Superfood is considered a marketing term for food assumed to confer health benefits resulting from exceptional nutrient density. This is a term not commonly used by experts, nutrition scientists and dietitians, of which many dispute that particular foods have the health benefits claimed by their advocates. Here Marsha McColloch, MS, RD, HealthLine.com, reflects on super greens and whether green powders are healthy:
“It’s no secret that most people don’t eat enough vegetables.
Greens powders are dietary supplements designed to help you reach your daily recommended vegetable intake.
Product labels claim that greens powders can support your body’s immunity, energy levels, detoxification and more — but you may wonder if science supports these purported benefits.
This article tells you whether greens powders are healthy.
What Are Greens Powders?
Greens powders are dietary supplements that you can mix into water and other liquids.
They typically have a green hue and can taste a bit grassy. Natural sugar substitutes are often added to improve flavor.
- Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, collards, parsley
- Seaweed: Spirulina, chlorella, dulse, kelp
- Other vegetables: Broccoli, beets, carrots, tomatoes, green cabbage
- Grasses: Barley grass, wheatgrass, oat grass, alfalfa grass
- High-antioxidant fruits: Blueberries, raspberries, goji and acai berries
- Nutritional extracts: Green tea extract, grape seed extract, ginkgo biloba extract
- Probiotics: Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis
- Plant-based digestive enzymes: Amylase, cellulase, lipase, papain, protease
- Herbs: Holy basil, astragalus, echinacea, milk thistle
- Mushrooms: Maitake mushroom extract, shiitake mushroom extract
- Natural sugar substitutes: Stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract
- Extra fiber: Rice bran, inulin, apple fiber
The produce used in these supplements is generally dried and then ground into powder. Alternatively, some ingredients may be juiced, then dehydrated, or certain components of the whole food may be extracted.
A newer trend is to sprout or ferment ingredients, which increases vitamin levels and helps break down compounds that can interfere with mineral absorption (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
The formulations are often vegan, as well as non-genetically-modified and organic — but check the product label for these details.
Prices of greens powders range from 22 to 99 cents or more per scoop (about 10 grams or two tablespoons), depending on the specific ingredients.
Nutrition Varies Based on Ingredients
Because ingredients of greens powders vary by brand, the nutritional value often differs between products.
On average, one scoop (10 grams or two tablespoons) of greens powder contains (6Trusted Source):
- Calories: 40
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Total carbs: 7 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2 grams
- Sugars: 1 gram
- Protein: 2 grams
- Sodium: 2% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin A (as beta-carotene): 80% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 80% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 60% of the RDI
- Calcium: 5% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
- Iodine: 100% of the RDI
- Selenium: 70% of the RDI
- Chromium: 60% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
The powders are generally low-calorie, but mixing them with something other than water may add calories.
Greens powders don’t always list the content of all vitamins and minerals. They generally aren’t as complete as a standard multivitamin and mineral supplement.
In some cases, greens powders are formulated as meal replacements, which makes the product more nutritionally complete and higher in calories.
Though not quantified on the label, greens powders are generally high in polyphenols and other plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions (1Trusted Source).
A Supplement Worth Considering
The nutrients and plant compounds in greens powders may support overall wellness when used in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Additionally, probiotics added to greens powders may support immune function and digestive health. However, the value of added plant-based digestive enzymes is uncertain (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Greens powders have been tested in a few small studies, but results can vary by brand and supplement formulation.
Additionally, product manufacturers typically fund these studies, which increases the risk of bias. Therefore, it’s best to keep a healthy degree of skepticism.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/super-greens#benefits
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