In the constantly growing natural health market, the increasing demand has caused a surge in a wide variety of superfood products. Hardcore health advocates are particularly keen on superfoods and green powders, which have become a buzzworthy trend. Superfoods are naturally derived, plant-based food products that purportedly yield a bounty of nutritional value, in the form of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients. And although this trend has taken on a life of its own, some might question whether the consumption of superfoods is as amazingly healthy as it’s glorified to be on social media.
What are green powders?
A green powder is essentially a megadose of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, condensed into powdered form. These green powders, aptly marketed as green because of the plant-based nutrition they contain, can be added to liquids and beverages. People often add them to their smoothies or nutritional shakes to supplement their daily diets with an abundance of nutrients that aren’t normally obtained to such a degree.
The ingredients in green powders vary based on product type and brand, but they all contain some combination of superfoods. Some of them are formulated to enhance physical stamina; some are marketed to boost the immune system, or lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, or stimulate the metabolism to boost weight loss; some products are intended for detoxification purposes, or flushing away toxins and replacing them with nutrients. One green powder typically contains a plethora of vital nutrients, including:
Green superfood powders can also be an excellent source of various vitamins, including A, C, D and K.
Some of the most popular ingredients used in powdered supplements are thought to have extraordinary health benefits, such as antioxidants and probiotics. The following are the trendiest superfoods on the market:
- Leafy greens (spinach and kale)
- Nutrient-dense algae (kelp, spirulina, chlorella)
- Antioxidant-dense foods (fruits, green tea extract)
- Digestive enzymes (probiotics)
- Nutritious grasses (barley grass, wheatgrass, alfalfa) (1)
How many vitamins and minerals does the average person actually need?
We all need vitamins and minerals to live healthy lives and to keep our bodies functioning optimally. But not everyone needs the same ones in the same amounts; this can vary depending on age, physical health, daily lifestyle, and other physiological factors. So, what happens when we overdo our vitamin intake? Our bodies will usually just flush out and discard the excess, even if it’s healthy. And, contrary to what some might believe, taking in too many vitamins and minerals can have a negative effect on health. Yes, you can overdose on vitamins. For example:
- Too much vitamin C or zinc can cause gastrointestinal irritation, such as nausea and cramps.
- Too much selenium can cause hair loss, fatigue and even nerve damage. (2)
Ideally, the green supplement you take should not exceed the recommended daily value. It can be hard to know what that is; it’s best to discuss it with a physician or nutritionist, to find out how best to supplement your diet with green powders.
Supplementing a diet with super greens
While some people may get all the nutrition they need from the foods they eat in their regular diet, others may be on special diets due to medical conditions, allergies, religious practices, or ethical reasons. Restrictive diets can result in deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, which has adverse effects on health. For example, someone who chooses to not eat meat may lack in some minerals that they used to source mainly from meat. In this case, the person could benefit from nutritional supplements such as a green powder or protein powder to compensate for deficiencies. That being said, many experts agree that the best nutrition comes from superfoods consumed in their natural form. It’s important to choose products that don’t contain additives, which can interfere with the bioavailability of nutrients and how the body absorbs them. (3)
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be as healthy as possible, or supplementing your diet with highly nutritious green powders to benefit your health. It’s also possible to get carried away and overdo it; it’s not necessary for everyone to take these powders on a regular basis, so you should assess your personal dietary needs before introducing supplements.
Read labels carefully to see exactly what products contain, and make sure that the brand has been certified by a third-party lab. Consulting with a licensed nutritionist or dietitian is a wise and safe way to make informed decisions about what your body does and doesn’t need, allowing you to enjoy a healthy and care-free life.
Disclaimer: This article is based on our independent research. While our team does everything in their power to provide accurate and current information from credible state-run websites and resources, we are not lawyers or legal experts. As such, none of the following information should be interpreted as legal advice. Content on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and those with legal concerns should consult experts within their state, such as the FDA.
- “Is Greens Powder Good For You?”, Source: https://www.webmd.com/diet/greens-powder-are-there-health-benefits#1
- “Getting Too Much of Vitamins And Minerals”, Source: https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/effects-of-taking-too-many-vitamins#1
- “What Are Greens Powders – and Do You Need Them?”, Source: https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/2017-11-17/what-are-greens-powders-and-do-you-need-them