As children, many of us felt that eating our vegetables was a chore. Whenever broccoli, spinach, or kale made their way onto our plates we’d make a face and accept the fact that dinner time wasn’t over until they were gone. As adults, we’ve come to recognize that those same veggies are some of the most nutritionally beneficial foods out there. And yet, even though surveys have shown that Americans have been steadily increasing the amounts of veggies and fruits in their diets, many still fail to meet the base recommendations of 3 or more servings of green per day. Fortunately for us, green powders and supplements have the ability to provide us with the perfect solution.
Demand for Greens Powders and Supplements is on the Rise
Along with relying (primarily) upon one of the most versatile delivery methods and being well suited to creative flavoring options, greens powders and supplements have seen a significant spike in popularity over recent years. In 2012, SPINS, a market research firm based in Schaumburg, Ill., reported that greens supplements saw market growth of 14.9%. That same year, some of the most popular greens ingredients (aloe vera, spirulina, kelp, wheat grass, barley grass and other forms of algae) saw nearly 20% growth.1 In the years that have followed, these numbers have continued to climb. For those looking to take or manufacture a greens powder that performs well, here are some ingredients worth considering:
Popular Green Supplement Ingredients (And Some of their Benefits)
Green Leafy Vegetables
Along with a variety of benefits, green leafy vegetables have been recognized for their high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin – two common carotenoids. In people of all ages, these two nutrients have been recognized for the important roles they play in the macular health of the eye. Especially among the elderly, deficiencies in either of these nutrients can lead to impaired vision and other difficulties.3
Spirulina (Blue-Green Algae)
One of the most popular varieties of algae on the market today, spirulina has been touted to have a number of scientifically and anecdotally backed benefits. Along with containing plenty of protein and iron, these little plants have been shown to contain over 20 other essential nutrients – making it one one undeniably green superfood.4-5
Chlorella (Green Algae)
Another popular variety of algae, chlorella has been recognized for a number of interesting properties, including its abilities as a detoxification agent. Some studies have suggested that it may have the ability to bond with mercury and other heavy metals in the body, ultimately helping our excretory system to flush them out.6
Dark green vegetables
Similar to their leafy counterparts, dark green veggies like spinach and broccoli contain incredible nutrient profiles including a number of essential vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants. Typically, these types of greens will serve as the heart of a greens product.
Grasses – Wheat, Barley, Oat & Alfalfa
These powerhouses of nutrition have been recognized for a number of different benefits. To take a look at a few in particular: Barley grass has been reported to contain 5 times more calcium than oats; wheat grass may support digestive and immune health; alfalfa and oat grass have been shown to contain significant amounts of vitamins, calcium, iron, lecithin, magnesium, pantothenic acid, phosphorus and potassium.
The Perfect Greens Supplement
Finding the perfect greens supplement for your needs (or crafting the ideal supplement for your customers) means establishing the nutritional needs that must be met, the ingredients that may be best suited for meeting those needs, and – of course – finding a flavoring option that can make the taste buds sing!