I’ve been seeing a lot of fitness brands and influencers promoting “super greens” lately. Have you ever wondered what super greens are and if they’re any good for you?! I decided to take a deep dive and find out.
If you haven’t seen them, they’re a green powder supplement that you can mix into water, smoothies, or whatever you want really. Some promise to give you the same nutrition as a whole day’s worth of veggies, which I think is the most appealing benefit for many people, because it can be so hard to get enough veggies! One scoop and done sounds a lot more convenient than prepping and cooking.
Some greens powders even promise to boost immunity, energy, digestion, detox, and even reduce signs of aging. Which sounds amazing. But is it as amazing as it sounds? Or is it just a hype?
First, you should know that I always discuss these “sciency” nutrition posts with my Registered Dietitian! Also, different things work for everyone. This is just my opinion, based on my research 🙂
Let’s Check Out The Ingredients!
Super greens powders usually contain anywhere from 20-40 (!!) ingredients. Liiiiiike:
- Leafy green veggies (spinach, kale, etc.)
- Other veggies (ex. broccoli, carrots, beets)
- Green tea extract
- Antioxidant-rich fruits (berries, acaí)
To give this supplement even more of a boost, some brands use additives like probiotics, extra fiber, and digestive enzymes. And of course, they need to taste good! So you’ll usually see Stevia or monk fruit sugar on the ingredients list.
To transform these ingredients into that pretty green powder, they’re usually just dried and ground up. Or sometimes, they’re juiced first and THEN dried. Some brands even ferment the veggies they use before they dry them. This is cool because it can boost the vitamin and mineral content.
So yeah, there’s a ton of good stuff in super greens powders. But are the actual claims about these powders legit?
Claim: Super Greens Boost Immunity
Don’t wanna get sick? Drink your greens powder! Sounds nice and easy, but does it actually work like that?
It’s not quite that simple. Yes, a super greens powder will give you vitamins and minerals that support the immune system, like vitamin A and C. Some also have probiotics, which can improve overall gut health and improve immune health.
Super greens also have tons of antioxidants and other nutrients that may help with inflammation. Keeping long-term inflammation at bay not only keeps your immune system in tip-top shape, but it also helps to prevent chronic disease.
But to have a healthy immune system and to improve your overall HEALTH, you need more than just a supplement! You need good overall nutrition, exercise, lots of water, sleep, and stress management. A healthy lifestyle is key.
Claim: Greens Powders Help Your Body Detox
We’ve been through this in our little chats about “detox teas.” Your body is already pretty amazing at removing toxins. Your liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, and even your skin work to “detox” your body.
Foods or supplements that promise to help your body detox sound really appealing. I get it! But any difference these things do make is super small, and your body is already doing its thing! And research just isn’t there to say for sure that certain foods can “boost” this system.
However. Greens DO have tons of antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals (which damage cells).
Claim: Super Greens Give You Energy
Ahhh I think we ALL feel like more energy would be nice sometimes, right?! But can a supplement really boost energy?
Not really in the way some brands make it sound. Greens powder doesn’t just have some magical ability to make you feel more awake and alert. But remember that looooong list of ingredients? There are some things on there that COULD help with energy. For example – green tea extract. Green tea has caffeine! And caffeine can make you feel more alert.
As for greens powders without green tea, more research is needed to really say for sure.
Claim: Super Greens Help With Aging
Are you seeing a trend yet? Adding a scoop of super greens to your day can give you extra nutrients that support healthy aging too! Buuuut if you look for research about the connection between these nutrients and aging, you’ll find that …
A. The studies focus on getting those nutrients from whole foods and
B. Overall health plays the biggest role in skin health. There’s no magic concoction of veggies that serves as a fountain of youth 😉
There’s Nothing Better For You Than FOOD!
Sooo here are the pros:
YES super greens powders have tons of good stuff in them
They make it super easy to get more vitamins, minerals, and sometimes probiotics into your day.
They’re more convenient than fresh produce
Annnnd here are the cons:
Super greens are PRICEY – they range from about 22 to 99 cents PER SCOOP. That can really add up!
They lack fiber – One of the best benefits of veggies is fiber! And when greens are processed into supplement powder, they lose that fiber. One scoop of a super greens powder usually contains around 2 grams of fiber. This definitely doesn’t replace the fiber from food that helps with appetite, digestion, and cardiovascular health.
Sometimes they contain other “stuff” – It’s important to choose a reputable brand! You’ll even see on the label that claims aren’t evaluated by the FDA. Also, some greens powders have been found to contain contaminants.
They’re not for everyone – Some powders contain herbs and additives that may interact with some medications or pose a risk to anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
My advice? Treat your greens powder like a supplement. Like your daily multivitamin! Don’t take them to replace food.
You know I’m always gonna be team real food. If you want a little boost of nutrients and you don’t mind the cost, I think greens powders could be a great supplement option! But I also know you can get everything your body needs from food. If you decide to try a greens powder, do your research and talk to your doctor first!
Have you tried a greens powder? What did you think?!