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Super Greens: Are Greens Powders Healthy Or Just Hype?

If you take a look at the health food aisle of your supplement store, you’ll see an array of green ‘superfood’ powders, from kale and barley grass to spirulina and chlorella. In this article, I’ll reveal if green powders really stack up, or are they simply superfood hype. Read Now!

Nutrition is a field that is debated as ferociously as politics and religion. Followers of paleo, keto, vegan, low-fat, and low-carb incessantly argue about who’s diet is the best and why. However, there’s one aspect of nutrition that almost everyone agrees upon eating more vegetables is a good thing. It’s no mystery as to why. Research on diets that are rich in vegetables consistently shows that eating your veggies may boost heart health, prevent cancer, and reduce the risk of early death.

5 Science-backed Reasons You Should Eat More Vegetables Every Day

  1. Vegetable intakes were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality. (R)
  2. Eating more vegetables is associated with a lower risk of colorectal and oral cancers. (R, R)
  3. Eating more vegetables (not necessarily variety) is associated with lower risk of heart disease. (R)
  4. Sulfurofane-rich broccoli sprouts reduces UV-induced skin damage in mice. (R)
  5. Beetroot juice was found to significantly lower systolic blood pressure. (R)

Another important reason that health and nutrition experts promote a vegetable-rich diet is that so few people eat as many as they should.

In fact, a 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an overwhelming majority of Americans are skimping on their vegetables. The researchers discovered that only 9% of Americans are meeting the US dietary guidelines of one and a half to two cups of vegetables per day. (R)

This is a major issue because recent research from Imperial College London found that eating 10 servings of vegetables (and fruits) is the magic number to shoot for. Specifically, researchers discovered that eating 10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day led to a:

  • 24% reduced risk of heart disease
  • 33% reduced risk of stroke
  • 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • 13% reduced risk of total cancer
  • 31% reduction in premature deaths

Enough with the research. I think you get the point that eating your veggies is a solid approach to boosting your health and preventing chronic diseases. And it’s a recommendation that is backed by serious science as well as your favorite online nutrition guru. You might think, “Ok Ted, but that has to do with eating actual vegetables. So what about greens powders that celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Zac Efron and supermodels are obsessed with?” Great question.

What Are Greens Powders?

Let’s first talk about what greens powders are and what they contain. Greens powders are dietary supplements that you can mix into water or other liquids. This is important to point out because they’re designed to supplement your diet—not to replace eating vegetables and fruits. These supplements have a lot of nutrients in them but they won’t make up for a lack of nutrition in your diet. Greens powder formulations vary by brand but generally have 25–40 or more different ingredients. These commonly include:

  • Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Other vegetables: Beets, carrot,
  • Sea vegetables: Spirulina, chlorella, kelp
  • Grasses: Wheat grass, alfalfa grass, barley grass
  • Mushrooms: Reishi, shitake, maitake
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits: Acai, goji, blueberries
  • Adaptogenic herbs: Ashwaganda, rhodiola, astragulus
  • Spices: Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon

Greens powder products will also add things like probiotics, enzymes, and more to their ingredients list. The ingredients used in these supplements is generally dried and then ground into powder. Some of them may be juiced and then dehydrated, or extracted from whole foods.
Some companies are using sprouted or fermented ingredients. This increases nutrient availability and breaks down compounds that can block absorption. (R, R, R) Greens powders are usually vegan and contain organic as well as non-GMO ingredients.

The price and quality of greens powders vary a lot depending on the product. Many of them also make exaggerated claims about their products. So make sure you read the rest of this article to separate fact from fiction with regards to greens powders.

Common Health Claims About Greens Supplements

In this section, we’re going to examine some common health claims made by companies selling greens powder supplements. This way you’ll be able to separate the facts from the fiction and make an educated and informed decision about whether you should take one of these supplements or not.

Will a greens supplement prevent chronic diseases?

After reading about the disease-fighting powers of eating more vegetables, you might immediately ask if a greens powder would perform the same way. Great question. Unfortunately, we don’t have the same level of evidence to support this idea. That said, there are a few studies that looked into the effects of greens supplementation on health biomarkers. One study gave 10 grams (roughly two tablespoons) of greens powder every day to 10 health subjects. Researchers found that the blood levels of oxidated proteins decreased by 30% in four weeks. .

In another study, researchers gave 10 grams (roughly two tablespoons) of greens powder every day to 40 people with high blood pressure for 90-days. They found that the systolic and diastolic blood pressure dropped about 8% in the greens supplement group while the control group didn’t show any improvement. While more studies are needed to say for sure, it’s a good bet that adding a greens powder to your supplement arsenal might make a difference—especially if you’re failing to eat the 10 servings of vegetables and fruits every day.

Can greens powders detoxify your body?

This is a million-dollar question. Especially the detoxing types that are always searching for that weird detox trick that will make their belly disappear. The truth is detoxes and detoxing supplements are big business. It’s easy to understand why. We’re inundated with man-made chemicals in the modern world. These are substances that never existed before in nature and have been produced and introduced into our lives at a fast pace.

This is a million-dollar question. Especially the detoxing types that are always searching for that weird detox trick that will make their belly disappear. The truth is detoxes and detoxing supplements are big business. It’s easy to understand why. We’re inundated with man-made chemicals in the modern world. These are substances that never existed before in nature and have been produced and introduced into our lives at a fast pace.

Although we’d like to believe that government agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration have our safety as their priority, there’s growing concern that large companies are capable of undermining the truth about the published evidence regarding the safety of all the man-made chemicals in our environment. The suspicion is that these companies may be trading lives for profits.

On the other side, we have alternative health proponents make strong statements about how the toxins in our environment are the real cause of the obesity crisis, cancer rates, and other health issues that plague the modern world.

Personally, I think the truth is somewhere in between. More specifically, I believe that the best way to “detox” your body is to get rid of excess body fat—and environmental chemicals definitely don’t cause that. Eating too much food does.

Secondly, your liver is what removes toxins from your body. So neither juices nor eating extra vegetables will detoxify your body. With all that said, there are definitely some greens powders that contain ingredients that have scientific evidence to support your body’s natural detoxification process (in human biology they’re called biotransformation pathways for you physiology nerds).

These supplements all have strong scientific evidence supporting their role in detoxification:

  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (R)
  • Glycine (R)
  • Milk Thistle (R)
  • Spirulina (R, R)

While you won’t find many (or any) greens powder supplements with NAC and glycine in them, several have milk thistle and spirulina included as ingredients. So it’s plausible that supplements containing these compounds can help you get rid of toxins in your system but they need to be included in the proper amounts.

Is Will drinking a greens powder boost my immune system?

Many greens powders do contain ingredients that are linked to boosting immune system function. Ingredients that contain sufficient amounts of Vitamins A, B-6, C, E, zinc, and selenium have the potential to boost your immunity. Other ingredients like astragulus, reishi (lingzi) mushroom, holy basil, and chlorella can increase your immune system function as well.

Do greens supplements help you burn fat and lose weight?

Let me get this out of the way right now. Taking a greens powder without changing your nutrition or exercise routine will NOT lead to weight loss. Only dialing in your food intake in line with your activity levels will do that. Now that we have that important message out of the way, a greens supplement may help you to lose fat in an indirect way.

If you’re overweight or obese, you’re creating more free radicals and pro-inflammatory chemicals than someone who has healthy body fat levels. Because of this, getting in shape will be more difficult due to chronic levels of inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to joint injuries, low testosterone levels and an impaired ability to gain muscle.

In a 9-month study done on postmenopausal women and strength training, the women’s belly fat levels correlated with inflammation levels. The women who had the highest amount of belly fat, had the highest levels of inflammation and had the hardest time changing their bodies with exercise.

In plain English, this means that if you’re fat, there’s a very strong chance that you have higher levels of inflammation than you should. This can lower your energy levels, make it harder for you to recover from exercise, and increase the chances that you’ll injure a joint when you’re pushing yourself in the gym. (R)

I’m mentioning this because a randomized controlled trial found that taking a greens powder supplement decreased inflammation levels and improved circulation in obese women who were exercising. (R)

This could indirectly lead to fat loss through lowering inflammation levels and allowing for greater recovery from exercise. But again, taking a greens powder and expecting to lose weight without any change in your nutrition or activity levels ain’t going to happen.

Should you take a Greens Powder Supplement? 

Let’s answer the question that you may have on your mind right now after reviewing all the above information. Should you take a greens supplement or not? Well, it depends.

If you’re eating a diet that easily includes 10 servings of the highest nutrient-density vegetables and fruits, then you may not get much from a greens supplement. Most of us aren’t, right?

So, if this is your case, then a greens supplement may help—especially if you have excess body fat levels and are looking for an easy way to get more greens and other nutrient-dense foods in your diet. Just don’t expect it to do all that much for you if you’re not willing to change your lifestyle.

Why You Shouldn’t Take A Greens Powder

Don’t take a greens powder thinking that it’ll eliminate the need to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. There are two things that are missing from superfood powders: the water content which real vegetables contain, and the dietary fiber, which are abundant in all vegetables. Missing the fiber means that you’re missing the hunger-curbing power that eating vegetables and fruits contain. Although it’s tempting to believe that the powdered form of vegetables are just as good, you’re far better off eating the original whole food.

Also, forget a greens powder if you’re looking for a magic pill to help you get your health back. Approaching superfood powders or any other supplement as a panacea for whatever health problems you have is a sure sign you need a complete mindset shift around how you approach your health.

Wondering What I Do?   

 

Personally, I use greens powder supplements. I know a ton about nutrition. If you’ve seen my before and after photos in my Success Story section on my website, you know that’s true. However, I still don’t eat as well as I could eat—especially when I’m hard at work for my clients, recording podcasts, and writing articles like this. Instead of lying to myself and saying that I’ll just eat better, I accept where I’m at and drink my greens. It’s easy and there are proven benefits to eating more greens—even if they’re dehydrated greens in a powdered supplement.

On top of that, I just feel better when I drink greens juices or powdered greens supplements. Maybe it’s the placebo effect. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m drinking a grassy-tasting beverage that is strictly for my health and obviously not for the taste. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s easier for our bodies to absorb the nutrients from juices and powdered supplements than it is to digest raw and cooked vegetables. Whatever the reason is, I’m going to keep doing it until I feel like I’m not getting the results I want.

My Favorite Super Greens Powder

In case you’re wondering which powder I use, I’ll cover that and more here. First let me say that I’ve tried probably a dozen or so greens and superfood powder supplements. And I’ll tell you that there are a lot of high-quality powders on the market. The biggest issue that you’re going to run into is taste. Some of the higher-quality ones are very, very difficult to get down. And that’s coming from me—a person who eats things like natto, drinks straight green juice with no fruit to sweeten it up, and chews big chunks of raw ginger when I feel a sore throat coming on.

So on taste alone, there is only one winner in my opinion and that’s Organifi. I think it’s the highest-quality greens supplement that you’ll actually drink. Another reason I like Organifi is that you can buy single serving Go Pack that you can take with you while you’re travelling instead of filling zip lock bags full of grassy-smelling green powder. But don’t take my word for it. If you’re interested in trying Organifi, go to www.organifi.com and use the code TED20 to receive 20% off your first order. Keep in mind that this is a limited-time offer for readers of the Legendary Life podcast.

 

>Click Here To Buy Organifi Green Juice now! Use promocode TED20 to save 20% OFF>

 

Wrapping It Up

I hope I helped you understand the importance of good nutrition and if you want to boost your energy, reduce inflammation and feel better take advantage of this special discount that I got from my favorite Greens Powder and order today. One more thing: don’t wait for things to settle down. For the kids to be old enough, for work to calm down, for the economy to recover, for the weather to cooperate, for your bad back to let up just a little…

Regardless of whether you can afford fancy superfood supplements or not, do something today…take a walk with some friends, go for a bike ride, do some bodyweight squats, drop and give me as many push ups with good form as you can or hold a front plank for as long as you can. The thing is, people who make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive.

Instead, they make their ruckus when they are short of sleep, out of money, hungry, in the middle of a domestic mess and during a blizzard. The best time to get your health and body back is TODAY.

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