The wellness industry claims to discover new superfoods all the time. Supergreens have become popular over the years, as they help people consume important nutrients without increasing their vegetable intake.
A lot of products are labeled as super greens, but what does the term entail?
We’ll cover the answer in this post, going over what super greens are, if they have any health benefits, and the different greens you should be looking out for.
Supergreens: The Basics
Several greens, known as grasses and algae, are labeled with the name ‘super greens’. These substances are superfoods that are packed with nutrients and able to support immunity, skin health, energy levels, and digestion.
This bunch of super greens can be a good addition to the average diet, even for those who regularly eat enough vegetables.
Supergreens are known as alkalizing substances. The typical Western diet is high in grains and protein. This can lead to too much acidity within the body, causing muscle loss, inflammation, and decreased bone strength.
One way of preventing this is by consuming lots of alkaline-generating items, like super greens and vegetables, every day.
Supergreens are easy to spot, thanks to their distinct, bold green hue. Their color is a result of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plant matter which helps carry out photosynthesis, where sunlight transforms into energy.
Different Types Of Supergreens
Here are some common types of super greens to look out for.
Chlorella is known as one of the most nutrient-packed products ever known. It’s full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.
This freshwater plant is a single-cell organism with strong cell walls, which means that humans cannot digest it naturally. This is why chlorella products need to be processed to break down their cell walls. This frees its many nutrients so humans can digest them.
Chlorella consists of more chlorophyll than the majority of plants. It’s often called a faultless whole food as it’s a full protein source, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, iron, and the whole spectrum of B vitamins.
Chlorella is ideal for vegans, as it’s abundant in Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, folic acid, iodine, and selenium – all things which are mainly found in meat sources. It’s also a good supplement for those looking to improve their skin and hair, thanks to the B2, B£, biotin, and copper.
Chlorella is abundant in chlorophyll, a substance that can help the body’s natural detoxification processes by eliminating toxins and heavy metals.
Research has also shown that chlorella supplements may help improve cholesterol levels. Studies found that consuming five to ten grams of chlorella a day lowered cholesterol levels in those with slightly raised cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Chlorella may also increase the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, aiding digestion and weight loss.
Barley grass consists of many vitamins, in particular Vitamin B and Vitamin C. It also contains minerals, like magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium, as well as trace amounts of manganese, copper, and phosphorus.
Barley grass powder is sourced from young, dried barley plant leaves. In her book, ‘Living Food For Health’, celebrity nutritionist Gillian McKeith states that barley grass contains more protein than a sirloin steak, five times the iron in a broccoli head, and 11 times more calcium than in milk.
An animal study in 2018 found that oral chlorophyll reduced the size of pancreatic tumors in mice. More human studies are needed to look into chlorophyll’s anti-cancer effects, but the results are promising.
As it’s so high in vitamin C, barley grass may also play a part in skin health, oral health, and wound healing abilities.
Wheatgrass is an alkalizing substance that is full of important antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Wheatgrass also contains several B-complex vitamins that help maintain proper energy levels. It provides significant nutrients, like sodium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, which are essential to support proper well-being.
Wheatgrass also contains all nine essential amino acids. The body can’t create these by itself, so it needs to receive them from food. These amino acids are required in a variety of body processes, like nutrient absorption, tissue repair, and energy production.
Wheatgrass contains many important antioxidants, like vitamins C, E, and glutathione. Research has shown that antioxidants may protect against health conditions, like cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.
Wheatgrass also contains thylakoids, which are small recesses found in chlorophyll-containing plants. These take up sunlight required for photosynthesis. One rat study shows
that thylakoid supplements may reduce hunger cravings to aid weight loss.
More human studies are required to confirm these weight loss effects, though the findings are promising.
Spirulina is a freshwater plant known as microscopic algae. It’s easily digestible as it lacks cellulose cell walls. The algae is also ideal for increasing energy levels and improving the number of healthy bacteria inside the gut.
Spirulina consists of many vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and minerals. It’s abundant in riboflavin and is impressively high in iron. Just one tablespoon of dried spirulina contains 11% of your daily iron intake, as well as significant quantities of potassium, magnesium, and copper.
More research is needed, but research indicates that spirulina may have anti-cancer effects. Animal studies show that the algae may reduce tumor size and decrease cancer incidents.
A review of studies also found that spirulina may help lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure, which is ideal for individuals with high blood pressure.
Others use the super green as a dietary cleanse, as its naturally satiating properties may aid weight loss. It also delivers a good range of nutrients required for a healthy diet, so it’s ideal for people attempting to lose weight through calorie restriction.
You can purchase each super green separately, or opt for a product that blends several super greens, so you can benefit from a range of their good qualities.
Supergreens are usually available in powders and tablets. Tablets are convenient and make it easy to take super greens, but there are lots of things you can do with their powder form.
Most people add super green powder to their smoothies, soups, or simply mix it with water.
Other uses include adding to mocktails, pasta sauces, and dips. You can also try sprinkling the powder on top of your morning oats, or making energy balls to snack on throughout the day.
Do Supergreens Contain Gluten?
Barley grass and wheat grass are both gathered when they are young, as they contain more nutrients. These younger grass plants are different from older ones that produce gluten-containing grains as they mature. This means that these super greens should be suitable for anyone that avoids gluten.
Despite this, if you are celiac and cannot have gluten at all, it’s best to be safe and avoid taking these two super greens. There’s no guarantee that your barley grass or wheatgrass is completely seed-free, or free from gluten.
Supergreens are a class of grasses and algae that are very rich in nutrients.
Their bright green color comes from chlorophyll, a substance that can aid the body’s detoxification process. Supergreens are a great addition for anyone that wants to improve their nutrient intake.
However, celiac individuals should take care with barley grass and wheat grass, as it’s hard to guarantee whether the product is fully grain or gluten-free.