If your diet is a bit lackluster when it comes to micronutrients from fruits and vegetables, a green superfood drink could be a great option. These easy-to-use powders let you mix up a drink that contains concentrated extracts from dozens of the most potent superfoods known to nutritionists.
They’re great for keeping your micronutrient intake high, even if you have a pretty healthy diet, but they’re also a must-have if you have a busy, travel-filled schedule that makes it tough to get a high intake of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.
Still not convinced that you need a green superfood drink? Check out these twelve wide-ranging benefits compiled by our research team.
Green drinks benefits
1. Green foods are full of phytonutrients
Green drinks are packed with carotenoids, antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, enzymes, vitamins and minerals–all potent compounds that are responsible for many of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables (1).
2. Green drinks contain micronutrients that are particularly easy to absorb
The high bioavailability of plant-based micronutrients in green drinks means they’re readily absorbed by the body, according to a review of plant micronutrient research (2).
3. Green drinks are great for the 90% of people who don’t get enough fruits and vegetables
The majority of people don’t consistently hit the high standard of fruit and vegetable intake needed to optimize health, and if you fall in that category, a green drink is a great option (3).
4. Green foods are low in calories
That makes green drinks a great option for people looking for an easy way to get the benefits of fruits and vegetables but who don’t want to increase their caloric intake with traditional shakes or smoothies.
5. Chlorella in green drinks could boost immune function
Clinical research shows that as little as eight weeks of supplementation with this key green drink ingredient can stimulate better immune function (4).
6. Spirulina and fiber in green drinks can increase satiety
Green drinks are great for weight loss, thanks to the satiety-inducing effects of both fiber and spirulina–two common ingredients in any good green drink. Research shows both of these compounds increase feelings of satiety, or fullness, making you less likely to overeat (5,6,7).
7. Kelp in green powders boosts metabolism
Kelp is another common green addition to green powders, best known as a natural source of iodine, and research shows that it might keep your resting metabolic rate high, helping with weight loss and weight maintenance (8).
8. Barley grass in green powders lowers cholesterol
9. Chlorophyll in green drinks can boost immune function and suppress appetite
10. Green drinks can help heal your digestive tract
Nutritional powerhouses like alfalfa, wheatgrass, spirulina, and chlorella contain digestive enzymes that improve digestion and cut down on gastrointestinal complaints (13).
11. Green drinks are ideal for fat loss
It shouldn’t be surprising that micronutrients in green vegetables lead to fat loss, and green drinks are a super convenient way to get more of these nutrients in your diet (14).
12. Green powders can help your gut bacteria
Some of our top-rated green drinks include probiotics, which elevate the levels of good bacteria in your body. Higher levels of probiotics helps both with both gut and immune function (15).
Green drinks side effects
Clinical trials on green drinks report no serious side effects. One review of 21 different scientific studies that used green superfood drinks noted that none of the participants reported any serious adverse effects (16).
Watch out for food allergies with green drinks with lengthy ingredient lists. While they are uncommon, some people do have allergies to specific types of fruits or vegetables, such as mangoes or kiwi fruit.
If you have these allergies, you should check the ingredients list to see if any of the fruits or vegetables you know you are allergic to are present. If so, you’ll want to opt for a different product.
Herbal extracts in green drinks might have side effects. More green drinks are relying on herbal extracts recently; some compounds you might find like garcinia cambogia have side effects that aren’t seen in more traditional superfood drinks.
Too much of a green drink might inhibit recovery from tough workouts. Antioxidants are a double-edged sword for athletes: taking a huge antioxidant dose right after your workout might inhibit the oxidation and inflammation that is needed for improvement (17).
Green drinks dosage
Aim for the equivalent of eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables. It’s hard to calibrate dosage with a green drink, but your goal should be to replace the fruits and vegetables you would have eaten if your diet were optimal.
Most brands of green superfood drink powders will give an “equivalent” servings estimate for one serving size of the powder.
Take Athletic Greens, one of our top-ranked products, as an example: it contains the antioxidant potential of one serving of fruits and vegetables per gram of powder (the recommended serving size, 12 grams, would be twelve servings).
If you usually only get three servings of fruits and vegetables per day, taking seven grams of Athletic Greens would be a solid dosage.
Take a green drink daily, not just intermittently. Based on the scientific research, it does seem to be better to drink your green superfood drink every day, versus intermittently or sporadically.
Regular consumption seems to achieve the best results, at least as measured by blood levels of specific antioxidant compounds.
Green drinks benefits FAQ
Q: What is a green superfood drink?
A: A green superfood drink is a supplement that contains concentrated forms of fruits and vegetables.
They are “superfood” drinks because the fruits and vegetables selected for inclusion are typically very high in their antioxidant content, such as berries and cruciferous vegetables (i.e. kale, bok choy, broccoli, etc.).
Q: Why are green drinks green?
A: Green drinks are typically green in color because ingredients like powdered kale, spirulina, and chlorella contain high amounts of chlorophyll, which gives the powder and the liquid a dark shade of green.
Q: Are green drinks only made of vegetables?
A: No, a good green drink goes way beyond just veggies—the best brands contain plenty of fruits, and even extras like beneficial digestive enzymes and probiotic bacteria.
Q: Is there caffeine in green superfood drinks?
A: Generally there is no caffeine in green superfood drinks, unless they contain green tea extract. Even so, the actual amount of caffeine in green tea extract is less than what you’d get in a regular cup of green tea (circa 35 mg of caffeine).
A few brands, like Amazing Grass, offer energy blends that specifically include caffeine, so your green superfood drink can serve as an energy drink replacement. We didn’t rank green drinks like this, because they’re less versatile (you can’t really take them at night), but they do fill a nice niche.
Related: Our best green drink picks
Green drinks pack together some of the most potent natural sources of nutrients you can find in a tasty and easy to prepare blend.
They’re an excellent addition to your daily routine if you don’t always get enough fruits and vegetables, and even if you do, they’re a great way of increasing the diversity of the sources of your nutrients.
With a broad range of applications and few downsides, green superfood drinks are a category of supplements that work great for just about everyone.