What are Greens Supplements?
Greens supplements are wildly popular and every day we’re seeing new claims, new products, and more ads. Do greens actually work though? What’s in them? Can it possibly be better than eating actual greens? There is a lot to unpack with greens and we’re going to do our best to dive in.
Among some of the most popular claims for greens supplements are gut health, energy levels, immune system building, and a source of vitamin & minerals. Gut health refers to the ability for your body to properly digest and pass food & liquids. If someone is experiencing extreme bloating, gas, discomfort and irregularity, it’s safe to say that their gut health is suffering. Gut health can be related to stress, daily activity, allergens, bacteria, and many other things. Gut health is often self inflicted but also one of those things that doesn’t happen overnight. Consuming things that don’t agree with your body for long periods of time can have lasting effects within the gut.
Consistent energy levels are very important for a good quality of life. Relying on caffeine (which may affect your gut!) for energy isn’t ideal. Energy comes from rest & food and that’s really it. Without the right fuel, your body won’t yield the right energy. Sometimes it takes decades for people to realize that certain foods just don’t agree with them, no matter how much they enjoy them. Quality rest has a consistent effect on daily energy levels - but that’s not new to anyone. After long periods of time without quality rest, it can take weeks of good rest to rebalance out.
Vitamins & minerals, often referred to as micronutrients now have finally made a comeback in the fitness scene for being as, if not more important than macronutrients. While macro nutrients can provide an excellent baseline for weight gain and loss, the micro nutrients provide quality to your body. Over time, added sugars can take their toll on how they make someone feel in comparison to a healthy diet with plenty of leafy greens. Of course it’s also important to note that some people don’t digest vegetables well and finding the perfect micro-nutrient rich diet may take some trial and error.
In the United States we have a serious health issue. Obesity levels are continuing to soar (thanks pandemic!) and we don’t have the top-down guidance to get it under control. Some people swear by plant based diets and some by meat-only diets claiming even organic greens can be harmful. So why are dietary greens supplements so popular? Can greens from a powder actually be as good as greens you would eat?
Protein powder has an allure to it. It helps build muscle. What greens powders do, you can’t see. This makes it even more difficult to commit to taking a product. Flat out, it’s just not sexy. Health benefits aside, if the average person has $75 per month to spend on supplements, most are spending it on something that changes their appearance. Remember early when we said that gut health deteriorates over time? That means it gets rebuilt over time too. Greens powder may not provide the instant gratification of caffeine, but some can improve your quality of life.
Most super greens powders have wheatgrass, kale, broccoli, barley, spinach, green tea extract and more. The greens themselves can be controversial at times. Although most of them are ground into fine powders and heavily concentrated, we don’t have enough data to say if that’s better than actually eating fresh or flash frozen greens on a daily basis. One thing we can assume though is that it’s better than nothing. The greens of a greens supplement are important, but we’re not certain it’s the most important part of a “greens” product.
Since the focus of a greens product is to create a healthier gut, oftentimes supplement companies add other ingredients in there that share the same end goal. Some of those ingredients can be probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, phytonutrients (fruits & antioxidants), and even some things that help with blood sugar control. We think there is actually a good chance that these dietary supplements that are added to the grasses & greens, can provide just as much, if not more value to increasing gut health than the greens themselves. Obviously this depends on purity, dosing, and bioavailability. One thing for certain is that the combination of the two have people raving about the benefits. Some reviews on our site have talked about decreased bloating, increased regularity, and even better skin. The gut is no joke and something to be looked at seriously if you’re in it for the long haul.