestive system isn’t working optimally, you may have issues absorbing nutrients from food. Digestive enzymes are helpful chemical juices found in your gut that help in the digestion process.
Green juices contain enzymes that may help with your digestion. Your body produces its own digestive enzymes, but a little help here and there is appreciated. The types of enzymes found in super greens include lipase, amylase, and protease.
Enzyme amylase is a digestive enzyme that helps break down carbohydrates into glucose (15). Supergreens such as wheatgrass are believed to be an excellent source of amylase.
Likewise, enzyme lipase breaks down fat into smaller fatty acids absorbed in the small intestines. Your body manufactures this enzyme in the pancreas. This enzyme also works with bile to break down fat. A significant amount of this enzyme is said to be found in super greens such as wheatgrass (2).
The protease enzymes break down proteins into amino acids. These acids are vital for the synthesis of proteins which are involved in the antibodies, hormone synthesis, and also production of other enzymes. Ginger is thought to be a fantastic source of plant protease (22).
Helps Manage And Reduce Bloating
After enjoying a good hearty meal, nothing dampens your mood faster than bloating. Bloating is uncomfortable, and you are probably always on the lookout for remedies that actually work. The good news is that drinking super green juices works well for some people to relieve bloating.
These powders provide enzymes that help with the digestion process. Smooth digestion lowers the chances of bloating. For example, a smoothie made of spinach, beet, and asparagus powder could go a long way in relieving bloating.
The Bottom Line
Maintaining a healthy diet means that you need to be ready to include super greens in your food. These supplements could improve your general well-being and provide an easy and hustle-free way of getting your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals.
Your body responds to good treatment and care, so apart from eating your fruits and vegetables, drinking super greens is an excellent way to maintain your health.
Sticking to a healthy diet based on your health needs, allergies and preferences is a great idea, however, when combined with a workout plan that meets your goals, it might bring you significant benefits. Better mood, stronger muscles and endurance are just some.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Barley grass juice powder (2021, nutritionvalue.org)
- Biochemistry, Lipase (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Broccoli, raw (2021,nutritiondata.self.com)
- Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin (2009, ipi.oregonstate.edu)
- Do multivitamins make you healthier? (2019. Health.harvard.edu)
- Effect of spinach on arterial stiffness and related hemodynamic measures (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Functional properties of microorganisms in fermented foods (2016, pubmed.mcbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of the plant based supplements greens. (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Kale, raw (2021, nutrition value.org)
- Markers of iron status, blood pressure and incident hypertension among Chinese adults (2019, pubmed.mcbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Mechanisms of action of probiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota on gut mobility and constipation (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Photodynamic therapy using chlorophyll I the treatment of acne vulgaris (2014, jaad.org)
- Phytonutrients (2021, nutrition.gov)
- Phytonutrients as therapeutic agents ( 2013, pubmed.mcbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Plant amylase: Functions and roles in carbohydrates metabolism (2005, reseachgate.net)
- Potential of chlorella as a dietary supplement to promote human health (2020, ncb.nlm.nih.gov)
- Slow release carbohydrates: growing evidence on metabolic responses and public health interest (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The effect of fruit and vegetable powder mix on hypertensive subjects: a pilot study (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The nutritional and therapeutic importance of Avena Sativa (2015, researchgate.net)
- The role of anabolic properties of plants –versus animal based protein in supporting muscle mass maintenance (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The role of vitamin E in immunity (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Trends and prospects of plant proteases in therapeutics (2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vitamin C and immune function (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)