Your grandma likely told you to ‘eat your greens’ and now science shows she was right. Green vegetables are nature’s life-giving superfood, full of nutrients and powerful phytochemicals to help you fight free radicals, detox your body, improve your immunity, and reverse the visible signs of aging.
So how can we squeeze as many greens as possible into our diet?
If you have been part of our community for a while, you will know how much we love green juicing and it’s close convenient counterpart superfood green powders. For many, juicing can be a chore and if you’re short on time adding a wholefood super green powder into your routine is a great insurance policy for your health - with a condensed sip of nutrient-rich vegetables filled with essential nutrients and phytochemicals in each spoonful. This is more important in today’s society as the food we eat today is often grown in depleted soils, lacks diversity, and is highly processed.
But not all green powders are created equal, so choosing the right blend has never been more important. Much of it has to do with how the grasses are grown, prepared, and processed. Opting for blends that work in cold press juiced or freeze-dried greens ensure you are getting high-quality nutrients from a richer, finer blend where possible. It’s the closest thing to fresh that you’ll find - so opt for it where you can.
What Is a Green Superfood Powder?
A green superfood powder is made up of dehydrated or freeze-dried vegetables, herbs, algae, and superfoods. This creates a condensed nutrient-rich powder that can be easily added into water which creates the next best thing to a fresh green juice.
Why take a greens powder?
Here are some of the reasons why you might add a greens powder to your wellness routine.
Depleted Soil and More Transit Time
The food we consume today is very different from what it was even 50 years ago. Current mono-crop industrial farming techniques deplete the soil of crucial nutrients. As a result, many of the fruits and vegetables produced are lower in vitamins and minerals. This is exacerbated by the prolonged transit and storage time of the fresh produce on the supermarket shelves.
Juicing Lets You Add a Wide Variety of Fruit and Vegetables to Your Diet
Many of us eat the same vegetables and fruits every day or worse, don't even eat any on a regular basis! With juicing, you can enjoy a wide variety of vegetables that you don't enjoy eating whole. Juicing is also the perfect way to consume the recommended daily serving of vegetables.
Reduced Food Diversity and Wild Varieties
We have much less plant diversity in our diet than we used to. Due to consumer demand, many of our vegetables and herbs have been bred to be less bitter, sweeter, and generally, more uniform. This has reduced the micronutrient content of what we are eating. Additionally, we tend to stick to the same vegetables, meal after meal. Different vegetables, herbs, and fruits contain different nutrients, so the more diversity we have in our diet the more diversity of nutrients our body receives. Think about it… when was the last time you had a dandelion leaf or some broccoli sprouts?
Modern Lifestyle Depletes Vitamins and Minerals
We are getting fewer nutrients, but our busy modern lifestyle actually requires more to function optimally.
One example of this is our detoxification pathway. In the modern world, we are exposed to an unprecedented amount of toxic chemicals and substances our liver needs to detoxify. They are in our personal care products, cleaning products, sprayed on our food, in our water, and throughout the air. To be able to process these chemicals optimally, our liver requires specific nutrients that are abundant in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) and bitter greens or herbs like dandelion, globe artichoke leaf, and St. Mary’s thistle.
Best Way To Alkalize Your Blood
Human blood stays in a very narrow pH range around 7.35 - 7.45. When your body is bombarded with acid-forming foods, it has to rely on its own stores of nutrients to restore your blood pH so that it stays within this very strict limit. This can cause your bones to leach minerals or place more pressure on your kidneys and liver to maintain this balance. Increasingly, mainstream medical studies are suggesting that an alkaline diet can reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease.
The easiest way to nourish your blood, and in turn, nourish your body is by replacing acidic foods such as processed foods, sugar, caffeine, meat, and alcohol with more alkalizing, nutrient-rich, fresh produce! This helps the body to return to an alkaline state, rid itself of toxins, and allow the digestive system to rest and recuperate. Leaving your body feeling lighter, cleaner, and full of energy.
Wholefood Greens Powder vs. Vitamins
For general wellness, we prefer to get our micronutrients from whole foods as opposed to synthetic vitamins. The main exception to this is those who have a specific nutrient deficiency where an isolated nutrient may be advised by your practitioner or doctor.
The reason we prefer food-based products is because nature often packages nutrients in the same food that work synergistically together to improve absorption. Plus, there are still so many micronutrients and phytochemicals in herbs and plants that we are yet to discover!
Image Credit: Deeto, Wonderwild.
How To Avoid Hidden Ingredients in Some Green Powders
There are a lot of greens powders out there, but not all are created equal. In general, there are some important things to watch out for when choosing a powder. The main ingredients we want to avoid are:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial colors
- Artificial (or natural) flavors
Types of Greens & Their Benefits
Greens are incredible sources of micronutrients. In addition to their nutritional value, many green superfoods are considered to be “functional foods” or “nutraceuticals” which means they contain bioactive compounds, or phytochemicals, that may benefit health beyond the role of basic nutrition.
Organic Super Algaes
Algaes like spirulina and chlorella are incredible nutrient-dense. They are rich in a number of micronutrients including magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid, and other B vitamins.
One of chlorella’s most notable benefits is its ability to bind to heavy metals and carry them through the digestive system. This prevents the metals from being reabsorbed, thereby helping to prevent the many illnesses that are tied to heavy metal poisoning.
Additionally, chlorella supplementation has been shown to decrease levels of dioxins in the body. Dioxins are a vast group of chemical compounds that the World Health Organisation classifies as Persistent Environmental Pollutants. These compounds contain highly toxic substances that can cause reproductive and developmental issues, damage the immune system, wreak havoc on hormones, and directly contribute to cancer. A 2007 study conducted on breastfeeding women found that chlorella supplementation directly reduced levels of dioxins in breast milk, and had a protective effect on both the mothers and their babies.
Young grasses like alfalfa, wheatgrass, and barley grass are rich in micronutrients. Despite their names, they are naturally gluten-free. This is because the gluten protein is present in the seed, not the sprouted grass.
Barley grass has been studied for its functional effects in the body including an ability to promote sleep, regulate blood pressure, enhance immunity, protect the liver, the anti-acne/detoxifying and antidepressant effects, improved gastrointestinal function, and an antidiabetic effect.
Bitter Leafy Greens
Bitter greens such as dandelion leaf, kale, arugula, and mizuna are also very nutrient-dense. The bitter compounds support bile elimination of processed toxins from the body. Animal studies have found that dandelion greens have a protective effect on liver tissue in the presence of toxic substances and stress.
Liver Loving Herbs
If you are interested in supporting your liver to detoxify, then herbs like St. Mary’s Thistle & globe artichoke support are an incredible addition to a greens powder.
Our Top Picks
We’ve tried endless greens over the years, and for many years we manufactured our own Food Matters Superfood Greens, but we’ve returned to our roots and are focusing on creating the best films we can to impact human consciousness and health. So now we purchase our greens from some of our favorite brands in Australia and the US.
Deeto: Our go-to blend when we’re home in Australia. WonderWild, the signature greens, is a premium, liver-loving powder specifically designed to support detoxification. The hand-crafted blend of leafy greens, super algae, wild herbs, and lemon is beautiful, both inside out, and looks beautiful on your kitchen shelf too (Ships only to Australia).
Synergy: Pure Synergy’s barley grass blend never leaves our sight. One easy teaspoon makes an energizing chlorophyll-rich health tonic that’s a cinch to mix in juice, water or your favorite smoothie. This is your convenient go-to for green grass nutrition – no juicing required!
No matter where we are in the world, we always make sure our cupboards are well-stocked with an abundant supply of greens. We love them because they’re packed with only organic, real ingredients - no fillers or space-savers.