Superfood supplements are popular and offer myriad benefits – but are green powders a waste of money?
Today, we’re tallying up what Supergreens do for you, how they work, and then discussing if they’re worth your hard-earned cash – or if they’re over-costed.
We’ll also outline the main things to look for so you’re not wasting your money, and ensuring you get the best results. Let’s start with what green supplements are, and why they’re so popular.
What are Green Powders- And Why Should You Use One?
Green Powders are a type of supercharge multivitamin supplement that combines the extract of healthy, powerful plants into a single powdered (or liquid) supplement.
Green powders are a great way to increase total nutrient intake and improve your health, performance, and subjective well being.
There’s a great variety of these supplements on the market due to the number of different plant extracts that can be used. Typically, they’re rich in dark green vegetables and green-blue herbs (like spirulina).
But are powdered greens good for you? Let’s find out:
Supergreens: A Superior Multivitamin Supplement?
Superfood supplements are popular in their own right because they offer a more “real” alternative to multivitamins. While multivitamin supplements are much cheaper, they’re also typically less effective using lower-quality nutrients with worse absorption.
Superfood powders take a more serious approach with improved bioavailability, interesting ingredient combinations, and a more realistic “food matrix”.
Basically, the green powder approach is more akin to actually eating the plants themselves – rather than the concentrated but poorly-absorbing form of multivitamins.
This is a more natural approach to supplementation – you’re just eating the powdered, concentrated version of your veggies.
Beyond Health: Do Greens Improve Performance and Results?
Green powders are also more than just health supplements. Unlike multivitamins and many other nutrient supplements, they are performance boosting and actively improve your body.
They support natural processes and improve them, beyond the ‘normal’ level into ‘superior’ quality.
These are important benefits over a multivitamin or individual plant extracts. Good superfood supplements offer both nutritional support and performance enhancements. They can even power up with synergistic ingredients that work together for increased efficiency and more impressive results.
These are going to be a huge part of the way that some Superfood supplements help your body and mind. Make no mistake – the benefits of a good superfood supplement are both physical and mental.
What are the Benefits of Green Powders?
The benefits of green powders are a wide range of nutritional support compounds that can improve health – as well as the convenience of a powdered supplement. This makes it a great nutritional support supplement, but also a convenient and practical way to support better diet and recovery.
Let’s take a look at all the most important benefits of a greens supplement so you can get a good idea of the value, before we see if they’re a “waste of money”.
1. Beating Nutrient Deficiency and Protecting Health
The most obvious and effective benefit of a greens supplement is reducing the risk of nutrient deficiency.
By topping up with a wide range of plant-based ingredients, you get tons of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to support proper function.
These are important for a wide range of processes. Hormonal health, metabolic wellbeing, muscle-building, and recovery after exercise are among the most obvious.
However, you’ll also improve your circulatory health, mental health, maintain your digestive wellbeing, and a huge boost to immune function.
This is the same function as multivitamins but, as mentioned, more effective.
The combined benefits of certain compounds like copper and vitamin C can be a real boost, as they improve uptake and absorption. Any green supplement with piperine in (a black pepper extract that boosts absorption) is even more effective at boosting nutrient absorption.
2. Greens Supplements Support Training Performance
Many of the extracts in a good green supplement can improve performance, support better workouts, and augment your post-workout recovery.
This makes them popular among elite athletes looking to maximize results and recovery – as well as stay focused and improve mental performance.
There are many ways that greens supplements do this – so let’s look at just a few of the most important ones.
3. Powerful Energy Boosting Compounds for Performance and Fatigue Resilience
Greens powders are rich in hard-to-get B vitamins and other compounds that support better energy availability. These are important to make sure that you’re getting the best from your diet, and improving your energy levels throughout the day.
This is a huge benefit for work, studies, and workouts.
The benefits apply to everything you do in your day to day life, but never more so than in a high-energy, intense workout that requires plenty of physical and mental performance.
The increased energy availability from better metabolism means better anti-fatigue processes in the brain, muscles, and energy systems.
These are going to improve every type of performance and the way you feel – making it the #1 most popular and useful benefit of green powders and blends.
4. Energy Levels, Hormonal Support, and Metabolism
Recovery after exercise and muscle growth are closely tied to energy levels, while also depending on hormonal signals, nutrient availability, and other factors.
Supergreens provide support for every step of the process and thus are a great choice for supporting a muscle gain diet and bulking up.
A good greens supplement is rich in metabolic support, hormone regulators, and digestive health compounds that make recovery easier and more comprehensive.
It’s also very useful for non-muscle tissue recovery – for things like tendons and ligaments which depend on vitamin C and other nutrients.
Proper nutrient intake is important – which is why elite athletes put so much effort into their diet.
With green supplements, you can get some of those great benefits on top of the normal support you get from diet – and boost recovery, growth, and performance from workout to workout. Just like the pros.
5. Improving Recovery and Out-Of-Training Factors
Supporting your out of training factors is one of the best ways that you can improve your workouts – and green supplements are perfect for this.
These add up over weeks and months, as your day-to-day recovery improves and supports better results. This can be the platform for better muscle growth, strength gains, or performance in a sport with multiple demands (like speed, power, and agility).
The breadth of ingredients in superfood supplements make it hard to pinpoint just a few benefits.
You could see better strength and power, improved endurance, better recovery after workouts, improved sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, better focus, and more.
Most likely, you’ll experience all of these benefits. The variety of performance boosting benefits is the main benefit of a greens powder.
6. Convenience: Nutrient Power On The Go
The convenience of a green powder or drink is hard to ignore.
It’s a great way to add a layer of high-quality nutrients to your diet – whether that’s because you’ve had a rough day of dieting (due to life demands) or because you want to be extra sure that you’re not missing anything.
This is a practical benefit that comes with multivitamins, but is even more pronounced in greens.
The huge range of beneficial ingredients and supportive compounds adds up quickly and will provide a huge boost to any diet, whether that’s in protective or performance-boosting function.
The powder is easy to transport and mixes with almost any form of liquid – popularly with water, coconut water, or some fruit juices. These all have their own benefits but the important part is that you can take your green powder or liquid with you to work, to lectures, or anywhere else you’ll be going.
Are Green Powders a Waste of Money?
No – green powders are a reasonable use of money for most people – and a great choice for many. They can provide many essential vitamins and minerals while being cheaper than a normal diet.
The benefits are definitely worth the price on average, though it depends on the individual superfood supplement – some are cheap and effective, while others are overpriced.
The important thing is to figure out just how much you need a greens powder – and then make sure you’re paying an amount that you’re comfortable with.
More expensive doesn’t always mean better, and some premium products like SuperGreen Tonik can still offer good value at around $2 per serving.
Some of the super-expensive products will be a waste of money, but the goal is to get the most benefits for the least cast. There are some great value green powders on the market – and it’s hard to get better value than the sheer variety of mental and physical benefits they offer.
There comes a point where improving your mental and physical wellbeing, improving productivity and energy levels, and supporting better performance and recovery is worth the cost.
The sheer variety and depth of these benefits is why greens powders are so popular, and why even the most expensive options continue to sell.
How Should You Pick a Greens Powder?
Getting the best value from green powders is about getting the right product – you should pick the right Supergreens for you based on the ingredient choice, the value for money, and the secondary benefits they offer.
Many supplements on the market are just doing the bare minimum, while others are really pushing the envelope on results.
As mentioned above, that’s not just the most expensive products doing the best – there are some excellent entry-level and high-value options out there.
Let’s quickly look at our judging criteria for getting the best value from a greens supplement and what you should focus on.
1. Nutrient Content
The first thing to look at is how much of your essential nutrients – vitamins and minerals – you’re going to get from a product.
This is an important way to judge the bulk amount of nutrients you’re getting – the stuff that makes green supplement a superpowered multivitamin.
Anything that is in the 50-100% range for your essential nutrients is a very powerful support supplement. Particularly, large doses of B vitamins are important for energy, while others have specific benefits to health and wellbeing.
The more 50-100% offerings a product has, the more nutrient deficiencies it’s going to bust. Especially for things like vitamin C and D, whose NRV are relatively low compared to optimal intake levels.
Typically, more nutrients = a better product, or just better value when you can use smaller scoops. So do green powders work? Yes they do, given that you invest in the right green powder for your body!
Powerful synergistic ingredients are a great way to improve your overall results from a greens supplement without adding more scoops or spending more money. These kinds of 1-2 combo ingredients really help offer more value in the same amount of product.
To return to the Supergreen Tonik example, one complex combines:
- Bacopa monnieri
- Green veg (like spinach, spirulina, and chlorella)
All of which work together effectively to promote better hormonal health to support energy, recovery, and mood.
This is a synergistic combination that has powerful co-ingestion benefits, increasing hormonal efficiency and reducing unwanted hormonal imbalance (especially in men).
This is just one example – keep your eye out for ingredients that work well together and always do your research.
Sites like Examine make it easy to see what works well, what doesn’t, and you can start to see the overlapping benefits of these kinds of ingredients for your health and results.
3. Performance Boosters
Some green powders offer performance boosting ingredients that will directly improve your workouts or post-workout recovery.
Things like beetroot powder are a great example, improving circulation and muscular nutrient-delivery to support better workouts. It also provides a recovery boost and may buffer against muscle damage and excessive fatigue.
You can also find boosts to other parts of your recovery, which produce better long-term results.
Dandelion, valerian, ashwagandha, green tea extract, and dozens of other ingredients will support recovery processes like sleep, relaxation, and even digestion.
These kinds of ingredients are plentiful in greens supplements and the more powerful herbal extracts you get, the better the total result will be (as long as it doesn’t mean trading off important nutrients!).
If you’re still wondering “do greens supplements work”, this should answer!
4. Bonus ingredients
Some of the bonus ingredients in green powders offer massive boosts to the effectiveness of a product with very little extra.
Piperine – black pepper extract – is the classic example because it boosts total nutrient absorption in the gut so that you get all the results from each ingredient (3).
Other examples like astragalus and ginseng offer similar absorption benefits, while having powerful health boosting powers of their own.
For example, Ginseng is a well known mood and cognition protector, while also steadying the gut and improving absorption of amino acids.
Other ingredients like Theanine are a great choice for caffeine users, where it will improve the mental performance benefits of caffeine while reducing the risk of side effects (4).
On its own, theanine is also a good mental support amino acid – and beneficial for all of us.
Keep your eye out for interesting ingredients and prioritize anything with a good absorption aid. When the other ingredients and factors are even, this could make all the difference between two good products.
Green powders can be worth the money if you get the right product and you make good use of it. They’re a powerful supplement format that comes with a wide range of healthy and workout-supporting benefits – the kind that very few other supplements can match.
The combined benefits to health and performance make green supplements a fan favorite among elite athletes, bodybuilders, and health enthusiasts alike.
With the dual-effects, they’re a great choice and very good value for money if you know what to look for.
Use the simple guidelines we’ve set out to evaluate your superfood supplements, or you can refer to our Green Powder reviews to get the best from the market at a glance!
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.