If you follow nutrition trends, superfood powders are most definitely on your radar. From single-ingredient superstars like maca and cacao to combination formulas containing a laundry list of different veggies, these powerful powders can do everything from boost your intake of antioxidants and bolster your immune health to ensure you’re meeting vitamin and mineral needs and support liver health.
Greens powders, which are made up of mostly green vegetables, grasses, and herbs, have been hot lately because, well, we all need more greens. According to the CDC, an overwhelming 91 percent of Americans don’t eat the daily recommended amount of green vegetables—and a greens powder can be a convenient way to get some of those nutrients in.
Green isn’t the only color you should focus on, though. Reds powders also offer some noteworthy benefits. Here’s what to know about these up-and-coming superfood blends.
What is a reds powder?
A reds powder follows the same concept as a greens powder, except its base is made up of fruits, veggies, and herbs that are all red in color, explains functional dietitian Jenna Volpe, R.D.N., L.D., C.L.T. And just as greens powders help increase a person’s intake of green-pigmented plants, reds powders help people increase their intake of red-pigmented plants and the types of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in them.
“Reds powders often contain ingredients such as beets, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, acai, pomegranates, and apples—all foods that are particularly high in antioxidants to help protect cells from oxidative damage,” explains nutritionist Rebekah Blakely, R.D.N. Red-hued plant foods are uniquely loaded with specific types of antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins.
Some of those red plants, specifically beets and pomegranates, also provide nitric oxide support, meaning they help to dilate blood vessels and improve circulation, Blakely adds.
Since the color of produce indicates the types of nutrients it contains, a reds powder offers a unique nutritional profile not found in other hues.
Who should Try a reds powder?
While most people can benefit from adding more nutrients of any color to their diet, a reds powder is especially useful for someone who tends to consume mostly green (or other colored) produce and may need to give red foods some more love.
That said, even those who get their fair share of red-hued produce may still want to go the extra mile with one of these bright powders, especially if they’re over the age of 65. In fact, one study published in the journal Food & Function linked eating raspberries with fewer falls and extended independence in aging populations. This is because raspberries (as well as blueberries) are loaded with antioxidant properties that help protect the brain from damage, thereby helping to maintain proper function.
Athletes and avid exercisers may also find reds powders particularly useful after workouts, as many of the herbs and antioxidants included in reds powder may help with muscle recovery post-training, notes Blakely. One study published in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports, for example, found that tart cherry juice consumption improved isometric muscle recovery after an intense workout.
Read More: The Best Way To Fuel Early Morning Workouts
In addition, people who have heart health concerns, low energy, compromised immunity, or symptoms related to an out-of-balance inflammatory response could also likely benefit from adding a reds powder into their regimen, since the types of nutrients found in them support heart health, energy, immunity, and overall well-being, adds Volpe.
Who shouldn’t take a reds powder?
People who are sensitive to nightshades (foods containing solanine, like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers) should proceed with caution before trying a reds powder, warns Volpe. “Nightshades can sometimes trigger or worsen symptoms of joint pain, fibromyalgia, or even migraines in some people.” Check ingredient lists on any products you’re interested in to ensure they’re nightshade-free in this case.
Additionally, anyone taking medications may want to consult with a doctor or a registered dietitian before trying a reds powder. “People on cholesterol-, blood pressure-, or blood sugar-lowering medications could potentially have their blood pressure drop too low if they take reds powder in addition to their medication.”
What to look for in a reds powder
As with any decision you make regarding the food you eat, it pays to be picky when selecting a reds powder. Here are three factors dietitians recommend considering before choosing one.
Step number one? Make sure a reds powder contains a nice range of fruits and vegetables, particularly any that you might be missing out on. “For example, if you have a good intake of orange and blue produce but are lacking red and purple then look for a reds powder that contains berries and acai,” suggests The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brittany Michels, R.D.N. In general, though, the more variety of fruits and vegetables a powder contains, the more nutrients it provides.
For those people living with IBS or other digestive conditions, dietitian Andrea Kirkland, M.S., R.D., owner and founder of Culinary Med Ed, suggests checking the ingredient lists to avoid any ingredients used to boost the fiber content, like fructooligosaccharides, which could trigger or aggravate symptoms.
Michels also recommends looking for a reds powder that is made from high-quality ingredients and without pesticides, added sugar, or artificial colors, preservatives, or sweeteners, as these come with health consequences, including increased risk of allergies and certain diseases. She also suggests checking to make sure that the reds powder is third-party tested, which means that an independent organization has verified that it meets certain standards or specifications. “This will ensure your powder is safe and high quality,” agrees Kirkland. Looks for confirmation of testing on the product label or brand’s website, as well as certifications such as USDA Organic, NSF Certified For Sport, and the like.
Some reds powders can have a strong taste, so if you are particularly sensitive to certain flavors, be sure to choose a powder that has a mild flavor that you can easily drink down. One common hang-up here is beets, which have a potent flavor to match their potent health benefits. If you’re not a fan, peep where they fall in a product’s ingredients list. Of course, you can also add reds powders to smoothies, yogurt, and various drinks should you need to mellow out any flavors.
Popular Reds Powders To Try
If you’re ready to bring a little more color into your diet, there are plenty of top-notch reds powders out there that you’ll enjoy sipping down (promise). Organifi’s Original Red Juice is probably the oldest name in the game, supporting energy with six different fruits plus beets, herbs like rhodiola, and cordyceps mushrooms. Meanwhile, Spectrum Vibrance from greens powder giant Vibrant Health offers over four servings of fruits and veggies in every scoop, in addition to a number of antioxidants. Force Factor Organics Reds Superfood Powder contains a blend of heart-healthy reds like beets and mushrooms, a blend of antioxidant-rich superfruits (think blueberry and cranberry), plus a blend of herbs like ginseng to support energy. And if you’re looking for a two-for-one edge, try BodyTech Greens + Reds Superfood And Digestion Support Powder. It packs in a blend of superfoods that includes heavy-hitters spirulina and beets, as well as nutrients like quercetin, curcumin, and elderberry. It also contains prebiotic fiber, digestive enzymes, and probiotics to support digestive and immune health.