Sure, you eat your greens—but do you eat your supergreens? Supergreens are a type of green jam-packed with health-boosting benefits. You can toss some of them onto your plate (think dark and rich-flavored greens like kale or chard), but you can get others (specifically the algaes and grasses) in alternative forms, like powder.
So what sort of superpowers do supergreens come with? “Supergreens provide phytonutrients not typically found in the average diet, says Brian Tanzer, M.S., manager of scientific affairs for The Vitamin Shoppe. “Some of these phytochemicals provide powerful antioxidant benefits in addition to supporting overall health, energy, and vitality.”
Here, a guide to which supergreens are worth consuming—and why they’re so good for your health.
Chrlorella isn’t something you can just toss onto your plate, as it’s a single-cell green algae found in fresh water. That doesn’t sound particularly tasty, but we promise it’s worth it. According to the journal Current Pharmaceutical, this diverse little algae contains plenty of micronutrients, proteins, omega-3 polyunsaturated acids, vitamins, minerals, and polysaccharides, helping to protect you against oxidative stress, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and other health issues. Oh, and it has the highest level of chlorophyll (disease-fighting plant pigment) of any plant out there.
Spirulina is another trendy algae known for its nutritional power and gorgeous blue-green color. And its popularity goes way back. According to the journal Clinical and Translational Investigation, spirulina has been consumed by man since ancient times in Mexico and central Africa because of its high protein content. Today, though, studies show that spirulina offers plenty of powerful health-promoting qualities (on top of being an excellent source of nutrition).
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According to Achives of Toxicology, it may prevention inflammation, boost the immune system, and fight oxidation. In fact, clinical trials show that spirulina may help prevent skeletal muscle damage due to exercise-induced oxidative stress. No wonder people drink it at the gym bar! To enjoy, mix up a teaspoon of Spirulina Powder in a glass of water or in a delicious concoction, like this blueberry smoothie.
You’ve probably been offered a shot of wheat grass at your local juicery—and you’d be wise to take it. Wheatgrass is a young (and edible!) grass from the wheat plant, sold mostly in powder or tablets form.
It’s chock full of vitamins C and E, antioxidants, phenolic acid, flavonoids, and chlorophyll, making it a powerful supergreen. According to Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, wheat grass’ devout followers are onto something: Studies have shown that it offers serious immune support and antioxidant properties. To reap its benefits, whip up a level scoop of Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Perfect Food 100% Wheat Grass into a glass of juice, a smoothie, or an eight-ounce cup of water.
Looking for an excellent source of dietary fiber? This is where barley comes into play. This potent grass has been shown to have positive effects on metabolism, bowel functions, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, according to a study done by the journal Nutrition. Use two teaspoons of Barley Grass Juice Powder in your favorite juice or water, or you can whip up a delicious meal with this barley berry smoothie.
The Newest Hot Supergreen
Moringa is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite new supergreen, and that’s because the moringa tree’s leaves contain protein, copper, iron, phenolics, potassium, vitamins A and C, B vitamins, calcium, and folic acid. Its health-promoting qualities are no joke, with studies pointing to its cholesterol-lowering, antioxidant-rich, cardiac and circulatory system-supporting benefits, among others, according to the journal Phytotherapy Research. Want to start adding moringa to the mix? It’s available in powder, capsule, or as a juice.