There are several fruit and vegetable powder supplements on the market and many people add a scoop to smoothies, protein shakes, or add to cereal or soups as a serving or two of vegetables. Are they worth it? Are nutrients retained? I had a look at the research.
One study looked at the effects of the NanoGreens vegetable supplement in 40 people with hypertension (17 in the treated group taking the greens). The group taking the greens took 1 scoop (12g) per day. The greens supplements contained dried and powdered green plant foods, fruit, vegetables included all colours (colour pigments are very healthy!), herbs, teas, lecithin, and oat and rice bran. After 90 days both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was significantly reduced from an average of 140/90 to 128/83. That is quite a significant reduction in just 90 days!
Another study looked at Greens+. They looked at different factors; they found that this supplement did not give people (105 women in this study for 12 weeks) more energy, however people in the study group reported increased perceptions of well-being and overall increases in mental and general health. This effect could be due to placebo effect.
Other studies showed that greens+ had a significant effect on blood markers of antioxidant capacity such as glutathione peroxidase and LDL (“bad” blood cholesterol) oxidation. Many chronic issues such as heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, obesity and cognitive function including mood, learning and memory are highly linked with inflammation, so anything that increases the antioxidant abilities in the body can have a significant impact. Furthermore, chronic stress increases free radicals and oxidative damage in our body making antioxidants even more important when you have a lot of stress.
We all know that eating plant foods is extremely beneficial to our health, there are probably thousands of papers that show the myriad of benefits. Add vegetables to everything, try and aim for 50% of your plate being vegetables, add fresh fruit to smoothies or yogurt. But I am happy to see so much research on various brands of greens powders showing similar health benefits. I think that eating actual plant foods will always be the best but it is good to know that a powder supplement can help out on some days when maybe you don’t end up eating as many veggies as you should.
I also think it is very good to know how quickly our body can heal and recover when we give it the nutrients it needs and do some exercise. Many of the studies I read showed significant improvements in only weeks to a few months!