What Nutritionists Really Think About The Powdered Greens Supplement Trend


Are green powders really beneficial?Property of Hearst

If you’ve been hit by endless ads about IG hookup green powders, we’re in the same boat. Often added to smoothies, acai bowls and water, these trendy supplements from brands like Thorne, Athletic Greens and HUM Nutrition seem to offer an all-in-one solution for essential vitamins and minerals.

These powdered nutrients are made from a variety of dried and crushed leaves and fruits. Probiotics, adaptogens, and antioxidant-rich algae, like spirulina and chlorella, are often added to the mix, and these mixes are said to contain all of the micronutrients present in their ingredients. One serving typically promises to do things like boost energy, support immunity, and improve gastrointestinal function.

One note: They’re not FDA-approved the same as foods, says W.H. advise Amanda Baker LemeinRD Before replacing your salads with green shakes, find out if they can help you meet your daily needs.

Meet the experts: Amanda Baker LemeinRD, is a nutritionist who has worked with clients for different needs including weight loss, emotional eating, prenatal nutrition and adolescent health.

Marisa Moore, RDN, works with the food and restaurant industry to develop and promote healthy recipes, food products and campaigns.

First of all, are green powders healthy?

They can be, but not in the way that whole foods provide nutrients. The beneficial nutrients you’ll get from whole foods, like fiber and vitamin C, can be lost in the production process. Plus, you more easily absorb nutrients from real meals. That being said, it is possible to get a larger serving of the vitamin, especially if synthetic vitamins are added.

What are green powders used for?

Probiotics in many blends, they can add to the good bacteria your body needs to control bad ones and digest food, while prebiotics “feed” these beneficial microorganisms. And research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for constipation and diarrhea. So, you can get some benefits from taking powdered greens containing these ingredients. Cool!

The nutrients in our diet work to help our immune function, in particular, vitamin CB vitamins and zinc– but a healthy immune system also depends on other factors, such as sleep and stress. And it’s unclear exactly how the nutrients added to a supplement are used in the body. “Absorption of nutrients in supplements may depend on how well a supplement dissolves in the body,” says Lemein. However, they probably won’t hurt you, so that’s a positive.

Can green powders cause side effects?

A warning for anyone taking warfarin: be careful with vitamin K in all green products, as increasing your intake may affect how this drug is metabolized and make it less effective. Check with your doctor if you are taking this blood thinner or have any allergies.

Also note that heavy metals and contaminants have appeared in some products, says Marisa Moore, RDN. So, look for third-party test seals, such as those from NSF, an international standards organization.

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