The low down on super-greens supplements

Whilst there is no replacement for eating a wide variety of whole vegetables, it’s no secret that many of us find it hard to eat enough of them every day to meet the recommended daily intake of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they provide and that are needed to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy body.

The recommendation from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department of Health is that all of us should incorporate at least five portions of a wide variety of fruit and vegetables every day so that this food group represents around a third of our daily intake of food – as shown in the Eatwell Plate guide.

But the reality is that many of us fall way short of this target and according to recent UK food intake and nutrition studies (NDNS), over three-quarters of us are failing to meet the minimum recommended intake. 

Whether you have a full-on career, are a busy parent or are a full-time student – the truth is many of us have such busy lives and packed diaries that it can be hard to fit in even thinking about our daily dietary requirements – let alone making fresh, healthy meals three times a day. And despite the recent wave of health fads and the growth in popularity of many healthy eating trends, there has been little change if any, across the last ten years, with reports across various UK NDNS studies (National Diet & Nutrition) showing that most people are quite set in their dietary ways. 

What is the answer? 

Supplementation with the right products is a healthy way of enriching our diet in order to enhance our intake of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

And one such supplement that has seen a huge surge in popularity is the super greens supplement. Once a niche market for health enthusiasts, super greens have now gained a much wider audience as more and more people use them as an efficient and easy way to reach their recommended nutrient intake.

What are they?

Super greens supplements are a unique variety of superfood which are comprised of a combination of any of the following as the main ingredients:

  • Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale
  • Grains and grasses including wheat, barley and alfalfa
  • Algae such as spirulina and chlorella

They are naturally rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants and tend to boast both a striking green colour and a distinct flavour. 

These days super green supplements come in a convenient powder, capsule or juice form, making it super easy for you to obtain a quick boost of wholesome green nutrients. Prime Fifty have also just launched a new effervescent super greens tablet which is the first effervescent Super Greens tablet available in the UK. This particular super greens drink has received some strong and positive reviews for its well-researched ingredients list, ease of use and superior taste – with a melon & lime flavour which makes it an altogether tasty and refreshing drink and means you are not holding your nose and drinking it as fast you can – unlike other grassy tasting formulas. This is important because let’s face it - flavour and taste matter to us - if you have to hold your nose every-time you drink something – you simply won’t do it every day.

What are the benefits of taking super greens?

Well let’s take a look at two of the key ingredients in most super green’s formulas:

Spirulina

Spirulina is a single-celled blue-green algae - a type of cyanobacteria that grows in both fresh and salt water – it’s about 60% protein by weight and has an abundance of nutrients which includes vitamin K, iron, B vitamins, copper and beta-carotene. Gram for gram, it’s been claimed to be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and may be one of the few superfoods actually worthy of the title. It may improve your levels of blood lipids, suppress oxidation, reduce blood pressure and lower blood sugar, it’s also reported to be a great source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage. It can potentially help with cholesterol and there is also one study that suggests it can increase the haemoglobin content of red blood cells, improve immune function and reduce anaemia in older adults. Spirulina, according to two studies also appears to improve muscle strength and endurance (1) (2).It may also improve digestive health by acting as a prebiotic to help probiotics grow in the gut (3).

Chlorella

Chlorella is also a single-celled alga that’s native to Japan and Taiwan. It’s packed full of protein and is absorbed by the body almost as well as protein from dairy sources such as eggs and milk which makes it a great protein option for vegans.

The many reported benefits include helping the body to detox by binding to heavy metals, 

detoxifying your body and improving its ability to clear toxins, enhancing your immune response and acting as an anti-oxidant which can help reduce inflammation in your body and may provide some protection against chronic disease. Other nutrients found in chlorella include carotenoids, fibre and niacin can help to lower cholesterol levels. It’s also been reported to promote weight loss – in a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers state that chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels.

Many supplements will also add in additional vitamins and minerals to the ingredients list. For example – the Prime Fifty Super Greens formula mentioned above - also contains vitamins B1, B2 and B3 which are known to play a key role in our energy production. Zinc, copper, vitamin C and E which have been the subject of the largest eye health study ever conducted, in which these nutrients were shown to reduce the incidence of macular degeneration. Biotin and Selenium to maintain healthy skin, hair & nails plus calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K to support bone health.

So, if you are not meeting your serving of greens each day and need to up your quota but think you may struggle to incorporate more vegetables into your meals, then it might be worth investing in a super greens supplement to support your diet and provide you with a convenient and easy way to invest in your health too.