Getting in your daily greens has never been easier thanks to the influx of new greens powders that can easily be added to a morning smoothie. Made with blue-green algae like spirulina and chlorella, wheat grass, barley, alfalfa, and other fruits and vegetables, greens powders provide a mega dose of concentrated fruits and vegetables in every sip.
However, there are a lot of greens powders on the market that boast wide-sweeping claims, and quality seriously matters when it comes to selecting the best one. We’ve found the best greens powders (and ones to steer clear of) and examined if greens powders really are a healthy addition to your diet.
Health Benefits of Greens Powders
Greens and green leafy vegetables are essential to a wholesome diet. Consumption of green foods (kale, collard greens, spirulina, and bok choy, among so many others) is associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and type-II diabetes thanks to their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
According to Consumer Lab’s 2016 product review of greens powders, greens and whole foods powders contain a variety nutrients including carotenoids, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, nucleic acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are essential for normal biological functions, disease protection, energy production, and the maintenance of a healthy and happy body.
Chlorella is a type of blue-green algae and the main ingredient in many greens powders; it’s also a supreme source of carotenoids that have been shown to significantly lower triglycerides and total cholesterol levels in men and women, according to a 2014 study. Blue-green algae have also been shown to prevent heart disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, according to this 2013 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
Greens powders are often labeled with a variety of health claims (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, etc.), most of which have not been supported by research. Many claim that greens powders are alkalizing, or that they help to keep the body’s blood in a balanced and alkaline state, therefore preventing disease.
According to Consumer Lab’s report, “there is little evidence, however, to suggest that an acid-producing diet is the foundation of chronic illness or that food consumption will easily change the pH of your blood.”
In fact, the body tightly regulates the pH of the blood between the range of 7.35-7.45. Foods consumed will briefly increase or decrease the pH of urine or saliva but will have no effect on the pH of the blood.