The Best Greens Superfood Powders: Are They Worth It? (+ How to Find a Good One)

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » The Best Greens Superfood Powders: Are They Worth It? (+ How to Find a Good One)

You can’t out-supplement a poor diet (or poor sleep or high stress either). But even with a perfect diet and great sleep, it is still possible to experience nutrient deficiencies because modern foods can be deficient in certain essential nutrients. To ensure we get enough, I make homemade herbal teas (packed with micronutrients) and rotate various green superfood powders.

What Is a Green Superfood Powder?

In short, a green superfood powder contains many servings of vegetables and superfoods in a scoop of water-soluble powder. In addition to veggies and superfoods, the powder may also contain other health-supporting ingredients like probiotics and immune-supporting herbs.

Why a Greens Supplement?

An ancestral and whole-foods diet may be a significant step up from the Standard American Diet that has a lot of grains, vegetable oil, and processed ingredients. However, there are many reasons even the seemingly healthy diet alone might still not provide enough micronutrients and antioxidants.

Depleted Soil With Fewer Minerals and Good Bacteria

Over the last 100 years, industrial farming has depleted the most nutritious topsoil from important minerals and beneficial soil bacteria that would grow the healthiest foods. As a result, the vegetables in our food supplies also have less mineral density. The reduction of minerals in our foods, as well as the fertilizers and pesticides, may be a contributor to diseases of civilization.

Reduced Food Diversity and Wild Varieties

On Chris Kresser’s podcast, Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD said that healthy hunter-gatherer humans ate a much wider variety of vegetables than we do today — up to 20 species per day and 100 species throughout the year! The supermarket vegetables we normally eat have been bred to have more uniform shapes and sizes, with higher sugar content and less bitterness, which also means fewer micronutrients and phytonutrients than wild vegetables.

Think about it — is your family consuming 20 different types of vegetables (or herbs) per day? Our family usually hits that mark, but only through using herbal and adaptogenic teas and green powders.

Reduced Nutrient Density in Vegetables

Grocery store veggies may have been harvested weeks before and traveled thousands of miles to reach your table. This means that they don’t have the nutrient density of a freshly harvested vegetable at the peak of its growth.

Modern Lifestyle Depletes Vitamins and Minerals

The modern lifestyle, with chronic stressors and pollutions all around us, increases our needs for micronutrients. We need more B vitamins and magnesium to deal with stress. We also need more B vitamins, selenium, and antioxidants to remove the chemicals that we are exposed to.

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the leading nutrition researcher Dr. Bruce Ames wrote that low micronutrient status can lead to metabolic disruption, mitochondrial decay, cellular aging, and increased DNA mutation. These can lead to fatigue, hormone imbalances, poor immune function, weight gain, and increased risks of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Therefore, supplementation with a multivitamin and mineral is recommended as a cost-effective way to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Greens Powder vs. Vitamins

As a general rule, it is better to get micronutrients from whole foods than from synthetic or isolated vitamins unless there is an underlying issue or if working with a doctor.

First, nutrients that are present together in whole food sources often work in synergy. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids in fruits or vitamins A and D in egg yolks, cod liver oil, and butter work together for better absorption. Second, micronutrients in whole foods are generally more bioavailable than synthetic forms. Third, there are still important nutrients and phytochemicals in plants that we have yet to discover.

Because a greens supplement provides vitamins from nutrient-dense whole food sources, it is a great way to ensure that you get sufficient amounts of micronutrients and antioxidants. The soil may be depleted from minerals, but the sea is not. Therefore, you want to get a greens supplement that includes some marine sources of nutrients.

Most vitamins, especially B vitamins, are stimulants. Many people find B vitamins so stimulating that it causes heart palpitations and anxiety. Whereas, vitamins from whole food sources, with the natural nutrient forms and synergies, are less likely to cause this problem. You may have eaten foods high in B vitamins like vegetables or liver without heart palpitations. Since it’s also a whole food, greens powder can help with fatigue and hormone balance without excess stimulation.

Harmful Ingredients in Some Green Powders

There are a LOT of greens powders out there, but not all are created equal. In general, there are some important things to watch out for when choosing a powder.

Hidden Sweeteners, Gums, and Artificial Colors

Vegetables, especially the more nutrient-dense ones, are good for you. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make vegetables taste good, especially when you try to condense as many as 12 servings of vegetables into a single scoop.

In order to make the green powders taste palatable, many manufacturers use potentially harmful ingredients, such as:

  • artificial sweeteners
  • sugar
  • emulsifiers or thickeners to maintain texture for mouthfeel
  • artificial colors
  • non-organic or GMO ingredients

Watch out for these and avoid powders (or anything) that contains them.

Harsh Processing

Creating a greens superfood powder is technologically difficult because many vitamins and phytochemicals are very sensitive to heat, light, and certain forms of chemical processing. The vegetables in the greens powder have to be gently freeze-dried into water-soluble powders in order to preserve the nutrients. Whereas, in order to make use of single-celled algae, the manufacturer may need to harshly crack the cell walls of these algae to make nutrients inside the cells available.

Therefore, you want to make sure that you purchase the greens powder from a reputable company that understands the biology of the superfoods they include in their products and confirms the presence of intact nutrients in the final products. (See the ones I’ve tested and like below.)

Types of Greens & Their Benefits

Not all greens are created equal either! The best greens powder for you will depend on what you are looking for in your greens. Many are a good source of micronutrients, but there is a lot of difference in the type and what they do in the body. These all get lumped in as a “green superfood powder” though they have some key differences:

Marine Sources

Marine (water based) sources of greens include spirulina and chlorella. (And phytoplankton, though that is a different type and is not powdered). These types of green powders are very nutrient dense and often used supplementally for their benefits.

Spirulina, for instance, contains amino acids, calcium, potassium, b-vitamins, and iron. Chlorella is a great source of protein, magnesium, B-vitamins and zinc.

Marine powders are available on their own, but they don’t taste great. I prefer them in combination powders like this Aquatic Greens Blend or in Energy Bits (small caplets of chlorella and spirulina that can be taken as a snack or to boost nutrients). Find these links below.

Moringa Leaf

Moringa has an excellent nutrient profile and it is often added to greens powders for this reason. It can be consumed alone or in tea form, but I prefer to mix it into green drinks.

Grasses (Alfalfa, Wheat, Barley)

The traditional “green powders” are what most people think when they think of greens. Alfalfa, wheatgrass, and barley grass contain dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Alfalfa is rich in vitamin K, zinc, copper, magnesium, and vitamin C.

Worried about gluten? I asked world-renowned expert on gluten sensitivity, Dr. Tom O’Bryan, if wheatgrass contains gluten and is a concern. He explained that in the first 11 days of growth, it does not and is considered safe. He even consumes wheatgrass if he can verify it is less than 11 days old. (At 11 days, the plant starts to get the traditional proteins found in wheat and is problematic.)

Most green powders do not list the age of the wheatgrass, so those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should probably err on the side of caution and avoid. This without severe issues who avoid refined grains will likely do fine with wheat grass powders.

Fermented Greens (Like Kale)

These greens are newer to the market in powdered form and I’m enjoying them. Of course, people have been fermenting vegetables for ages, but the powdered form provides a unique benefit of being shelf stable, easy to travel with, and more nutrient dense than traditional greens. Just like fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, these have a higher nutrient availability and increased probiotics. I’ve tried fermented broccoli sprouts and liked it.

Green Superfood Powder Blends

These are my favorite because they pack the nutritional punch of some or all of the above greens. They also contain a wider variety of micronutrients so they provide a bigger nutritional punch in a single serving. Blends include powders like Organic Greens Superfood Blend and Organic Traditions Superfood Greens with Turmeric in the list below.

Green Superfood Powder Facts and Myths

It’s easy to get excited and want to start drinking all the green powders, but first, we must understand some of the facts and myths surrounding superfood green powders.

They Can Replace Multivitamins (Myth)

Greens are very nutrient dense but they don’t contain a complete array of vitamins and minerals. Supplementing with only greens or eating too high of a concentration can actually lead to imbalances of other nutrients. Since most of us aren’t getting enough greens to begin with, they’re a good thing to add, but they don’t replace a healthy diet or a well-rounded multi.

It Can Make the Body More Alkaline (Fact and Myth)

The theory goes that our body wants to be more alkaline but foods like meat and dairy are acidic and make us acidic. Therefore, proponents of this theory suggest eating foods that are alkaline in nature, especially veggies and greens to alkalize the body.

I don’t buy into this theory and Chris Kresser has an in-depth post that explains the scientific flaws in this theory if you’re interested. The basic explanation is this — foods can change urine pH, and vegetables and greens do make the urine more alkaline. They don’t seem to change the blood pH and the body naturally maintains a blood pH of around 7.4 unless there is a serious medical issue.

Bottom line: vegetables and greens are beneficial for many reasons and we should all be consuming them, but not to alkalize our blood.

Good Source of Micronutrients (Fact)

Greens are a great source of a variety of nutrients and micronutrients. Since many of us aren’t getting enough of these, greens powders can be a good way to get small amounts of a variety of nutrients in a single serving.

High in Antioxidants and ORAC Score (Fact-ish)

Greens do naturally contain a lot of antioxidants and have a high ORAC score. But the ORAC score should not be part of our purchasing decision. The USDA recently removed ORAC score as a metric in its database after recent research found that it isn’t as relevant as once thought and was mostly used in shady marketing.

The Green Superfood Powders I Use

I’ve experimented with dozens of these over the years and currently have and rotate:

NOTE: If you want to try any of the Perfect Supplements, use the code wellnessmama10 to save 10%. You also get discounts of 25-30% for buying more than one supplement (you can mix and match) and you can stack the discount. Here’s the link to grab the discount.

This article was medically reviewed by Cynthia Thurlow, NP, the CEO and founder of the Everyday Wellness Project, nurse practitioner, international speaker, and globally recognized expert in intermittent fasting and nutritional health. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

What’s your experience with green superfood powder supplements? Please share in the comments!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


93 responses to “The Best Greens Superfood Powders: Are They Worth It? (+ How to Find a Good One)”

  1. Nancy Avatar

    Which powder would you recommend for a toddler?? I am also about to start giving my 2 1/2 year old the juice plus fruit blend and vegetable blend gummies. Do you know much about the Juice+ company? I don’t want her to get overloaded on vitamins either ….

  2. Holly Avatar

    I have been using Earthley Wellness’ Greens Powder (Organic Kelp, Organic Green tea, Organic Alfalfa leaf, Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Lemon balm) in copious amounts. Somehow I expected to hate it, but found out I love it! Is there anything wrong with daily taking 5 Tablespoons or more? I put it in water with lemon juice, lemon essential oil and trace minerals.

  3. Terry Avatar

    Is the fermentation still beneficial even though it’s been dried and powdered? Thanks.

  4. Alicia Avatar

    Totally disagree here– these powders require a significant amount of water to be utilized by your body in anyway (since they are dehydrated). You will be guzzling water, which is a solvent, and dissolving your own body in the process. Not to mention the process of manufacturing a powder like this– very toxic process. They most likely are using very high heat and pressure to dry out the material into a powder, which also cauterizes the material. When you eat cauterized material you are harming your system. You bacteria has to work very hard to do anything with cauterized foods, and the by-products from your bacteria consuming this are toxic.

    Only sun-dried would be “natural” here, and I know for a fact none of the big companies do it because its not cost effective. These companies are all about money, never think they actually are in the best interest of health. What you do to your food is what determines health.

    There is a massive illusion with supplements, its actually the high of hexane residues that make people feel “good”, not the actual supplement. If you looked at the tumor analysis of cancer patients who take supplements you will find the tumors are loaded with the supplement ingredients. The body cannot use this, so it stores it in a tumor for later detoxification and processing. Save your body and money, never use supplements.

  5. Mara Avatar

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! Much appreciate it!!

  6. Sarah Usher Avatar
    Sarah Usher

    Hello Katie,
    Have you ever tried Tonic Alchemy by Dragon Herbs? Right now I’m going through radiation therapy and I mix this to drink with coconut water every morning. I feel it is helping my body to withstand the treatments. It is so nutrient dense that I’m not hungry until about mid to late afternoon. After my treatments I would like to try something else that is close in nutritional density. I going to take a closer look at the second one you recommend from Thrive. Please, would you check into it and let me know. Thanks, and thank you for all the research and info you provide on your blog. You are a trusted source that I use often and repost throughout my Pinterest boards.

  7. Jen Storey Avatar
    Jen Storey

    I’m curious if you’ve ever heard of Pranin Organics Women’s A-Z. I am in LOVE with this product but the price hurts my wallet every month (app $80-$90 Canadian). I’m trying to find something similar that delivers all the vitamins without the expensive tag attached.

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