Green Drink Powders – The Scoop Before You Start Scooping

By on February 25, 2018

By Gerry Morton—

There’s a relatively new plant-based food product in town and chances are you’ve already been exposed to it. I’m talking about green food-based products. These are typically featured as powders or capsules that contain an array of dried green leafy vegetables, grasses, sea vegetables, herbs or algae. Many also contain probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes. While some products will use isolated vitamins and nutrients, many simply use whole foods in extracted form.

We do know many green foods, especially dark leafy green veggies, are very nutrient-dense. In fact, compared to other plant foods, greens can provide the most nutrients per calorie.

Some outstanding nutrients that we find in green foods include various vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, chlorophyll, other phytonutrients, not to mention the many properties we have yet to discover in greens.

They can be useful for several situations. Perhaps you’re travelling or temporarily don’t have access to as many vegetables as you’d like to keep your plant-based diet going strong. You may want to simply give some of your recipes a boost, like your occasional morning smoothie. Or perhaps you’re trying to tackle some nutrient deficiencies by filling in the gaps with an extra nutritional boost.  Also, let’s face it, some days are so busy or interrupted by unexpected events that we’re left lacking in the meal-planning department.

Whatever the case is, there’s a few things to keep in mind when selecting a green drink powder. Surprise, surprise: Not all green powders out there are the same.

What to Look & Look Out For

Keep your standards high when selecting a green powder. Look for certified organic, non-GMO ingredients that are 100% plant-based.

Is it truly “natural” as most products claim? Make sure it is free of added sugar, sugar alcohols, and artificial sweeteners.

Does a powdered form work? We have one study documented in a peer-reviewed journal, the journal of Chiropractic Medicine, which shows benefits of reduced blood pressure in hypertensive adults that were taking a powdered fruit and vegetable mix for 90 days. 1 While even this cited study agrees that more research is needed for a more complete body of evidence, these results are promising. 

Keep a Balanced Viewpoint

That being said, remember the green powder approach does not replace or out-supplement a suboptimal diet. Make sure to keep your expectations in check. Don’t expect magical health benefits from drinking greens compared to eating them.

I repeat, green drink powders won’t bail you out of a diet rich in whole plant foods. It can support it, though. Your whole foods, plant-based diet provides nutrients from different foods that work synergistically to help your body absorb and use different nutrients at play.

What can you expect from a greens powder? One goal it may help you with is restoring or optimizing your pH balance. As we now know, the net acid load of most Western diets (abundant in grains and proteins but scarce in fruits and vegetables) may negatively influence health issues such as osteoporosis, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and overall health.

While we do have internal buffering systems to help neutralize dietary acids, the effects of an acid-producing diet over a longer period of time can still be detrimental to health. Although this is a relatively new area of research, a growing body of evidence does indicate that long-term consumption of acid-producing foods is linked with greater magnesium and calcium excretion and higher cortisol production. 2,3 Some research even indicates higher acidic load diets are associated with more muscle wasting. On the flipside, higher intake of potassium-rich (an alkalizing mineral) foods helps preserve lean muscle mass. 4

Green leafy veggies are alkaline. So are the powders made out of them. They may be a convenient way to optimize your body’s acid/base balance. In fact, the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a compelling study on the effects of daily supplementation with greens on urinary pH (urinary pH being a reliable way to measure dietary acid load). 5

After two weeks of daily supplementation, urinary pH of study subjects increased in a statistically significant way. Subjects who started with a urinary pH level in the more acidic range were able to improve their levels and bring them into a more alkaline range. 5

The green supplement featured ingredients most high-quality powders include, such as organic cereal grasses, organic red beet powder, spirulina, chlorella, several cultures of probiotics, and several herbs including green tea extract and Siberian ginseng extract.5 As aforementioned, all green powders differ in quality and content. However, these are just a few of the ingredients some high-quality powders do include.

How to Use Green Powders

Some high-quality green drink powders can pack as much as 5 to 7 servings of vegetables into one scoop. Using a scoop of green powder is as simple as stirring it into water. However, there are plenty of other creative ways to incorporate a scoop here and there. You can mix it into bean dips, sauces, soups, overnight oats, your favorite fruit and veggie ice pop recipe, or even blended into a nut butter, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and/or fresh fruit mix (such as berries).

About Gerry:

Gerry Morton holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in numerous marathons and Ironman triathlons. He is lead educator for Greens Plus, an industry leader in superfood products such natural energy bars, green powder supplement, whey protein since 1989. Read the Greens Plus blog at http://blog.greensplus.com. Gerry is an expert on the subjects of nutrition, peak performance, motivation, entrepreneurship, and empowerment.

Stay connect via Twitter: @GreensPlus | Facebook: GreensPlus

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Green Drink Powders – The Scoop Before You Start Scooping