People don’t eat enough vegetables, and that is a fact. And we all know why — they don’t taste great, why eat veggies when you can have a burger and so on…
Vegetables are, unfortunately, full of essential nutrients that we need. It’s hence important that we try our best to get as much of its’ goodness.
But what if you just can’t stand the taste of vegetables? This is where green powders come in handy!
Green powders are a dietary supplement that you can use in smoothies, sprinkle on top of your meals, or mix with water or other liquids to get your five-a-day.
They tend to have numerous ingredients in them, including leafy greens, seaweed, grasses, and herbs. These ingredients are dried before being ground into a powder and then mixed together to form your green powder. Out of the many ingredients, the most popular ones are spirulina, Chlorella, barley grass, wheatgrass, alfalfa, and spinach.
OK, hold up, you lost me at the first one. Spiru-what?
Many of the ingredients in green powders are quite foreign to us and sound like stuff out of a biology textbook. If you’re interested in green powders and want to know what these ingredients are, and more importantly, what benefits they have, keep reading!
In this article, we will be focusing on six of the most popular green powder ingredients and how they benefit your health!
Spirulina is blue-green algae and a type of cyanobacteria that has a 60% protein content, making it an ideal energy source for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Spirulina also helps lower cholesterol levels, commonly associated with heart disease. A 2013 study showed that participants who took one gram of spirulina every day had reduced levels of cholesterol after three months.
It reduces the amount of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) while increasing the amount of HDL (“good” cholesterol) in your blood, which aids in maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol in your blood.
This ingredient is also said to improve mental health thanks to tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps maintain a person’s mental well-being by regulating mood, anxiety, and happiness.
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People suffering from mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety have low levels of serotonin, so spirulina can alleviate the symptoms of these mental health conditions through the production of serotonin.
Spirulina also helps control blood sugar levels. and has even surpassed popular diabetes drugs, including Metformin. Moreover, it’s well-received by most people as it does not cause significant side effects, though you may experience headaches, sweating or insomnia.
The recommended daily intake is one to three grams, though doses of up to 10 grams per day have been effective in improving one’s health.
These single-celled, green algae are found in freshwater and are often used to produce nutritional supplements and medicine. It enhances your immune system by producing more antibodies, helping fight off pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.
A small study showed that men produced more antibodies when taking chlorella than when they took a placebo. Moreover, chlorella increases the body’s white blood cell count, improving the protection of the body from infectious diseases.
Chlorella also helps lower cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that taking five to ten grams of chlorella per day lowered the total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in people suffering from high blood pressure and/or slightly elevated cholesterol.
There are some side effects of chlorella in amounts more than recommended, such as diarrhea, gas (flatulence), green discoloration of stool, stomach cramps, and nausea in the first two weeks of ingestion. The recommended daily dosage is two to three grams.
Barley grass is the young, green shoots that crop up on the barley plant. It’s extremely rich in nutrients, containing many vitamins including vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K. It’s also loaded with electrolytes such as potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, along with essential minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc.
It also has very high levels of fiber. Barley grass is known to reduce cholesterol, similar to spirulina and chlorella. On top of that, it also aids in cancer prevention by tissue cells against carcinogens. It’s suggested that complexes formed between the chlorophyll in barley grass and the carcinogen cause the latter to be inactivated.
The antioxidants in barley grass also help protect against radiation and free radicals, which aids in the prevention of cancer.
Ladies rejoice, for barley grass also blocks the signs of aging! It is a natural way to stimulate the regeneration of cells without any side effects. The chlorophyll, iron and vitamin B found in barley grass helps renew and regenerate cells, which leads to the maintenance of healthy and youthful skin.
You don’t have to spend hundreds on facials and anti-aging serums anymore! It also rejuvenates the entire body by supporting the production of white blood cells and red blood cells.
It’s is generally safe to consume, but you might experience itching or a burning sensation in the throat and mouth. It’s recommended to take a dosage of 15 grams per day.
Wheatgrass is prepared from the freshly sprouted leaves of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It’s affectionately known as “green blood” because it contains high levels of chlorophyll which gives wheatgrass its green hue.
It contains antioxidant properties thanks to glutathione and vitamins C and E, that aid in keeping the body healthy. These substances fight free radicals to prevent cell damage and reduce oxidative stress. Some studies have also found that antioxidants may help combat conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.
Wheatgrass also helps reduce blood sugar levels. It can raise insulin levels which lower blood glucose concentrations, which is useful for people suffering from diabetes and need to decrease their blood sugar levels.
However, wheatgrass may have some side effects such as headaches, diarrhea, and nausea. If you suffer from these symptoms, it’s best to reduce your intake. No standard dosage of wheatgrass has been established, so the appropriate amount depends on your age and health status. Most people start by taking 28 grams per day, then increasing it to 58 grams per day when appropriate.
Alfalfa is an herb that has been long prized for its high content of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It can help in lowering cholesterol levels due to its high content of plant compounds known as saponins. Saponins decrease the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and increasing the excretion of compounds that produce more cholesterol.
Alfalfa also reduces inflammation and has long been used in the traditional treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. It contains high levels of vitamin B and C, as well as calcium and antioxidant compounds, that reduce inflammation in the joints and around the body while strengthening the immune system and preventing chronic disease and oxidative stress.
Alfalfa is mostly safe when taken in moderation, however, alfalfa tablets are recommended instead. The excessive consumption of raw alfalfa sprouts can have negative effects on the body, such as inflammation and lupus-like symptoms.
If you are pregnant or already suffering from lupus, it’s best not to consume alfalfa. The general dosage is five to ten grams of the dried herb three times a day.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that originated in Persia. It’s considered a superfood as it’s loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and calcium.
Spinach is known to improve your eyesight thanks to its’ high levels of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene boosts eye health and prevents vitamin A deficiencies, eye ulcers, and dry eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin act as strong antioxidants that prevent the eyes from the harsh effects of UV rays that can lead to cataracts.
Spinach also helps moderate blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease as it contains high amounts of nitrates. Spinach is also high in potassium, helping to lower blood pressure.
Do take note that consuming too much potassium can be harmful to those with kidney problems and cannot get rid of excess potassium. There is no appropriate range of doses for spinach that has been established, but it largely depends on several factors such as your age and health status. It’s best to consult your doctor on the appropriate amount to consume per day.
So there you have it! These are six of ingredients that you will likely find in a green powder. It’s extremely important to ensure that the ingredients in your green powder are of high quality to ensure that it will benefit you.
You’ll also have to ensure that you take the appropriate amount of these ingredients in order for them to be useful to them. As such, before purchasing, make sure you check that your green powder an appropriate amount of each ingredient to fully benefit from their nutrients!
- Hi, my name is Sandra! I am the main author and reviewer of Super Greens Expert. I am a keen juicer as I was want to get all my daily veggies. Having found super greens I now use one such supplement daily.