Dark, leafy greens are some of the healthiest superfoods out there. Packed full of nutrients shown to ward off disease and keep us looking and feeling great, this class of nutritious veggies has been given the title of supergreens (or super greens powder).
When it comes to these power greens, the more you consume, the greater the benefits you’re likely to experience. This is where super greens powders come in.
Rather than prep greens morning, noon, and night, powdered greens allow you to have your greens on the go. You can add them to smoothies, cook with them, or take a multivitamin with green superfoods found within.
Another benefit of super greens vitamins and powders is that they contain a wider variety of greens than typically exist as part of a healthy diet. From grasses and sea vegetables to traditional greens like kale and spinach, you can find it all in a quality superfood powder or multivitamin. This variety means a greater diversity of health-promoting antioxidants, minerals, and more.
We’ve compiled a list of our top five favorite super greens. Whether eaten as part of a meal or taken in the form of a greens supplement, these amazing greens offer some impressive health benefits.
Super Green #1: Chlorella
Chlorella is a type of green algae that grows in freshwater. Native to Japan and Taiwan, chlorella’s popularity as a health food started in Asia and has since spread to the United States, Europe, and beyond.
As a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients, researchers have found chlorella to benefit human health in many ways.
- Chlorella Facilitates Detox
Heavy metals found in food, water, and the environment can build up to toxic levels in our bodies. This toxicity can contribute to neurological diseases, cancer, general fatigue, and more. Chlorella has shown promise in helping the body flush out toxic heavy metals.
- Chlorella Supports a Healthy Immune System
Your immune system is your primary defense against infections and disease. In a study published in the Nutrition Journal, chlorella supplementation stimulated the immune systems of healthy participants. By supporting your immune system, chlorella may help to keep you healthy.
- Chlorella Could Protect Against Diabetes and Heart Disease
Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are common chronic conditions. Type 2 diabetes is marked by high blood sugar, while high cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
In a small human study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, daily chlorella supplementation led to a reduction in blood sugar and cholesterol levels. These findings suggest that chlorella may be protective against heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Super Green #2: Kale
Kale is one of the most popular dark, leafy greens in the US. The widespread consumption of kale is primarily thanks to its impressive health benefits, not its palatability. Here’s why kale has become a common household staple.
- Kale Fights Inflammation
Inflammation is our body’s way of protecting against illnesses and healing injuries. Once a problem is resolved, the immune system reduces inflammation, and the body returns a state of balance. But when inflammation doesn’t resolve with time, it can damage our cells.
This is known as chronic inflammation, and it’s involved in the progression of many common illnesses. Diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease are three of the many inflammatory diseases.
Kale is packed with a variety of anti-inflammatory compounds, including flavonoids, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids. As such, it may help to protect our bodies from the adverse health effects of chronic inflammation.
- Kale Quells Oxidative Damage
Every day our bodies work to protect our cells from oxidative damage, a type of harm caused by molecules called free radicals or reactive oxygen species.
Our cells naturally produce free radicals as a consequence of creating energy. However, our environment and habits can result in further free radical formation. This is one reason why pollution, stress, and eating unhealthy foods is harmful to our health.
The damage caused by these molecules expedites the aging process. In doing so, free radicals up the risk of illness and increase signs of aging, like saggy skin and dull hair.
Kale is incredibly rich in antioxidants, a class of compounds that fight oxidative damage. By keeping our cells healthy, kale supports our health and appearance.
- Kale Safeguards Eye Health
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two antioxidants that play a central role in eye health by protecting the eyes from harmful wavelengths of light. Both antioxidants are found in high levels in kale, making kale a superfood for our eyes.
Super Green #3: Barley Grass
You’ve probably eaten the grain barley, but you may have never knowingly consumed barley grass. Barley grass is the leaf of the barley plant. It’s packed with countless nutrients, making it a green worthy of its use in super greens supplements.
- Barley Grass Supports Digestion
Many of us have trouble with our digestive health. While this is most obvious in people with conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis, some of us have difficulties without realizing it. Acid reflux, bloating, and indigestion can be signs of something going wrong.
Multiple studies have found barley grass to support gut health. By helping digestive health, barley grass may protect against digestive discomfort and illnesses.
- Barley May Protect the Liver
Barley grass contains nutrients known as saponarins. In an animal study, saponarins protected against liver toxicity in rats. These benefits are likely due to the potent antioxidant activity of saponarins.
- Barley May Help Arthritis Patients
Barley grass extract is sometimes used as a natural therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Its benefits are thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Super Green #4: Broccoli
You’ve probably eaten broccoli since you were a kid (whether you wanted to or not). This dark green cruciferous vegetable has been studied extensively, revealing many benefits for human health.
- Broccoli Supports Digestive Health
Broccoli’s fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds help to keep our digestive tracts healthy. A key player in the health and function of our digestive system is something known as our gut microbiome, a community of beneficial bacteria that call our guts home. These microorganisms influence our digestion, mood, energy levels, and food cravings.
- Broccoli Has Anti-Cancer Effects
Fruits and vegetables are known to have protective effects against certain forms of cancer. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli are particularly intriguing when it comes to their anti-cancer potential thanks to compounds known as glucosinolates.
Because glucosinolates are only found in broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, broccoli may confer unique anti-cancer benefits.
- Broccoli Keeps Bones Strong
When most of us envision healthy teeth and bones, calcium is the nutrient that comes to mind. While this mineral does play a role in bone health, it’s not the only nutrient of importance. Vitamin K and vitamin D work together to support strong bones. Your body creates vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and you can get vitamin K from broccoli. Plus, broccoli contains calcium too.
Super Green #5: Oat Grass
Green oat grass, also known as oat straw, comes from the same grass that produces whole grain oats. But don’t confuse the benefits of the grain with those of the grass. The green oat herb, or oat grass, contains unique compounds that benefit human health.
- Oat Grass Boosts Cognition
Much of the attention that oat grass receives from the health community is thanks to its brain-boosting effects. Early research in healthy humans found that a singular dose of green oat extracts enhanced brain activity, although long-term benefits are uncertain. More research is needed to fully understand how oat grass may benefit our brain health and function.
- Oat Grass Could Relieve Stress
Green oat herb has been used since the Middle Ages to support mental health. While more research is needed in humans to confirm this potential effect, animal research has found stress-reducing benefits of wild green oat extract.