What Are the Best Greens Powders and Are They Worth It?
Greens or super green powders are a product that I previously thought to be stupid. Perhaps, they might be if you are able to get your 5 a-day easily; or consume high quality vegetables and fruits daily.
However, for most of us green powders will provide an easy and simple way to increase the amount of quality nutrients we get for plants.
In fact, I have been recently converted to them after receiving a sample. A product that I at first mocked, it has now become regular in my diet; and I feel better because of it.
So what are greens? Simply put, they are powdered vegetables and herbs that you mix with water with get an incredibly nutritious drink. Plants provide us not only with macro- and micro-nutrients (essential nutrients); but with compounds like antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, etc. These can boost metabolic activities, our immune system or help us get rid of toxins.
Unfortunately, there are tons of products in the market of subpar grade. Example of this include green drinks with extra calories, artificial additives and other substances that might lower the quality. As such, I put all my effort and knowledge in the field to find out what the best greens powders you can buy are.
Latestfuel’s Top 3 Greens in 2020
Meet the Expert
I’m Enaut, the owner of Latestfuels and I dedicate my life to testing meal replacements and nutritional products.
I studied Biochemistry at the University of Bath; which made me fell in love with the effect nutrition has on health.
Since, I’ve been lucky enough to convert my passion into my job. I care about the details and I try to provide with the finest information to the readers.
All so you can make a safe choice.
1. Ambrogreens – Best Green Powder
- No extra bullshit or unwanted ingredients
- Only plant superfoods: spirulina, chlorella, nettle leaf…
- Easily absorbable nutrients
- No real flavour; it can be drunk with water or within a smoothie equally
- Only 23kcal per serving
- Doesn’t provide you exact information on how many micronutrients you get per serving
- For the best prices you need to buy in bulk
Ambrogreens is simplicity at its best. It shines because it does not contain any extra ingredients (adaptogens, sweeteners, probiotics); but only vegetables that you recognize. Thus, Ambrogreens is the best superfood powder and the optimal way to get your daily greens.
In fact, the veggies have been carefully chosen to improve your immune system and gut health. More importantly, Ambrogreens will provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients only from real food; without the need of any synthetic additives.
Personally, I love adding it to my meal replacement shakes to ensure that I’m getting the most complete nutrition I can get. Nonetheless, Ambrogreens goes perfectly with just water, too.
The starting price is on the higher end, however, you can reduce it significantly – down to $1.5 per serving- when you buy in bulk. Try it now and use the code LATESTFUELS at checkout to get a further 25% OFF.
Ideal for: People who are looking just for greens without any other extras. Excellent quality greens at a good price.
2. Athletic Greens – Best All-in-One Green Powder
- Contains probiotics and digestive enzymes for an extra boost
- Includes 75 carefully chosen ingredients to provide you all your body requires – Extremely nutrient dense
- NSF Certified for Sport – product has met the highest quality standards
- Vegan, Paleo, Keto… friendly. Hypoallergenic
- The website provides you with in depth info about each ingredient
- Not the most affordable
- Only available in Europe and North America
Athlete Greens is the complete package when it comes to green superfood powders. Not only does provide you with more than your daily values for many vitamins and minerals (Vitamin C, E, B1, B2, B5, Zinc…); but it’s also an excellent source of dairy free probiotics and includes digestive enzymes that enhance your gut health.
While more expensive doesn’t always mean better; in this case, paying extra will provide you with a NSF approved green supplement. This means that each ingredient has been tested, the product has undergone strict microbiological examination, and that has ultimately been approved for use by pro athletes and Olympians! That’s how you know you are getting one of the best superfood powders.
Besides all this, you can consume Athlete Greens at ease no matter which diet you follow: keto, paleo, vegan… It contains no gluten, dairy, corn, egg, peanuts or allergens of a kind. Just a great vegetable powder supplement.
Ideal for: Those who want the best of the best and the complete package. It is also considered by many to be the best tasting greens powder.
3. Deep Greens by Zhou – Best Organic Green Powder
- USDA organic certified and made in the USA (UTAH)
- Includes adaptogens to boost your mental performance and awareness
- Contains prebiotic fiber; digestive enzymes, and probiotics
- Very affordable: less than $1 per serving
- International shipping is available but it’s expensive
- Doesn’t show you how much of each micronutrient you get
Zhou’s Deep Greens formula is the best organic greens powder; as well as, one of the most affordable ones. For US citizens, Zhou is the best bang for your buck, and a great way to support US products.
Besides, Deep Greens is one of the best greens powder on the market. It contains 650mg of antioxidant rich herbs (organic matcha powder, beet root, ginger etc.); plus, almost 3 grams of prebiotic fiber; and some adaptogens like ashwagandha and reishi mushroom powder. On top of that, it also contains digestive enzymes and probiotics.
I think that for many Deep greens will be the best superfood powder they can get. A solid combination of quality organic greens, reasonable price and a great blend of active ingredients.
Ideal for: People looking for the complete package at an affordable price. Great US based product, only containing highest quality organic ingredients.
4. 8 Greens – Best Portable Green Powder
- Incredibly convenient format; easy to take with you
- Few flavours to choose from: Melon, Blood Orange, Original
- Rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B5
- Affordable at $1.30 per serving
- Not as nutrient rich as other products
- Contains other ingredients: sorbitol, corn starch
I love 8 Greens because it makes easy to take your veggies while travelling. This is often when our diets are the worse; and I, at least, feel my health levels decrease. With the effervescent tablets you will be able to boost your nutrient intake no-matter where you are.
There are some drawbacks, and 8 Greens is not as nutrient rich as the powders mentioned above (does not contain enzymes or adaptogens, for instance). However, it will still provide you with 444% of Vitamin C (~6 orange worth); 375% of Vitamin B12; 176% of Vitamin B6… and more. All which mostly comes from 8 plants: aloe vera, spinach, wheatgrass, kale, spirulina, blue green algae, barley and chlorella.
Ideal for: People who travel often, and require the most convenient form-factor. The best greens supplement to take anywhere.
5- Complete Greens – Best Green For Weight Loss
- Only 27kcal per serving and less than 1g of sugar
- Includes ingredients that help you with weight loss and body fat control
- Available in 4 flavours: unflavoured, apple & lime, mixed berry, peach & mango
- Vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free
- Available in the USA and in Europe
- Contains fewer ingredients than other powders
- Exact values for micronutrients are unclear
Most greens can be helpful with weight management, so why is Bulk Powder’s Complete the best green powder for weight loss?
In one side it has very low calories per serving, with a mere 27kcal. The green mix is very low in sugars and fats; while being extremely nutrient rich. It also contains 2g of fiber per serving which has been linked to increased satiety and improvement to gut flora. Adding it to your smoothie will help slow down the glucose absorption, while benefiting digestion.
Besides that, it also contains spirulina and chlorella; which have been found to help on weight loss.
Plus, I would use the extensive catalogue Bulk Powder’s offer to also buy some 5-HTP capsules, which can further help you to reduce the carb cravings.
Ideal for: Those who are looking to improve their diet, boost their green intake and perhaps lose some weight.
What Should You Expect from Green Powders?
In the most basic form, powdered greens should provide you with a nutrient and phytonutrient boost; without adding many calories. The best green powders will include “superfoods” or nutrient rich vegetables that will give you vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (phytonutrients). More advanced green mixes might also include adaptogens, digestive enzymes or probiotics to further boost your health.
Let me explain a few key concepts and why greens are the best superfood supplements you can take:
Micronutrients are composed by vitamins and minerals. Both are essential nutrients and are required to consume on a daily basis. Failing to consume enough can lead to diseases such as anaemia (lack of iron), blindness (lack of vitamin A), or scurvy (lack of vitamin E).
While micronutrient deficiency might not be as prevalent as it is in developing countries, most of the US population consumes below dietary intake recommendations. This is often due to calorie rich, nutrient poor diets and leads to fatigue, decreased ability to fight illnesses and increases likelihood of chronic diseases.
Most greens supplements won’t provide you with 100% of every micronutrient; but they will be rich in key vitamins and minerals. Look at the back labels for exact info. To get 100% of every vitamin and mineral I recommend consuming meal replacements or multivitamins.
Phytonutrients or phytochemicals are non-essential chemical compounds that can have positive effects in metabolism, digestion, toxin regulation, the immune system… The reason why these are considered non-essential is that their role/mechanism of action might be unclear; and they are not essential for life (unlike fats, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals).
Nevertheless, there’s strong evidence that certain phytonutrients have a positive impact on our health. For instance, carotenoids (found in vegetables such as carrots) are linked to antioxidant activities. This ensures that free radicals don’t damage our cells and DNA. Carotenoids are also vital in eye health, immune system activity and reduced risk of diseases.
Other important phytonutrients include: lignans, resveratrol, curcumin acid, ellagic acid and flavonoids.
Vegetables and fruits are the main source of phytonutrients for humans. This is one of the main reasons why national health organizations recommend consuming them daily; and yet, most fail to meet the standards. Green powders will are extremely rich in phytonutrients and thus are likely to have an outstanding impact on your overall health.
What are adaptogens? Simply put they are herbs or plants that contain chemical compounds that can help you relief stress, improve your focus or alter your mental state. For instance, there is considerable evidence ashwagandha has notable effects on reducing anxiety. Another great example is Panax ginseng positive effect on increasing cognition, reducing fatigue and overall well-being.
It is worth noting, that the evidence for all adaptogens is not equal. I would recommend doing your own research for each of the individual ingredients. However, I took this into consideration when choosing the best green powders and only include those with stronger claims (Examine.com is a great place to start).
Not all greens will include or should include adaptogens. Consider what you are looking for and decide accordingly. This should be a bonus feature when buying your daily greens powder mix.
d) Digestive Aid: Probiotics, Prebiotics and Digestive Enzymes
Gut health and the care of the gut flora has become of increasingly important. We know that there are ~100 trillion microbes in our gastrointestinal track (microbiota) that help us with digestion, absorption of nutrients and keeping pathogens at bay. Despite that, the functioning, bacteria balance and how to help regulating this homeostasis remains largely unknown.
Probiotics might be able to help you restore the balance of your microbiota, as well as, introduce beneficial bacteria that can result in less gut inflammation. However, research around probiotic supplement lacks the appropriate quality control and might be biased.
On the other hand, prebiotic fiber has proven benefits in promoting healthy bacteria (acting as food), healthier waste flow, as well as, smaller positive impact in preventing cancer, mineral absorption etc.
Finally, digestive enzymes are proteins that are required to break down nutrients. A good example of this is lactase; which is necessary to break down lactose (milk-sugar). The lack of lactase is the main reason for people being lactose intolerant; thus is added to “lactose-free” milk. Many fruits contain naturally occurring enzymes that help you break down the food you eat. Thus, reducing any digestive stress and pain that this might cause.
Probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes are not essential, but are more likely helping your digestion than doing harm. I would especially consider looking at them if you usually have issues processing what you eat. All greens supplements will help you keep a healthy gut.
5 Reasons Why I Use Greens (and so Should You)
As mentioned previously, even I was sceptic to purchase green drinks and powders. What did I need them for? After much deliberation, I came up with 5 reasons why I thought greens superfood powders were worth it.
1. Most of Us Don’t Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables
- 75% of US population doesn’t consume the recommended daily intake of fruit; and over 80% fail to reach the recommended intake for vegetables. Global consumption is also low according to WHO data.
- Adequate consumption is linked with reduce risk of CVD, diabetes, stroke etc. This is almost entirely due to their rich content on micronutrients and phytonutrients; while being low in calories.
- Greens provide an easy way to reach your daily recommended for veggies and take essential nutrients from natural sources.
2. Clear Positive Impact on Health
As mentioned above, vegetables and fruits are primordial for a healthy lifestyle. The nutrients and bioactive ingredients that they provide have proven positive effect on overall health. Benefits vary from cognitive health, enhanced immune system, improved metabolic performance, to decreased risk of chronic diseases.
The top green powders contain many superfoods like spinach, kale, spirulina, etc. that are incredibly nutrient rich while being low in calories. Thus, you will be getting nutrients that otherwise you would be missing on.
3. Easy and Simple
One of the main benefits is the format. Consuming one drink of greens is as simple as mixing it with water. It doesn’t require you to plan your meals in advance or to make sure you buy enough vegetables and fruits. You will no longer have to be aware of their expiration dates or any other nuisances.
One serving of greens a day will provide you with most of the benefits. Nonetheless, including fresh veggies in your diet is highly recommended.
4. Greens Can Help You with Digestion
They will not be helpful only to those who commonly have issues digesting their foods, or suffer from stomach ache every time they eat. Nonetheless, they will help you absorb nutrients better or cleanse unwanted compounds.
Plus, indirectly they will help you balance your gut microbiota; which will result on a more efficient gastrointestinal track and digestive system.
5. They Do More Good than Harm
In fact, you cannot truly overdose in green powders (unless you are taking a weird mix with too many active ingredients, unwanted sugars or excessive serving sizes). If you stick to the best greens mentioned above, you can be sure that consuming them will do you more good than harm.
Basically, they provide you with an insurance policy that at best will highly improve your health; and at worse, it will do very little for you (or you won’t be able to notice the change).
So are green powders worth it? In my eyes, they are. The best green powders will be at worst a small boost to your overall health; and for most, a great way to get the benefits from vegetables and fruits. Benefits, such as, reduced oxidative effects, improved gut health, reduced inflammation, better nutrient absorption, increased cognitive snappiness and many more.
Ingredients to Avoid when Choosing the Best Super Greens Powder
Due to how competitive the market is some brands might try to take advantage and include unwanted ingredients to make the powders cheaper or taste better. Do not fall for these gimmicks and make sure that your mix only contains the best green superfoods.
Here are a few details to look out for:
- Added sugars. Unfortunately, an issue that is way too common in the food and supplement industry. Hidden and added sugars are omnipresent. Make sure that the total amount of sugars is relatively low, and they are naturally occurring (no sugar or syrup is included in the ingredient list!).
- Too many calories. When you are taking your green powder supplement, you should not be consuming an extra meal. Thus, I would advise to keep the calorie count to a minimum (>100kcal per serving at max). Excess of calories will make you put on weight, and they are probably coming from unwanted sources.
- Extra protein. Because proteins are fashionable, some green powders will add too much extra protein. I would recommend against it, since they will be adding calories that you don’t want. Avoid green drinks with more than 10g per serving.
- Cognitive boosters in excess. Having some adaptogens can be helpful; but few green powders will go the extra mile and add cognitive boosters like green tea extract, taurine, caffeine… You don’t want to drink an energy drink; so be on the lookout.
- Fillers. Not all fillers will have calories, but that doesn’t excuse them. Certain ingredients like soy lecithin, soy lecithin, corn, starches… add nothing to the mix, and they are there just to make it cheaper.
- Artificial additives. In general, I tend to favour green powders without any artificial additives, even if they are synthetic sweeteners or multivitamins. The reason for this is simple: I’m looking to have the closest experience to consuming fruits and vegetables.
- Chemicals. Most fresh vegetables contain some traces of heavy metals and similar chemicals. Consequently, green powders can also be rich in elements like lead; which can be toxic. As such, those manufacturers that test their products for heavy metals using 3rd party companies, such as Athletic Greens, might be a safer bet.
More isn’t always better; so if you choose a greens powder from outside this list, make sure it doesn’t contain any unwanted surprise!
Consuming Green Powders
Basically, it’s as easy as mixing the recommended serving with water and stirring. Enjoy your greens drink!
However, there are few nuisances that you might want to consider:
- Timing. When is the best time to drink your greens? While you can drink them at any time, I would advise you to do it in the morning (breakfast) or around lunch. Why? Because some phytonutrients will help you with digestion. For instance, soluble fiber will reduce carbohydrate absorption. Others might help with lipid absorption, breaking down nutrients, reducing stomach distress etc.
- Just with water or as a green smoothie? It is a matter of preference. I personally take them with my meal replacement shake in the morning; which makes it the ultimate healthy drink. One thing to remember is that unflavoured products are the best green powders for smoothies.
- Should you consume greens while on a weight loss diet? Yes, since it will help you enhance your nutrition without adding too many calories. Make sure you check the caloric content of the greens!
- Multivitamins, fat burners, MCT oil, collagen… Do I need any other supplements? In theory no. It largely depends on the rest of your diet and your personal goals.
Most green powders will be safe to consume. I would try to minimize ingredients and reduce adaptogens. However, I am not a doctor and I strongly advise you to consult with one before buying any.
Not all the powdered greens are vegan; particularly if they include extra vitamins and minerals. Some might come from animal origin. Thus, I recommend looking for a “plant-based” certification.
Not directly. Most of the detox in the human body is done by the liver and by specialised cells/mechanisms. However, certain active ingredients present in green powders can help with liver functioning (e.g. present in milk thistle, spirulina and broccoli).
Green supplements will be very valuable to boost your immune system; however, they will not be helpful fully preventing or curing illnesses. Examples for this include, antioxidants, zinc, iron, carotenoids… all which are present in greens.
Any of the products mentioned above are great for both men and women.
Always check with your doctor before purchasing any supplements. For most, there shouldn’t be any issues with greens; however, certain ingredients like ginseng, tea extract, etc. can interact with some medications (such as blood-pressure regulators).
Powdered greens can be a great way to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need while you are dieting; as well as helping you stay sharp and healthy. However, they will not have significant effects on your weight loss.
Yes, you should have no issues consuming the above mentioned picks for the best green powders. However, be on the lookout for sugars, as some products might have too many of them.
Green powders are no magic. They are not the cure to cancer or the easy trick to loss weight. They are much simpler and natural than that.
The best green superfood powders are simply a carefully chosen selection of vegetables and fruits that will help you reach your daily recommended intake. One that most adults in the West fail to reach, despite having proven benefits for our overall health.
As such, I have recently been converted to buying green powder supplements on top of my meal replacements. Simply they provide me with a convenient way to ensure I take my 5 a-day. Now, I can feel safe that I’m getting enough antioxidants, vitamins, minerals… no matter how the day has been. This is my way for complete nutrition.
Thus, when people ask me if green powders are worth it; I can assure them they are and I recommend anyone who can afford them to buy some.
Sources and Interesting Reads
2. Data on Micronutrient Deficiency. Ourworldindata.
3. Micronutrients in health and disease. Shenking A; 2006.
4. Examine.com. Great source of information of supplements and active ingredients.