Here’s a thing. My wife thinks I was neglected as a child. Why? Whilst her mom was giving her chicken nuggets and chocolate cake – the good stuff, to a child – my mom, a lifelong vegetarian, took things in a different direction. Mine and my brother’s plates were piled high with fresh vegetables. After dinner, we were invited to choose a piece of fruit from the fruit bowl as dessert.
She was onto something, way ahead of her time.
In an era of ever more intelligent supplements and diet hacks, there is a simple truth we cannot ignore. Fruit and vegetables are about the best thing going. They are full of health giving micronutrients. They give you plenty of fiber. They are good sources of healthy, clean carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
In short, they are necessary for a healthy life. They are necessary for maintaining a healthy body and mind, and for making any kind of athletic progression in the gym.
However, many people under-consume fruit and vegetables. Fair enough. We are bombarded with processed foods that are sometimes too convenient to pass on. Life is hectic and fruit and veg can take a little bit more preparation than ready meals and other ingredients. Some people still maintain a childlike squeamishness towards them – after all, they can be a little uninspiring if not prepared correctly.
If you want to be truly fit and healthy, you can’t afford to do this. I would recommend filling every plate of food you eat with vegetables. I would recommend eating 2-3 pieces of fruit every day.
I would also recommend taking some kind of greens powder. The best greens powders will allow you to fill up on the health-giving nutrients and fibers inherent to some of the most superfood fruits and vegetables going, conveniently, on the go, for relatively little money.
What Is A Greens Powder?
Greens powders are simple products made from some of the best ingredients going. They are a mixture of blended vegetables, grasses, grains, and fruits, all readily available as a straight forward powder. Some will be plain – which I prefer – whilst others will have natural sweeteners and flavorings added (otherwise they can taste a bit grassy…)
This means that you can take in the health-giving properties of top fruit and veg in a smoothie or juice. I typically mix mine in with my first protein shake of the day – hence I like my powders unflavored.
Greens powders give a great many health benefits. They can aid in weight loss, give you more energy, improve your gut and digestive health, and help pretty much every other function in your body to improve.
There are few things you can do for your health that are as easy or profound as taking a good greens powder.
Luckily, we recently got the chance to look at some of the best greens powders going.
Our 6 Best Greens Powders
Now you know all there is to know about why getting your greens (and fruit) are important, let’s take a look at our favorite 6 green powders to help you get your recommended daily dose.
Supergreen Tonik by Human Tonik LLC is one of my favorite supplements period, let alone being one of my favorite greens powders. It gives you everything you need from your daily fruit and veg needs, all blended down into an easy, pleasantly drinkable powder.
Human Tonik LLC’s CEO and founder, Adam Wright, is a former triathlete (a man after my own heart). He worked with a top tier nutritional manufacturer to come up with the Supergreen Tonik blend. Despite being such a fit go-getter, Wright had been suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome for several years. This came with a brain fog that simply wouldn’t shift: he couldn’t find any greens powders that could put him back on track, so decided to come up with his own product.
The formula that resulted is incredibly potent. It is a blend of over 30 ingredients, all naturally sourced. They include minerals like iron, calcium and zinc, all well-known for energy giving properties and athletic enhancement. It also includes over a dozen vitamins and plenty of natural plant sources, such as spirulina, chlorella, moringa leaf, ashwagandha, bacopa leaf and herb, spinach, barley grass, garlic bulb, olive leaf, dandelion leaf, rhodiola root extract, ginkgo biloba, l-theanine and kale.
This is ingredients list is kind of a who’s who of high end greenery – the A-List of fruit and veg if you like.
Taken together, these ingredients should provide you with a fair few benefits.
Firstly, there is a lot of fiber in there. This will help you to maintain good digestive and gut health, keeping you out of the danger zone of a lot of chronic conditions associated with poor health in both. This will also help you to lose weight by keeping you feeling fuller for longer and maintaining good gut bacteria. Finally, this fiber content will help you to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Super Green Tonik should also suppress oxidation, thus decreasing damaging free radical presence in your body. It should also lower your blood pressure and normalize blood sugar and red blood cell levels. You may find yourself sleeping more deeply, with a reduced risk of insomnia, stress, and anxiety, whilst having more energy and increased mental focus during the day.
Finally, the volume and quality of greens in Super Green Tonik will help to maintain good immune health, keeping you on your feet and free from common illnesses.
- Improves digestive and gut health
- Aids in weight loss
- Improves energy levels, mental clarity and focus
- Everything is third-party tested and made in a US-based, GMP-certified factory
- All ingredients are clearly labelled
- Free from stimulants, dairy, egg and soy
- Vegan friendly
- Can only be bought direct from their website
Amazing Grass’s organic greens blend is a far simpler, arguably more elegant beast than Super Green Tonik. I always admire a simple supplement that is well thought out, that does the job, without the need for anything extraneous.
The basic product combines seven nutritious greens with vitamins and minerals to give you the results you want. The formula is made from wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa grass, spinach, spirulina, chlorella (cracked cell wall), and broccoli, all of which are high-quality and entirely organic and natural.
However, you do have the option with Amazing Grass to go for a more specialized blend. For example, they offer an immunity support package, a cleanse and detox, and a range of different flavors (though none of these taste too great.)
I’m most interested in the basic package, however. This is where I believe the most profound results will come into play, and it’s the formula that will be most useful to most people.
Though a slightly shorter list of ingredients than we might see elsewhere from the supergreen supplements we have shortlisted, Amazing Grass does exactly what a good greens powder should do. It will give you immune support, regardless of which package you go with, and should help to boost natural energy and hormone function. It will lead to improved gut and digestive health, with plenty of fiber in the recipe, and can be a great weight loss tool. Most importantly, it will give you a generous helping of a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are key to long term health.
I like the ethos underpinning Amazing Grass’ business dealings, too. Everything they include is organic, as above. It is grown and harvested through a great network of quality farmers across the world who are all given a fair cut of the profits. Everything is grown and nurtured outdoors, allowing for a deeper root structure than many other, tray-grown ingredients would have. This means a greater absorption of key nutrients and minerals.
- Simple, elegant formula
- High-quality, well-sourced ingredients
- Improves digestive and gut health
- Aids in weight loss
- Improves energy levels, mental clarity and focus
- Gluten and dairy free
- Available from multiple sellers
- The taste isn’t the best
- May cause stomach upset in the early days
Balance of Nature Veggies
I also really like Balance of Nature. On their website, they invite you to ‘Break up with Blah!’ I agree. This is a great thing to do and Balance of Nature Veggies is a great tool for doing so.
Their founder, Dr. Howard, is one of the world’s leading phytonutrition researchers (nutrition from plant sources). He is well-known in certain circles, making plenty of appearances on different media and lecturing around the globe. His research is industry leading.
As a result of his early work, Dr. Howard brought out Balance of Nature Fruit & Veggies way back in 1997.
It was a supplement designed to replace multivitamins, that recognized the importance of eating plenty of whole fruit and veg. This, he theorized, would allow people’s bodies to stay balanced, with sufficient phytochemicals taken at optimal ratios.
Balance of Nature makes use of only flash dried, whole fruits and vegetables. This reduces volume without losing any nourishment, making it far easier to take in plenty of fruits and vegetables in one sitting. In fact, it should amount to more like ten servings, well above federal recommendations and more in-keeping with Dr. Howard’s research. There are a full fifteen different whole vegetables in the formula: cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cayenne pepper, celery stalk, garlic, onion, soybean, spinach, wheatgrass, yam, shitake mushroom, and zucchini.
You can even watch a lovely video on their website showing how everything is made. I fully recommend taking a look for a glimpse behind the curtain.
Furthermore, everything is entirely natural and vine ripened. There are no additives, preservatives, chemicals or sugar used, nor do the growers use any pesticides. Balance of Nature is free from gluten with no GMO.
- Does everything a good greens powder should – improving immune health, digestion, and so on
- Boosts energy levels
- Everything is organic, natural and vine ripened, with no GMO
- Gluten free and vegan friendly
- Backed up by a wealth of knowledge from the founder, a foremost expert in the field
- It can taste a bit earthy if not mixed properly
Now we come onto a greens powder specifically marketed for athletes and athletic endeavor. Though everything on this list could benefit anyone in any kind of training, Athletic Greens, by Athletic Greens Inc., perhaps takes the prize.
It is fiendishly complex. The recipe as a whole has permutated quite wildly over the years. Though it’s only been going for a decade, we have seen over fifty different iterations of Athletic Greens. All have been heavy on ingredient variety. The current formula includes more than 70 separate ingredients, each one designed to enhance your athleticism in one way or another.
Athletic Greens’ extensive ingredients list includes multivitamins, minerals, probiotics, plant extracts, enzymes, antioxidants, mushrooms, and even a superfood complex snuck in at the end. All of this comes together to look after pretty much every aspect of physical wellbeing I can think of, giving an incredibly impactful nutritional boost to those who ask a lot of their bodies (athletes, in short).
You will see benefits across all of the systems a good greens powder should help, plus a few more. Athletic Greens will likely improve your digestive health and immune health, give you more energy and greater clarity, and help you to utilize fat for energy, as anything on this list will do. It should also help with post-workout fatigue, diminishing symptoms of delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), helping you to heal from injury and trauma, and accelerating your overall recovery process.
This is largely due to the astounding mineral content included with Athletic Greens’ formula. It includes calcium, chromium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, alpha lipoic acid, manganese, bromelain, and co-enzyme q10. You also get more than a dozen vitamins to support your body as you train.
All of this means that you will be able to train harder, more often, with energy to spare.
There are over 20 ingredients in Athletic Greens’ superfood complex. It is comprised of plenty of elements common to this kind of supplement, plus a few wild cards, with ingredients including spirulina, lecithin, inulin, wheat grass, alfalfa, broccoli, papaya, pineapple, beet root, rose hip, carrot root, grape seed, green tea, apple powder, chlorella, barley, slippery elm acerola, bilberry, licorice, lycium berry, spinach, cocoa bean, ginger rhizome, and kelp.
It really is a phenomenal list, though I can’t help but feel some of this may be a little overkill.
- It promotes healthy digestion and gut, improves immune function, and gives you plenty of energy
- It also works to diminish DOMS and accelerate post-training recovery
- Fantastic list of ingredients
- Helps you to overcome injury
- Everything is third-party tested and made in a US-based, GMP-certified factory
- Certified by NSF International for sporting use
- Vegan friendly, gluten, peanut and corn free
- Many of the ingredients’ dosing is hidden in proprietary blends
- Perhaps an overkill in ingredients included
- Can only be bought from their website
Purely Inspired Organic Greens
Purely Inspired Organic Greens are made by Purely Organic, one of the world’s fastest growing supplement manufacturers. Each serving gives you 39 superfoods, 18 vitamins and minerals, and a dose of active probiotics, making it one of the more complex formulas on this list.
These ingredients are high quality, too. Everything is non-GMO, gluten free, and free from any artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors. It’s particularly easy to use, too – it blends down really smoothly, really simply, with just a regular shaker. It also dissolves nicely into soups, stews, and sauces, making it incredibly versatile.
Of course, you can do this with any product on this list. I just found the blend a lot smoother with Purely Inspired Organic Greens than with many others.
There isn’t anything too fancy or exotic in the recipe – it is all just good-quality, common or garden fare that gives you the health kick you’re looking for. Everyday ingredients like banana, apple, pineapple, sweet potato, beet, tomato, strawberry, spinach, broccoli, carrot, cherry, radish, alfalfa, pumpkin, sunflower, and lentil combine with some slightly more rarefied ingredients like chia garbanzo, flax, quinoa and wheatgrass, though nothing is too unusual.
There are also plenty of antioxidants in the formula, particularly the antioxidant vitamins C and E. This should keep you safe from free radical damage and inflammation, much like the other products on this list.
It’s simple and complex all at once – simple ingredients, en masse, included in a very clever recipe. I really like this kind of formula. It works well, is unpretentious, and gives you everything you need from it.
- The results are great, from improved strength to heightened mood and energy
- All ingredients are entirely safe and natural
- No reported side effects
- Lots of ingredients
- Simple, everyday goodness
- Good for fighting inflammation
- From a fast growing, innovative company
- Blends really well
- Can taste a little grassy
Let’s end on a little bit of pedigree. Green Vibrance has been going strong for a couple of decades now. There is a very good reason for this kind of longevity: as with Balance of Nature Veggies, they have made a good product that people have been returning to consistently over the years.
It is a very nourishing compound of alkalizing green superfoods that brings all the benefits you would expect of a top-tier greens powder. It will boost immune and cardiovascular health, aid in digestive health and healthy gut bacteria, give you more energy, and lead to generally improved wellbeing across the board.
It is also an incredible source of probiotics.
All of this has meant that Green Vibrance has won awards consistently and plentifully throughout its lifetime.
The formula is dense. You get over 70 different ingredients with each Green Vibrance dose, all of which have been carefully selected and blended to support healthy bodily function. It uses cereal grass powders and juices for bioavailable, valuable nutrients and fibers, as well as plenty of green vegetables, including parsley leaf & stem, spinach leaf, broccoli sprouts and kale. It also includes spirulina, an abundant source of high quality phytonutrients, protein and vitamins.
It is the probiotics that really set Green Vibrance apart, however, alongside a very hefty dose of digestive enzymes, antioxidants and added botanicals. The probiotics, of which there are 25 billion in each serving, are separated across 12 strains to better inspire gut health, strong intestinal flora, and healthy digestion.
- Fantastic source of probiotics
- Will help to support natural bodily function
- Plenty of ingredients (perhaps an excessive amount, as with some others on this list)
- An industry leader with plenty of experience and awards
- Everything is natural, organic, GMO free
- Some varieties are not vegan and might also contain soy
- The taste isn’t particularly nice
Do Greens Powders Work?
This is a hard question to answer. Greens Powders aren’t really designed to do any one single thing. It’s not like weight loss pills or pre-workouts, where clear metrics allow you to identify what works and what doesn’t.
Greens Powders are far more fundamental than this.
You need a good intake of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet. They will give you the vitamins and minerals you need to remain healthy and functioning as you want to. They also give you plenty of antioxidants and polyphenols for long-lasting health. You will get fiber in large quantities, keeping your cholesterol levels low, your gut and digestive health in good shape, and your trips to the bathroom regular.
Not everybody eats enough, however. In fact, many don’t, for a variety of reasons. This is where Greens Powders come into play. They give you the fruit and veg kick you need without having to worry about anything. They are also made from the most potent ingredients, the healthiest options, all blended by experts to be bioavailable and as useful as possible.
Each Greens Powder will give you something different. Whether or not they achieve their individual goals is an individual question. All the items on the list above do, so rest assured there. However, they will all give you a baseline level of good quality nutrition, supplementing your diet to keep you as healthy as possible.
In this way, they work incredibly well.
How To Take Greens Powder
The most usual, most convenient way to take a Greens Powder is to treat it as you would a protein shake. I generally blend mine into a protein shake, even. Simply find your favorite drink, chuck it into your blender or shaker, and make yourself a healthy smoothie.
I would generally advise taking this either early morning or during/straight after a workout for best results.
However, you can also use Greens Powder in cooking. This is a great way to keep the whole family healthy. You can mix it into soups, stews, sauces, and so on. You can sprinkle it over baked potatoes, salads, eggs, or anything else you can think of.
Also, try not to use Greens Powders as too much of a crutch. They are supplements, not a meal in themselves. Augment your diet with them, enhancing as good and varied a set of meal plans as possible.
How To Choose A Good Greens Powder
There are a few factors to take into account when choosing the right greens powder for you. However, they aren’t the most important thing in the world. Most greens powders will fulfill a couple of basic functions. They will give you a good dose of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and so forth. They will also give you plenty of fiber.
Outside of this, there are a few frills to consider. For example, I particularly like Athletic Greens. It is designed to help you overcome post-training fatigue, including incidents of DOMS. As a health and fitness enthusiast, this is important to me. If a product has a secondary role like this that appeals to you and your needs, great. It’s probably the one for you.
Variety counts a bit, though as we have seen, even simple compounds can work wonders. Quality is far more important. As long as there are at least three or four high quality ingredients, superfood compounds that bring all the benefits we need, at a rate of 3-5 grams per dose, GMO free, preferably additive free, possibly vegan, dairy, and soy free, it will do what you need it to do. It will give you the benefits you should expect of your greens powder.
Will greens powders work for me?
As above, this is a bit of a hard question. Greens Powders don’t ‘work’ – they don’t elicit any single acute response. What they do is give you the fruit and vegetables we all need to remain healthy, plus some added benefits. This will bring about a wide range of effects which can all be placed under the banner of ‘improved health and wellbeing’. It is in this way that they will work – they will make you healthier than you would be on a low fruit and veg diet.
How long will it take to see results?
Most of the effects are non-acute. You will notice a change in your digestive health quickly – perhaps within a few days. However, the main results will be long lasting and indefinite. How pronounced they are will depend on your current diet. If you have a diet rich in fruit and veg at the moment, the results will be slim. If you don’t, they will be really quite profound.
Are there any side effects from taking greens powders?
Greens Powders are all-natural, meaning there should be few side effects. You may notice some digestive discomfort in the first couple of days. You will also find yourself going to the bathroom a lot more, especially if your regular diet is low in fiber. However, there will be no real side effects outside of this.
Overall Top Pick
It’s hard to choose a winner. They are all fantastic, all do the job well, and all bring something slightly different to the table. I really admire both the simplicity and straightforwardness inherent to Amazing Grass and the complexity of larger formulas like Balance of Nature.
For me, however, Athletic Greens takes the prize. This is highly personal, as any choice between supplements needs to be. The quality in all the entries into this list is fantastic. However, as an athlete, anything that can speed up my recovery time and reduce symptoms of DOMS is incredibly welcome.
This puts Athletic Greens in front of the rest by the faintest of whiskers.
Written by John Dixon
John is a personal trainer and part time (although he might say full time) writer here at PathMed. He uses his knowledge of fitness and physiotherapy to deliver real insight in to our reviews and health guides.
John’s military background also brings a real-life perspective to his work.