Green powders are nutritional supplements with a dizzying range of ingredients – so what should you look for in greens powders to tell which is the best greens supplement on the market?
Today, we’re going to cover the most important factors – from ingredients to assurances to brand reputation, and more.
What Ingredients to Look For in a Greens Powder?
The ingredients are the single most important factor in your greens powder, as the main factor in the benefits you’re going to get from the product. The main things you should look for in a greens powder are:
- Essential Vitamins and Minerals
- Green Antioxidants
- Should be 3rd Party Tested
This breaks down to the vitamin and mineral content, core ingredient choices, the variety of ingredients, the density (dosage) of each, and then the bonus quality of life or performance boosting ‘bonus’ ingredients.
Essentials Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin and minerals are a good place to start checking on the quality of your greens powder as they’re the most important compounds.
They’re also shown relative to the RDA%, which is a great way to gauge just how much effect you’re getting on the most important healthful compounds.
You don’t need to get more all the time, but a good concentration of vitamins and minerals in your supplements helps ensure proper topping up. You want to get roughly 25-100% of each nutrient if possible, and the more nutrients in this range, the better.
This takes the pressure off your diet and is important for getting better total results and health benefits.
Core Ingredients for Health and Wellbeing: Green Antioxidants
The core ingredients of a green powder are important – powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds from dark green vegetables and algae. These are the primary boosters of health, wellbeing, and cell lifespan that keep you in great shape.
There are a few categories hat are most important, and we’ve put them in an order from most commonly important to most “bonus” benefits:
- Brassicae vegetables
- Herbal extracts – like ashwagandha, Rhodiola root, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and others
- Absorption boosters – like piperine, ginseng, and astragalus (especially in AstraGin™)
These are the important ‘center’ of the greens powder and should feature heavily in most premium products.
They’re the most effective health support and quality of life boosters on the market and have pride of place when looking at ingredients.
Variety and Secondary Ingredients
Once your greens powder has the right core ingredients, vitamins, and minerals in the right dose, the variety of ingredients is your next priority. These include things like herbal extracts, absorption aids, specific health boosting vegetables (like beet extract) and others.
More choices alongside these high-quality core ingredients is a great way to score free, easy benefits on top of the essential ones.
These can vary wildly between brands and products – but are typically going to approach health and wellbeing from more, different angles.
You’ll have to trade this off with dose, ingredients choice, and the cost – but more variety is typically better in the secondary ingredients of a Greens powder.
Proper density is just about the right content of each ingredient and the appropriate dosage.
This is in contrast to just adding a little of everything, getting ‘fake’ variety by using the smallest possible dose just so they can put it on the label.
This is one of the reasons it’s best to avoid proprietary blends – they hide the dosage of important compounds.
Make sure you’re getting at least a little of each ingredient, and not just 10micrograms of something important.
There are some ingredients with Ergogenic effects – like EGCG and green tea extract, ashwagandha, and others – which can be used to add more benefits.
These are great benefits that can be used to make a greens powder more effective, but they shouldn’t come at the cost of the core and secondary ingredients.
Make sure you’re getting these as a bonus, but they’re a great way to separate good from great greens powders!
Purity and Safety: Things A Good Green Powder Shouldn’t Have
A good green powder is not only defined by what it has – but what it’s free from: heavy metals, useless fluff ingredients, and contaminants.
These are just as important for a good product as the ingredients that you want to look out for.
It’s important to put these items on your checklist for finding the best greens powder on the market.
One of the most common problems for extracted forms of greens is the possibility of high concentrations of heavy metals and other trace minerals.
These can occur from the source, the processing, or in the reaction of some ingredients during extraction.
Heavy metals are a common problem for low-quality supplements – from whey protein to green powders alike. Finding a product that is free from heavy metals – or includes them in healthy trace mineral concentrations – is a great place to start eliminating low-quality products.
Check the FDA for registered products with high metal content and any appropriate warnings.
The content of a product is at a high premium: ingredients that don’t have any benefits are a waste of your time, money, and space in a good greens powder. Find a product without fluff to get the best results per scoop.
This means relying on high-quality veggies like Brassicae, proven herbs (like ashwagandha, Rhodiola, ginseng, and others), and high-nutrient algae like chlorella and spirulina. Other choices like Garcinia might be worth avoiding.
It’s hard to figure out what’s fluff on the market but you should look for compounds that you can find proven benefits of – and avoid ones with sketchy reputations, or flat-out proven to not work or be unhealthy.
There are other forms of contaminants aside from heavy metals that may get into low-quality greens powders – like E.coli and other forms of harmful bacteria.
These are part of the risk of low quality products where quality assurance and manufacturing processes produce a cheaper product at a significant drop in safety.
Check for 3rd party testing and other forms of contaminant-free assurances, as these are going to make sure you’re getting more from the product – but also staying safe and healthy.
Free-From: GMO, Organic, Fairtrade, Etc.
If you have any particular dietary needs you should prioritize those – as well as any personal preferences like organic, fairtrade, non-GMO, or other forms of assurance. These are mostly down to personal preference as they’re not a major health consideration, but might be important to you.
Make sure you’re aware of any personal allergies or intolerances beforehand, too – some of these vegetables might cause interactions or intolerances if you’re not happy with their original wholefood form.
The brand you buy from will be one of the main factors in the quality of the products you’re getting – it determines the manufacturing processes, the standards, quality assurance, and ethical standards.
It’s also a vote for the kind of product you want to see, as your money pays for that brand’s continuation.
Take the brands you buy from seriously in the supplement market and put time into choosing the right ones. The way they treat customers and produce their products is a good indicator for what you can expect.
This is why it’s probably worthwhile to avoid companies like Bodybuilding.com that have deliberately laced products with steroids, for example.
Find brands that focus on clarity, transparency, third party testing, and customer-friendly practices.
3rd Party Testing and Certifications
Any form of third-party certification, investigation, or purity checking is a sign of a good greens powder. There are multiple ways that a brand can use a third party to guarantee the quality, safety, and effectiveness of their products.
FDA certifications – like the good manufacturing practices certification – are great. They ensure the labs manufacturing products are code-compliant and ensure the best quality of product with lowest risk of contamination or other forms of unwanted additions.
This is a great place to start – and the FDA offers a registry of good manufacturing practices facilities for this reason.
Independent 3rd party testing with companies like LabDoor or others can offer confirmation of quality and purity.
Brands like Transparent Labs are great for this kind of testing and it can be found with some of the premium brands in green powders.
Informed sport and other forms of anti-doping certification are great just to make sure that the product has no banned substances. Brands that seek out these certifications are also typically just better for purity, quality, and putting in what they say on the label!
Frequently Asked Questions
What to look for in greens powder? The major things that you should look for in a greens powder is strong ingredients, transparent labeling, no fillers or heavy metals, and finally a 3rd party tested brand.
Good greens powders contain powerful ingredients with smart choices and strong synergies – but they’re also well-tested and come from good brands.
The best greens powders are typically built around strong essentials – vitamins, minerals, and core vegetable extracts from the Brassica family and algae.
The next tier of benefits sets apart the good from the great, with high-quality ingredients with specific effects like improving absorption, promoting better mental performance, or improving your digestive wellbeing and reducing bloating.
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- Are Green Powders a Waste of Money?
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.