Greens Powder: Are there Health Benefits?

Greens powder is a dietary supplement that has become a popular way to help people reach their daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. The nutrient combination in greens powder is formulated to support your body’s immune system and energy levels while meeting the nutrition requirements for a healthy diet. 

Ingredients in greens powders vary by brand, but commonly include nutrition from:

Greens powder is most often mixed into water, smoothies, or juices. While these powders often come with a grassy taste, natural sugar substitutes like stevia extract are added to improve the flavor. These dietary powders are also usually vegan and made from non-genetically-modified and organic products

Nutrition Information

Nutrition content in greens powders will vary by brand. On average, a one-tablespoon serving contains: 

Greens powder can also be a good source of: 

Greens powders often include high levels of vitamin C, which has been linked to healthy immune system function, protection against heart disease, and good skin health.

Potential Health Benefits of Greens Powder

Because greens powders are made from dried fruits and vegetables, some important nutritional content like fiber is lost in the process. Greens powders are not a substitute for a well-balanced diet and cannot replace the nutritional benefits you get from consuming whole foods

However, doctors say that greens powder can be a great way to supplement a healthy diet with a boost of extra vitamins and antioxidants. 

Taking some vitamins in excess can lead to health issues or may interact with certain medications. It’s important to talk to your doctor before adding any nutritional supplements to your diet and choose a reputable brand of greens powder. 

The nutrients in greens powders can contribute to potential health benefits including:

Healthy Blood Pressure

Minerals found in greens powders like calcium and potassium are associated with good blood pressure management. In one clinical study, people who took one serving daily of greens powder experienced a decrease in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Continued

Immune System Support

Greens powders contain high levels of vitamins and minerals associated with maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties that enhance immunity. For example, Selenium is found in most greens powders, and is proven to help the immune system fight infection.

Chronic Disease Prevention

The vitamins found in greens powders can reduce your risk of chronic diseases in the long term. Vitamins like C and K are potent antioxidants that fight cell-damaging free radicals. 

This cell damage is known as oxidation and is linked to the development of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. One study found that a serving of greens powder taken daily reduced cell oxidation in participants by 30%.

Eye and Cognitive Health

Vitamin K found in leafy greens is associated with numerous health benefits including maintaining healthy blood vessels, lessening the risk of heart problems, and preventing bone loss with aging. Recent studies have also found vitamin K may promote eye health and reduce incidence of age-related dementia.

Potential Risks of Greens Powder

Greens powder is a great way to enhance a healthy diet with extra vitamins and minerals to make sure you’re meeting recommended levels. However, the nutrients included and their amounts can vary based on the brand. Be sure to ask your doctor which formulation would be best for your health.

Other things to consider before adding greens powder to your diet include:

Medication Interactions

Vitamin K can interact with certain medications, including antibiotics, cholesterol medications, and weight-loss drugs. It can also have a serious interaction with blood thinners. People taking anticoagulants should be careful to maintain a consistent intake of vitamin K.

Contaminants 

Lab tests have found that some greens powders contain lead and other heavy metals. In high amounts, these contaminants can lower energy levels and cause organ damage.

Allergies

Some additions to greens powders like green tea extract, wheatgrass, or other herbs can cause allergic reactions or side effects like nausea and headaches. 

Pregnancy or Breastfeeding Concerns

The added herbal and nutritional supplements in greens powders could pose certain risks for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as the effects of these supplements are not well known.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

ConsumerLab: “Greens and Whole Food Powders and Capsules.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Supplement, Green Blends Cleansing, Powder, Earthrise.”

Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry: “Vitamin C in Disease Prevention and Cure: An Overview.”

Harvard Medical School: “Key minerals to help control blood pressure.”

Interdisciplinary Toxicology: “Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals.”

International Journal of Molecular Science: “In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of the plant-based supplement greens.”

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine: “The effect of fruit and vegetable powder mix on hypertensive subjects: a pilot study.”

Mayo Clinic: “Should women take supplements while pregnant?”

Molecular Nutrition & Food Research: “The influence of selenium on immune responses.”

National Institutes of Health: “Vitamin K.”

University of Hawaii: “Vitamin K helps bones, brain and eyes.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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