Should I Be Using Greens Supplements?
It seems like every day there’s a new trendy supplement that you “need” to take. It starts with a protein shake, and next thing you know, there are twenty things you should be trying on top of that. Supplements tout claims of making you leaner, stronger, or even smarter. It’s natural to be a little suspicious. After all, most people are aware that supplements are not federally regulated and can make any claim without proof.
Greens supplements are among the latest trendy daily supplements. Fitness influencers claim they cut down on bloat, clear acne, reduce inflammation, detoxify their bodies, and more. Let’s explore whether you should give them a try, or if you should take a pass.
Food is Medicine
We all know that a balanced diet is essential, but what if the key to a happy, healthy life was as simple as the food we eat? Monique Tello, MD, MPH writes that we already have the combined treatment and preventative to:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
What is this magic treatment and prevention? It’s called intensive lifestyle changes, and the key ingredients include drastically changing one’s diet and a daily exercise regime. Intensive lifestyle change has virtually no side effects, only incredible benefits to a person’s body and mind. This treatment is available to anybody, anywhere. All it takes is some education and effort.
Even experts that recommend intensive lifestyle change as a preventative recognize that it’s challenging to change the way you’ve been eating and existing for your whole life. Anyone that has ever tried to break or build a habit knows that. So, are there ways to make it simpler?
Eat Your Spinach (and Other Leafy Greens)
The Canadian food guide recommends that adults 19-50 years old eat seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Examples of a serving of fruit are as follows:
- ½ cup of frozen, canned, or fresh vegetables
- ½ cup of cooked leafy vegetables
- 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
- One whole fruit (apple, banana, orange)
- ½ cup of frozen or canned fruit
- ½ cup of 100% juice
Seven to ten servings is a lot, and the majority of Canadians are not eating enough each day. Interestingly, the number of servings consumed daily has dropped from 5.2 servings in 2004 to 4.6 servings in 2015. Why aren’t we eating fruits and vegetables when they could be the key to better overall health?
One of the main barriers to eating enough fruits and vegetables is the price - 26% of people surveyed cited cost as the key reason they don’t eat the recommended servings. Others blame their taste preferences, lack of free time, lack of availability, or dietary restrictions.
When You Can’t Eat It, Drink It
Whether you eat entirely plant-based or you are an omnivore all the way, there’s no denying the health benefits of eating more vegetables. Most, if not all, people can benefit from eating more vegetables, and greens supplements make it easier to achieve the recommended servings. We say that greens supplements are more than just trend or hype. Greens supplements have the potential to overcome almost all the excuses given for the inability to meet fruit and vegetable recommendations.
- Price - If the cost of vegetables combined with the hard-to-avoid fact that fresh produce goes bad quickly, greens supplements are the solution. They don’t spoil, and they cost around $30 for about 30 servings.
- Time - Being short on time is one of the best benefits of all supplements. They’re as easy and quick as opening a container, scooping powder, and shaking into your beverage of choice.
- Taste - Whether you can’t stand the taste or texture of broccoli or other greens, supplements take care of this too because they’re often flavoured to mask the taste of the vegetables completely.
- Availability - Another benefit to supplements is that anyone that can access the internet can purchase them and have them delivered right to their home.
As with all macro and micronutrients, it’s probably best to get what you need from whole food sources - a chicken breast is a better protein source than a protein shake. However, when it’s challenging to meet your needs through diet alone, whether it’s protein shakes or greens supplements, turn to supplements that can help you bridge the gap.
What are Greens Supplements?
Greens supplements are dietary supplements mixed with water or another liquid to bring your body the benefits of vegetables without the hassle of cooking and consuming handfuls of broccoli and spinach.
Green Supplements often contain a variety of vegetables and herbs, including:
- Leafy greens like kale and spinach
- Seaweed like spirulina and chlorella
- Vegetables like broccoli and carrots
- Grasses like wheatgrass
- Fruits like blueberries
- Extracts from herbs like green tea
Many of these vegetables are vegetables that the average person doesn’t consume in their diet often, if at all. The process of creating greens supplements involves drying the vegetables, grinding into a powder, or juicing then dehydrating. The powder is then packaged and sold where you can find other dietary supplements such as protein shakes.
What to Avoid in Greens Supplements
Greens supplements are a great way to contribute to your seven to ten servings of vegetables daily and reap the benefits to your health. With that said, it’s always important to be informed when it comes to purchasing nutritional supplements. Avoid greens supplements that:
- Contain the phrase “proprietary blends” on the ingredient list - this goes for all supplements, including protein shakes. While many brands claim to use the phrase “proprietary blends” to protect their formula, what they’re most likely doing is using large amounts of fillers in their products. Fillers are substances that make the manufacturing process easier, bulk up the product, and achieve the desired texture or taste. Proprietary blends in greens supplements are especially suspicious. There is no secret ratio of different vegetables, and the ingredients are not proprietary.
- Have a massive list of ingredients that aren’t vegetables. Again, vegetables are vegetables, and the larger the ingredient list, the more room there is for unnecessary fillers and ingredients that are not backed by science.
- Contain more than a few grams of added sugar. Taste is a concern when it comes to greens supplements because if it tastes terrible, you are less likely to drink it. However, added sugar to mask the taste of a greens supplement is not the way to go. Most people consume more than enough sugar in a day, so it’s best to avoid it in all supplements, including your protein shake, if you can.
The Best Greens Supplements on The Market
Supplement Superstore vets our brands, so you don’t have to. Our three most highly rated greens supplement products that meet our requirements on their ingredients, trustworthiness, and lack of added sugar are as follows.
- Allmax CytoGreens - A greens supplement designed to rid your body of excess lactic acid, and increase energy and recovery speeds while providing you with the benefits of 21 times the nutrients of dark leafy greens. It has zero added sugar, and its ingredient label tells you not only the amount of each ingredient but the purpose for its inclusion as well. This greens supplement tastes good and mixes well. It’s available in berry green tea or chocolate.
- North Coast Naturals Ultimate Daily Greens - Get seven servings of vegetables in one serving of this greens supplement. Boost your immune health through the power of antioxidants and a considerable variety of superfoods. North Coast Naturals’ greens supplement tastes great with just two grams of sugar and is available in berry and citrus flavour.
- Beyond Yourself GrEAAns - Combine your daily greens supplements with a full dose of essential amino acids. Increase your immune system, detoxify your body, and speed up recovery, all while consuming the equivalent of eight servings of vegetables in one greens supplement. Beyond Yourself’s greens supplement is available in tangy peach, berry, or green tea flavours, and has zero grams of sugar.
The Incredible Benefits of Greens Supplements
As long as you’re avoiding proprietary blends and an excess of added sugar, with greens supplements, you’re bringing your body the power of several servings of vegetables every day. These benefits include:
- Preventing chronic diseases - This is thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant compounds found in greens supplements.
- Boost energy - Many greens supplements contain green tea and other plant compounds that are proven to increase a person’s energy.
- Balance your pH - Making your urine pH more alkaline can support detoxification. Your liver receives additional support for detoxification from the antioxidants in greens supplements.
Concerned About Buying Another Supplement?
If the idea of adding a greens supplement to your daily regime sounds good, but you hesitate to spend your hard-earned money on another supplement, we hear you. You’re already buying a protein shake, and the cost of supplements adds up. The great news is that protein shake powders formulated to include greens supplements are becoming more common. We love this solution to combine the benefits of protein shakes and greens supplements all into one beverage. Check out:
- Vega One Protein Shake - Vega is a great vegan company, and this product is the Holy Grail. This protein shake combines 20 grams of vegan protein, your greens, probiotics, omega fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants, all in one great-tasting shake. Vega’s protein shake plus greens has only one gram of sugar and is available in chocolate, vanilla, vanilla chai, berry, coconut almond, mocha, and unflavoured.
- Mammoth Meal Protein Shake and Meal Replacement - This protein shake takes it one step farther to be a complete meal replacement with the benefits of greens. On top of the carbs, protein, and fats, Mammoth Meal’s protein shake also includes a serving of branch chain amino acids, probiotics, and electrolytes. This protein shake is highly rated for its taste and is available in chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, and strawberry shortcake.
Cautionary Notes about Greens Supplements
As with protein shakes and all supplements, they are not the end-all-be-all to your problems. Taking a greens supplement doesn’t mean you can stop trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis. It does help you bridge the gap. There are lots of myths out there, so some things to consider:
- You should still take a multivitamin unless a health professional verifies the ingredients of your greens supplement as an adequate replacement. Many greens products do not meet the daily recommended values of all the vitamins and minerals you need, especially zinc and magnesium.
- Don’t take your greens immediately following your workout. Research shows that large doses of antioxidants can temporarily halt your body’s ability to build new muscle. This halt happens because the antioxidants can interfere with the production of reactive oxygen species, or ROS. ROS, in relation to intense exercise, might be what promotes new muscle growth. To avoid affecting your gains, don’t consume your greens supplements for at least three hours after your workout.
Interference with ROS also means that if you use one protein shake for any time throughout the day, you should rethink the protein shakes with added greens. We find that the best time to take greens is immediately upon waking up. Whether you chose a protein shake with greens or just a greens supplement will depend on your protein goals and the number of calories and protein you like in the morning.
Greens Supplements for a Healthy Life
Unlike a meal replacement supplement, greens and protein shakes are dietary supplements that are suitable for a wide variety of people. Most people can benefit from the ease and convenience of a protein shake or an added dose of vegetables.
We are passionate about bringing you supplements that can make your life easier, healthier, and help you achieve the goals you’re working towards in the gym. Like protein shakes, we believe greens supplements are a fundamental supplement that can help busy people get the nutrients their body needs.
At Supplement Superstore, our goal is to provide customers with the educational tools to stay informed about the supplements they buy. We are passionate about our selection of trusted brands and know you will be too.