In recent years, the popularity of greens supplements has skyrocketed. These powdered blends claim to provide a convenient and nutrient-dense way to boost your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. But are they really worth the hype and the investment? It can be difficult for the average person to get enough micronutrients due to a variety of reasons and obstacles. Adequate micronutrients from fruits and vegetables is a recommendation for better health outcomes and yet it can be challenging to consistently reach these targets.
Enter the greens supplement. The proposed solution for people who lack adequate intake of their micronutrients.
First, let’s define what a greens supplement is. These supplements typically contain a variety of powdered fruits, vegetables, and herbs, along with added vitamins and minerals. They are marketed as a way to improve overall health and provide the body with a range of nutrients that might be lacking in the diet.
While greens supplements do offer a convenient way to consume more plant-based nutrients, they are not a magic bullet. It’s important to remember that they are not a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet. Eating a variety of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains is still the best way to obtain the full spectrum of nutrients that your body needs. Many brands will claim their green supplements are of superior quality and value due to processing down “whole foods”. These brands will imply their products retain the highest bioavailability and will often cite their products have much higher levels of various micronutrients. It is important to take claims made by the company with a grain of salt and to make an informed choice. We will highlight a list below on the things you can consider before purchasing greens supplements if you determine that it is the right choice for your needs.
That being said, greens supplements can be a useful addition to a healthy diet, especially for those who struggle to consume enough plant-based foods. They can also be a good option for people who are on the go and need a quick and easy way to get their daily dose of fruits and vegetables. The biggest trade off to consider is the cost. Green supplements will often be as high as $2-3+ per serving for the convenience of the powdered form.
One of the key benefits of greens supplements is that they are often rich in antioxidants. These compounds help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which can contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Greens supplements may also be beneficial for digestive health. Many of them contain prebiotics and probiotics, which can help to improve gut health and support the immune system. Be mindful of proprietary blends or brands that hide how much of each ingredient is in the product.
So now that we understand some of the benefits and considerations around green supplements, let’s take a look at 12 things to consider before purchasing greens.
- Ingredients and Transparency: Look for supplements that provide a clear list of ingredients and their respective amounts. Quality greens supplements will often contain a variety of whole food sources, including fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Avoid supplements with proprietary blends, as they don’t disclose the specific amounts of each ingredient.
- Nutrient Profile: Check the nutrient profile to ensure the supplement contains a diverse range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. A well-rounded greens supplement should offer a broad spectrum of nutrients.
- Quality of Ingredients: Opt for supplements that use organic and non-GMO ingredients whenever possible. High-quality ingredients are more likely to retain their nutrient content and be free from harmful pesticides or chemicals.
- Processing Methods: Consider how the ingredients are processed and sourced. Freeze-drying and low-temperature processing methods help preserve the nutrient content of the ingredients, ensuring maximum benefit.
- Added Nutrients: Some greens supplements may also include added vitamins, minerals, or probiotics. Ensure that these additional components are in appropriate amounts and forms that are bioavailable to the body.
- Allergens and Sensitivities: Check the label for potential allergens, such as wheat, soy, or dairy, especially if you have known sensitivities or allergies.
- Reviews and Reputation: Look for reviews and testimonials from trusted sources or other users to gauge the effectiveness and quality of the supplement.
- Dosage and Serving Size: Review the recommended dosage and serving size. Some supplements require larger servings to provide significant benefits, so consider how long a container will last based on the recommended usage.
- Certifications: Look for third-party certifications, such as USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, or NSF Certified for Sport. These certifications indicate a higher level of quality and accountability.
- Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before introducing any new supplement into your regimen, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying health conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking medications.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Consider the cost of the supplement in relation to the benefits it offers. While high-quality supplements may be more expensive, they can provide valuable nutrients that support your health.
- Personal Health Goals: Understand your personal health goals when choosing a greens supplement. Some supplements may be tailored to specific goals, such as improving digestion, increasing energy, or supporting immune health.
Incorporate these considerations into your decision-making process when evaluating greens supplements. Remember that while these supplements can enhance nutrient intake, they are not a replacement for a balanced diet comprising whole foods. When integrated thoughtfully alongside a healthy lifestyle, greens supplements can serve as a beneficial aspect of your wellness regimen.