It’s no secret that most people don’t eat enough vegetables. Some people, especially those who prefer meat over veggies, simply don’t like the taste of most of the vegetables and state that meat is incomparably more delicious.
Green superfood and green powders, in general, are dietary supplements that are specially designed to help you reach your recommended vegetable intake each day. Companies that make green superfoods claim that green powders have many benefits for your body. They include improvement of the body’s immune system, detoxification and a lot more.
However, you might be wondering if science supports what these companies state. In this article, we will talk about whether green supplements are healthy or not, and review any possible side effects.
What are Green Powders?
Before we start, you should know what exactly green powders are. They are dietary supplements that can be mixed with water or other liquids, to help you reach your daily vegetable intake the most natural way.
If you don’t want to pay attention to how much and which vegetables you eat throughout the day, green powders should provide you with all that you need. They usually taste a bit “grassy,” so natural sugar substitutes are often added to improve the taste. Also, most green powders include between 25 and 40 different ingredients, but that might vary depending on the brand.
These ingredients usually include leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, then seaweed, grasses, high-antioxidant fruits, probiotics, digestive enzymes, extra fiber, mushrooms, and even other vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, green cabbage, and tomatoes.
It is all dried and grounded into a powder that you can mix with the water or other liquids. Most of them are often vegan, but you should always check the product label for these details since it might vary from product to product.
Nutrition Can Vary Based on Ingredients
The first thing that you should know is that the actual nutrition of green superfood varies based on the ingredients it has. Most people think that all the green powders are the same, but they can actually vary quite significantly. However, most of the green powders will have 40 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein per one scoop. One scoop is considered to be 10 grams or 2 tablespoons.
Note that these powders are low-calorie, but people usually mix them with other things than water, which might increase the calorie amount. Also, if you want to ingest various of different vitamins, note that green powders might not be the best solution. The fact is, green powders usually don’t contain all the needed vitamins and minerals. For example, a standard multivitamin and mineral supplements is a much better solution for the proper daily vitamin intake.
Another thing to be aware of is that sometimes, green powders are created as meal replacements. This means that the powder will be more nutritionally complete, but also have more calories.
Before You Buy
If you are skeptical about green powders and other green superfoods, you should know that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate these supplements, unless multiple reports link to serious negative effects. Of course, this is probably not likely to happen, but you should still keep that in mind, and never buy these products from untrusted sellers. To stay safe, you should buy only from companies that have been certified through labs such as NSF. They test all the product’s ingredients to make sure that they contain everything that is matched on the label.
More Isn’t Necessarily Better
When it comes to supplementation, you should know that more isn’t necessarily better. Serving sizes are usually as small as 1 tablespoon, and although very small, they might contain several times more of your recommended daily allowance of specific vitamins. The awkward thing is, the labels usually recommend taking multiple servings each day.
The fact is that with supplements, it’s pretty easy to go overboard. Typically, the excess of water-soluble vitamins will usually leave the body pretty quickly. However, some minerals, especially those that are fat-soluble, can build up to very toxic levels, since our bodies can’t get rid of them easily.
Be aware that many studies state that too much beta-carotene can lead to cancer, vitamin A to liver damage, and vitamins B6 and B12 to lung cancer, especially in men. It is recommended that before buying the green powder that contains more than 100 percent of your recommended daily vitamins, you should contact your primary care provider.
Other Things to Note
Even if you have found a green superfood that suits you best, there are some other things to note. The thing is, it is always better to use it as a supplement, than as a substitute for actual vegetables. The body doesn’t react the same way when you ingest vegetables in their original form, as when you ingest them as a liquid. However, if some days you are in a rush and don’t have time for a proper, vegetable-rich meal, you can use a green smoothie instead.
As you may have noticed, green superfoods are not that “perfect” as the companies and labels state. They are still healthy, and it’s better to use them, then not to eat any vegetables at all. However, most people who use green smoothies don’t think about what vitamins and how much they are ingesting.
The fact is that even one dose can be higher than your recommended daily intake, so you might easily go overboard with that. Also, keep in mind that if you mix them with liquid other than water, you might increase the calorie amount, which can, in the long term, lead to increased fat or obesity.