One walk down a supplement aisle and you will be sure to find a sea of green powders, beetroot powders, and many many other powders on the shelves.
Superfood powders are exactly what the name implies: superfoods that are made into powder form, making them easy to add to recipes and drinks. Marketed as a solution for people who don’t consume the recommended 1-3 cups of vegetables a day or who want to reap the benefits of including some amazing foods into their lives with little effort, these powders are projected to reach sales of almost $400 million by 2027. In other words, superfood powders are mighty popular.
What is a superfood? While there is no official definition, many food companies use the term to describe items that offer a powerful nutritional benefit, like being rich in antioxidants or loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Made of ingredients like spinach, kale, spirulina, goji, cacao, and more, superfood powders are naturally chock-full of healthy goodies. And while specific ingredients vary from brand to brand, many also contain additions like adaptogens, probiotics, and prebiotics.
For busy folks who want to include more superfoods into their diet but have a tough time making it to the salad bar, these powders can sound like a dream come true. But don’t assume that adding a scoop of these powders will give you all of the same benefits that you would get by eating real vegetables. While it is true that these powders are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they are often much lower in fiber when compared with their fresh counterparts, which may result in you missing out on the satiating factor and bowel movement support. And because many fresh greens consist of 90% water, taking the powder form will result in you missing out on some hydration as well.
The satisfaction factor can vary when it comes to eating vs. drinking your food. As data suggests, the act of chewing may decrease hunger and food intake, thus supporting weight management goals.
But in a pinch, powdered superfoods are certainly better than no superfood at all.
So, which positive effects can you expect to see if you take superfood powders every day? Read on to learn all about the nine health benefits you may experience if you are adding a scoop of one of these goodies to your daily life. Just be aware that these powders are considered to be a supplement and are not regulated by the FDA—choose your brands wisely! Read on, and for more on how to eat healthier, don’t miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
You may feel more energy
Superfood powder ingredients like spinach and kale are natural sources of iron. When people are deficient in iron, they often experience fatigue as a side-effect. Drinking greens powders may help support healthy iron levels, which in turn can help support healthy energy levels.
And in one small study, women who took one tablespoon of a specific greens powder along with green tea extract daily for 12 weeks had significant increases in self-reported energy when compared with placebo.
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You may have a healthier immune system
Although nutrient levels vary from brand to brand, superfood powders like greens powders typically contain a hefty dose of vitamin c, the darling of the vitamin world when it comes to immune health. Many superfood powders are made with ingredients like broccoli, a veggie that contains a boost of this important nutrient. So, “drinking” foods like broccoli will deliver a healthy boost.
Turmeric powder is another supplement that shows promise in the immune system department, as this spice can play a major role in supporting a healthy immune system.
For help selecting the best option for you, don’t miss These Are the 10 Best Greens Powders You Can Buy, According to Nutritionists.
You may experience constipation relief
If you are choosing a greens powder that has added probiotics, or live bacteria or yeast that offers a benefit to its host (in this case, you will be the host), then you may find yourself being a bit more regular.
Why? People with constipation have significantly decreased numbers of certain probiotic bacteria in their gut. Modifying the gut with these important strains may therefore play a positive role in keeping things moving.
And if the brand of superfood powder that you choose also contains added prebiotics—think inulin or fructooligosaccharides—that’s even better. Because prebiotics act as fuel to sustain probiotics, you are essentially feeding your healthy bacteria when you are sipping your concoction.
Related: 11 Best Superfood Powders, Recommended by a Nutritionist
You may notice a reduction in blood pressure
More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, so finding ways to lower those numbers is naturally a popular desire—especially because increased blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke.
In one small study, subjects who had high blood pressure and took 10 grams of greens powder daily experienced a decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure by about 8%. Those who did not take the greens experienced no improvement. (Note that the company who manufactures the specific greens powder evaluated in this analysis provided financial support for this study).
Choosing a beetroot powder may also offer some benefit for healthy blood pressure. Beetroots are rich in nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide plays many roles in your body, including relaxing blood vessels, thus possibly helping lower blood pressure.
You may experience reduced oxidative damage
When people consistently do things like eat fried food, experience excessive stress, and smoke cigarettes, free radicals can develop, which in turn can cause oxidative damage to our tissues in our body. Elevated oxidative stress has been linked to conditions like fertility challenges in men, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, and the development of certain cancers.
The good news is that eating antioxidant-rich foods can combat oxidative stress. Along with foods like nuts and whole grains, fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants. And because greens powder is rich in veggies, they can be considered to be a source of antioxidants.
In one study, subjects who took greens powder for four weeks experienced an increased serum antioxidant potential—and levels were higher for those who took in a higher dose. These data suggest that greens powders might play a role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases involving oxidative damage.
Note that this study was funded by the manufacturers of the greens powder that was used, the sample size was extremely small, and the design was not double-blind and placebo-controlled. Therefore, these particular results need to be taken with a grain of salt.
Another study evaluating people who took cucumber powder every day for 30 days experienced an increase in markers of antioxidant activity and improved antioxidant status.
Including turmeric powder can be a dynamite way to combat oxidative damage too, as an active compound in this root is an antioxidant powerhouse.
You may have improved endurance
Many greens powders contain spirulina, a blue-green alga that offers a slew of health benefits. If your superfood powder is made with spirulina, you may notice that you have increased endurance when exercising, a welcomed change to many athletes.
You may notice healthier skin
The ingredients found in greens powder are typically rich in many skin-supporting vitamins, particularly vitamins A and C. Using greens powder may give your skin the boost it needs to protect the skin from premature aging.
In particular, Goji Berry Powder is a great source of vitamin A (170% DV vitamin A) and is a delicious addition to smoothies to help keep your skin looking fabulous.
You may experience reduced inflammation
Green leafy vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties. Because greens powders are chock-full of green leafy veggies like kale, spinach, and more, they also pack a punch when it comes to the anti-inflammatory department. And because chronic inflammation is linked to some serious outcomes (like increased cancer risk), managing this condition is essential.
You may adapt to stress more effectively
You may find ingredients like ashwagandha and other adaptogens added to your superfood powder, and for good reason! Because adaptogens can help your body adapt to stress, choosing a superfood powder with these unique ingredients can help you keep your chill when you need it most. So can these 21 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Stressed, According to Dietitians!