Superfood supplements - enjoy your fruit and veg on the go!
Did you know that you should consume at least two servings of fresh fruits and three servings of vegetables daily? Unfortunately, the CDC estimates that only 1 in 10 Americans meet these recommendations.
This statistic means that 90% of Americans do not consume enough fruit and veggies every day. Being one of them puts you at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, weight gain, and chronic diseases like cardiovascular problems and diabetes.
That's why it is essential to take steps and improve your nutrition which enhances overall health. Eating adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables would be best. Still, a convenient and quick way to get more of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that may be missing from your diet is to add a superfood greens powder to your morning juice or smoothie!
What is the superfood hype?
Superfood greens are dietary supplements that contain a wide range of vegetables and fruits in the form of a powder. Most such products contain 20-50 different natural ingredients!
The fruits and veggies undergo dehydration (drying) and are ground to form a powder. In addition, juices and extracts can also undergo dehydration and be added to the powder.
Dehydration and grinding of the whole fruit or veggie preserves all their nutrients. Using dehydrated juice instead may reduce the fiber content but still contains all vitamins and minerals.
Taking a scoop of an organic superfood greens powder will contain the same nutritional value in calories, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals as several daily servings of fruits and veggies.
Research reports that the powder can maintain the essential elements and antioxidant properties of fresh produce and thus significantly boost the antioxidant defenses of the human body against free radicals and oxidative stress (1).
In addition, the superfood greens powders usually contain probiotics and digestive enzymes, which support healthy digestion and may relieve symptoms of bloating or pain if you suffer from chronic indigestion or other digestive health complaints.
Why take Superfood supplements?
An organic superfood powder can be a lifesaver when you're in a rush or don't eat fruits and vegetables daily. A green supplement will help you boost the number of nutrients in your diet that you may otherwise be deficient in.
- Most superfood supplements are excellent sources of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. The most abundant vitamins in superfood supplements include vitamin C, vitamin K, and provitamin A (beta-carotene).
- Vitamin C and beta-carotene are potent antioxidants that help your body neutralize active radicals and deal with oxidative stress.
- Most superfood greens contain herbal extracts that enhance vegetables' antioxidative and other health benefits.
- Organic superfood supplements are also excellent iron, calcium, iodine, selenium, and potassium sources. The iron is in non-heme form since it has a plant origin. Its absorption is relatively low, but added vitamin C significantly boosts that absorption which is essential if you are a vegan and at an increased risk of iron deficiency.
Trials reveal that organic superfood greens have improved kidney function by increasing the urine pH in patients with renal problems (2).
Taking superfood greens will also increase the amount of potassium in your diet, which helps balance out your intake of sodium and regulates blood pressure. Studies report that supplementing with superfood greens for 90 days led to lower blood pressure by 17 mmHg in 40 hypertensive subjects (3).
Another trial in 105 women reported that supplementing with superfood greens for 12 weeks improved subjective scores of energy and vitality compared to placebo (4).
Do Superfood greens help you lose weight?
Fruits and vegetables have well-known benefits for weight loss. These are some of the foods with the lowest calorie density. In other words, they provide less energy per 100g of product compared to most other foods, so they are satisfying. They can keep you feeling full for longer without adding excessive calories.
Consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables will help you eat less of other more caloric options. The high water and fiber content of fresh fruits and vegetables also increase their benefits for satiation and weight loss.
Studies show that consuming raw vegetables before a meal can help reduce energy intake during the day and aid weight loss in the long term (5).
Similarly, green superfood supplements have low caloric density. Yet, they may provide slightly less satiation since they pack the nutrients in a much smaller volume. You also skip the chewing process, which increases satiation (6).
Thus, organic superfood greens are not replacements for a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables but are ideal for an extra boost or filling any nutritional gaps when you aren’t getting the recommended daily intake.
You can also add superfood powder to your smoothies, juices, or non-dairy drinks,
Increasing your total fiber intake can help weight loss. According to scientists, for every 14 grams of fiber people consume, their total energy intake drops by an average of 10%. (7)
In addition to that, many organic superfood greens contain green coffee beans and green tea extracts, which can help weight loss.
Green coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol with many health benefits (8). One of these benefits is reducing the carbohydrates you absorb in the gastrointestinal tract. Thereby reducing the total calories absorbed from food while at the same time lowering blood sugar levels and improving glycemic control (9).
Furthermore, the primary polyphenol (antioxidant) in green is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Researchers have found that EGCG is effective for weight loss, especially when combined with another fat-burning ingredient in green tea - caffeine (10, 11).
Here are some popular superfood greens ingredients
Organic superfood greens can contain up to 50 different ingredients, each with its unique properties and benefits. Yet, every element can be categorized into six main categories:
- leafy greens and other vegetables
- grasses and algae
- fruits and seeds
- digestive enzymes
- pre- and probiotics
- teas and herbal extracts
Leafy greens and other vegetables
The most commonly used leafy greens include spinach, parsley, kale, and swiss chard. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, and many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Other vegetables that enrich the dietary properties of superfood greens include tomatoes. They contain lots of potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoids, such as lycopene.
Grasses and algae (spirulina and seaweed)
Wheatgrass is one of the most common grasses found in superfood greens and is widely considered a powerhouse of nutrients. Wheatgrass contains vitamins A, C, E, iron, calcium, magnesium, etc.
It is also rich in bioflavonoids such as apigenin, quercetin and luteolin. Apigenin is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and improves the production of vasodilators such as nitric oxide (12). Thus it has benefits for cardiovascular health.
Researchers also note preliminary clinical evidence suggesting that wheatgrass may synergize chemotherapy benefits in cancer patients, reduce chemotherapy-related side effects, and benefit some autoimmune conditions (13).
Algae such as spirulina and seaweed are also rich in nutrients, including magnesium. Absorbing iron from spirulina may be easier than from other plant foods. These are an excellent option for preventing iron deficiency if you are a vegan.
Antioxidant-rich fruits and seeds
Acai berries are one of the most common antioxidant-rich fruits that you may find in superfood greens. It is a tropical fruit that looks like grapes but with a single kernel inside, similar to apricots.
Acai berries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help reduce oxidative stress and support a balanced immune system (14). Reducing oxidative stress is considered to have a beneficial role in the prevention of chronic inflammation that leads to illness.
Animal studies have shown that acai berries may possess mood-enhancing properties (15). More studies are needed to confirm these findings in humans.
Other fruits rich in antioxidants that are common ingredients in superfood greens include goji berries, raspberries, pineapples, pomegranates, etc.
There are digestive enzymes that the human body can't produce, but they can significantly improve digestion, such as cellulose.
This enzyme helps digest plant fibers, reducing the symptoms of overindulgence like bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Furthermore, breaking down fiber can also help the digestion of other nutrients which are otherwise poorly absorbed.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms identical to those naturally found in your gut that offer health benefits to the host when supplemented in adequate amounts.
The primary indication for supplementation with probiotics is preventing and treating diarrhea caused by bacterial imbalance due to antibiotic therapy. One of the most beneficial and thus commonly included probiotic bacterial strains is the Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Research also reveals that the different strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus have benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of fungal infections, promoting weight loss, and supporting the immune system (16).
The probiotic bacteria use various molecules such as fiber for food. These molecules are called prebiotics, and consuming them is crucial for your gut's normal growth and development of healthy microflora.
Superfood greens also contain a wide range of prebiotics, such as apple pectin and inulin, that support the growth and balance of your microbiome. Apple pectin is also known for its benefits in reducing cholesterol and aiding the body's detoxification from heavy metals (17).
Choosing the right superfood supplement
The quality of your supplement will depend on multiple factors, but primarily on the quality of each ingredient, including the various vegetables, fruits, and nutritional extracts.
Once rehydrated, refrigerate smoothies if you won't consume them right away. They are free of preservatives which makes them quickly perishable once reconstituted.
Adding a superfood Greens power supplement to your daily routine can provide numerous benefits for energy and improved digestion and offer a delicious way to get the nutrition your body needs to thrive.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.