Is Your Super Greens Powder As Good As It Should Be?
There are many super greens powders now available and all of them make similar promises, from detoxing, to boosting your daily energy levels and soothing your digestive issues.
But how do you tell the good from the bad?
And more importantly: What ingredients make a greens powder truly super?
Read on to discover exactly that...
How Super Is Your Super Greens Powder?
There are many green ingredients that go into making a super greens powder, so which ones are the real superstars?
If you think about the green vegetables you see at the supermarket what comes to mind?
Spinach, kale, lettuce perhaps?
They are definitely staples in most supermarkets.
How about Wheatgrass, Barley Grass and Alfalfa Grass?
Mmm, maybe in Wholefoods and Sprout Organic Markets, but usually only in their bigger stores.
And what about algae and seaweed?
But these two uncommon and perhaps unusual green foods are highly valuable, concentrated sources of nutrition that can provide a huge boost to the diet of the average American.
Two Types Of Greens You May Have Never Considered
Have you ever thought about what your favourite sushi roll is wrapped in?
You guessed it: Seaweed.
The type of seaweed used in making sushi is called Nori.
Nori is great and contains a nice amount of beneficial nutrients such as Vitamin C and Magnesium but there are other, more nutrient dense types out there.
One type of seaweed that stands out as a nutritional superstar is Kelp. Kelp is hiding a bunch of hidden gems:
Iodine, a nutrient that is typically difficult to find among most foods and plays a key role in a healthy metabolism.
High levels of magnesium, iron and calcium and small amounts of phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
The rare mineral vanadium which is very difficult to find among other food sources. Vanadium has a function in carbohydrate metabolism and may help you to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Antioxidants that are different to the antioxidants found in land based plants.
Thanks to the features above, Kelp is able to provide you with the following health benefits:
Improved thyroid health thanks to its iodine content
Healthy fetal development
Blood sugar support
So next time you go to the beach and see some seaweed in the water, don’t freak out but instead go and give it a high 5 and thank it for all the nutritional benefits it provides.
So, now that you’ve had a good dose of seaweed, let's move on to our other unusual green superstar: Algae.
Yep, I mean algae, the stuff you see floating on top of water in a variety of colours from green, to blue-green to red.
Now, before you run out to your local pond and grab yourself a handful of algae it's best to learn a little bit more.
Not all algae is created equal.
The 2 most famous types of algae are:
Spirulina is a blue-green algae with a nice deep emerald colour to it. It grows naturally in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers exposed to high levels of sunlight.
Ancient civilisations such as the Aztecs included spirulina in their diet, but it has only recently come back into focus for consumption by modern humans.
Spirulina is an action packed nutritional powerhouse with some outstanding features:
High levels of protein
GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid)
Trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium and zinc
Because of these outstanding features Spirulina provides the following benefits:
Enhanced immune function including defence against viruses
Lowered cholesterol and blood pressure
More stable blood sugar levels
Enhanced antioxidant defence
An increase in daily energy levels
Protection for the brain
A reduction in the severity and occurrence of allergies
A boost in kidney function
Protection against obesity
So as you can see, when it comes to Spirulina, you really can’t judge a book by its cover.
Chlorella is a green algae and its name literally means “green small” in Greek.
It is high in protein, nutrients, fiber and chlorophyll (the substance that gives plants their green color).
It has been consumed in Asian cultures for many years but has recently made its way to the western world for its vast health benefits, including heavy metal detoxification.
Chlorella, just like Spirulina, has so many different kinds of nutrients contained within that it can be considered a complete food on its own.
However, the most exciting feature of Chlorella is its ability to help you detoxify.
How? Chlorella is incredibly small with a molecular structure that binds to heavy metals like mercury and arsenic. This is very promising for people with elevated levels of toxic metals in their body.
Some other stand out features of Chlorella:
Very high in protein, up to 70% protein by dry weight
Absolutely packed with Chlorophyll
Minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron
Some essential fatty acids
And because of this, Chlorella assists with:
Detoxification of heavy metals
Blood pressure support
Immune system support
Repair to DNA damage
Chlorella may also help with:
Preventing cognitive decline
Treating and preventing anaemia thanks to its iron content
Blood glucose management
Leg swelling in pregnant women
So Chlorella, just like Spirulina is an algae powerhouse of epic proportions.
When taken in isolation, Kelp, Spirulina and Chlorella all provide fantastic benefits.
However, when their powers combine, the broad spectrum of highly valuable nutrients provided is absolutely incredible.
Consuming all 3 of these foods can bring you huge nutritional benefits and if you need a reminder of how deep those benefits go, just re-read the lists above.
Our Ancestors Didn’t Eat Them, So Why Should We?
Considering that very few people have been known to consume these super greens aside from the ancient Aztecs and some modern Asian cultures, why is it important for us to consume them now?
Due to modern agricultural practices and intense farming, the soil of our great nation is being slowly but surely depleted of important nutrients such as trace minerals.
But thanks to these green plants not growing on land, their nutrient content tends to be consistently potent.
So rather than turning to synthetic supplements to shore up our intake of micronutrients and minerals, we can turn to natural sources like Kelp, Spirulina and Chlorella to fill in these gaps for us in the most natural way possible.
And the good news is, rather than having to go out and purchase each of these 3 ingredients separately, it is possible to get them all in the one place via a super greens powder.
What Is The Best Way To Take These 3 Super Greens?
Obtaining these nutrients from your supermarket or local pond isn’t exactly the easiest task. But that aside, how these ingredients are processed and prepared is also an important part of safely consuming them.
For consistency’s sake the best way to consume Kelp, Spirulina and Chlorella is in supplemental form using a high quality powdered version.
Or, if you would like to consume all three at the same time in a convenient and effective manner you could purchase a super greens powder that contains them all.
The dose varies quite a lot for each of these ingredients so I will address them one by one for you.
For Kelp, the recommended dose is fairly small at 150 micrograms per day for maintenance and general wellbeing.
Higher doses are advised for people with low thyroid function (Hypothyroidism), but you should always consult your doctor first before increasing the dosage.
When it comes to Spirulina I personally know some people who take as much as 10g per day when really looking to detox.
But to achieve the general benefits listed above you can start at as low as 1g per day.
It is recommended that most people stick to between 1 to 8 grams per day depending on body weight and physical activity.
Chlorella dosage recommendations are quite similar to Spirulina with most people being advised to take between 1g and 7g per day.
However, if you haven’t taken any kind of super greens powder or similar supplement for a while it is advised that you start with a conservative dose of 1g per day or less to protect against any rapid detoxing which could make you feel a little ill for a few days.
How Effective Are Super Greens Powders?
Plenty of solid, research based evidence has emerged supporting the claims about Kelp, Spirulina and Chlorella mentioned above.
All you have to do is type the names of one of these ingredients into Google Scholar and you will be overwhelmed with the vast number of studies that exist.
Studies continue to be conducted regularly to examine the potential benefits and applications of these amazing green superfoods.
When it comes to Kelp, Spirulina and Chlorella the quality varies quite a lot and obtaining a high quality product is super important.
Low quality forms of these plants can be produced in water potentially contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins.
Kind of defeats the purpose of taking these nutrients to detox right?
So when choosing a product that contains these three ingredients, always check the source.
For example, Chlorella in Taiwan is touted as being the cleanest in the world yet close by in China it is said that they have the most contaminated Chlorella in the world.
And to make things even more confusing, even Chlorella that is certified organic can still be contaminated if it comes from a poor source.
As these are highly potent nutritional plants that contain a lot of micronutrients, it is recommended that once you open any product containing these ingredients you store them in the fridge for maximum freshness.
What’s The Easiest And Most Effective Way To Add Super Greens To Your Diet?
The easiest and most effective way to add these three super greens to your diet is through a high quality super greens powder.
The super greens powder I recommend (of course) is Athletic Greens. It contains 75 ingredients including Kelp, Spirulina and Chlorella and works hard to help you improve 11 different areas of your health all at once.
Athletic Greens is made in New Zealand in a manufacturing facility of painfully high standards and contains only the absolute best ingredients from the cleanest sources.