The Top 5 Greens Powders, According to a Dietitian

Garden of Life's Raw Organic Superfood is our top pick

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Best Greens Powders

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Many people have started using greens powders to boost their nutrient intake without having to cook or prepare any greens. But are they really as "healthy" as people think?

"Greens powders may be a way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake with minimal effort," says Maddi Osburn RDN LD. But they don't replace whole foods. "Whole fruits and vegetables provide significantly more fiber per serving than most greens powders, which is important for digestive and cardiovascular health," says Osburn. Eating greens (as well as other fruits and vegetables) has been linked to numerous health benefits, from reduced risk of cardiovascular disease to slowing cognitive decline.However, we don't know if you get the same benefits from those greens in powdered supplement form.

There are dozens of greens powders on the market today, each with different ingredients. Many powders contain herbs, adaptogens, prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and other ingredients, many of which could interact with medications or worsen symptoms of chronic illnesses. Therefore, if you're considering using a greens powder, review the ingredient label carefully and check with a healthcare provider to ensure it's safe for you.

Verywell Approved Greens Powders

  • Best Overall: Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood provides a wide variety of greens, fruits, and vegetables. We like that it is a top pick by ConsumerLab and offers more produce than just greens without any added sugars or alternative sweeteners.
  • Best for Athletes: Biosteel Sport Greens is NSF approved for sport, an important consideration for competitive athletes. It also contains nutrients that may support recovery from exercise.

Are Greens Powders Beneficial?

Some small studies have shown that greens powders might offer health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, while studies looking at whether greens powders can increase energy have shown no benefit.

Fruit and vegetable powders have been shown to increase blood levels of vitamins as well as certain antioxidants, like carotenoids. Carotenoids are known to reduce the risk of certain cancers, age-related macular degeneration, and cardiovascular disease.

However, more research is needed to understand greens powders and whether or not they offer true benefits. Please keep in mind that a great deal of the benefits of fruits and vegetables is offering nutrients in combination with dietary fiber, and greens powders usually offer little to no fiber. Greens powders cannot replace a well-balanced, varied diet, but they may be helpful to some people who aren't getting enough nutrients through food.

Greens powders may be beneficial for the following people:

  • People who don't eat many fruits and vegetables: "For those who may not like vegetables, greens powders may be a great alternative," says Andrew Akhaphong, MS, RD, LD. Although greens powders aren't an exact replacement for eating green vegetables (and other nutrient-rich produce), they can provide you with important nutrients to support health that may otherwise be missing.
  • People who travel frequently: It can sometimes be difficult to eat enough produce when you're constantly on the go, and greens powders can be an easy, portable way to meet some of your vitamin and mineral needs.
  • Some athletes: "Prolonged high-intensity exercise can increase vitamin and mineral needs. Some athletes have trouble meeting even their baseline nutrient needs, let alone an increased amount for optimal recovery," says Osburn. If you're a competitive athlete and decide to use a greens powder, be sure to choose a product that is third-party tested and free from any banned ingredients for your sport.
  • People with decreased absorption: People with certain illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease may have lower nutrient absorption. In these cases, a greens powder may help you achieve higher nutrient needs. However, be sure that there aren't any ingredients that can make your digestive problem worse.
  • People undergoing surgery: Emerging research suggests that fruit and vegetable powders could aid in recovery from surgery. This may be especially beneficial for people undergoing oral surgery or other surgeries that limit the ability to consume whole fruits and vegetables.

Who May Not Benefit From Greens Powders

The ingredients in greens powders vary significantly, so it's important to thoroughly read the label to make sure it's safe for you. Most greens powders contain more than just leafy green vegetables. Many contain grasses and alfalfa sprouts that could interact with medications or make some health concerns worse.

While they are often marketed as "food," greens powders are a supplement, and even food-based ingredients can be problematic for certain people in the quantities included. Also, because there is so much variation between products, a greens powder that is helpful for one person may not be good for another. The following people should be very cautious when considering a greens powder.

  • People taking prescription medications: Most greens powders include high amounts of vitamin K, which can interact with a variety of prescription medications. "Medications it may interact with include blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering medications, antacids, and those controlling seizures," says Akhaphong. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication, it's best to check with your healthcare provider before using a greens powder.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding people: Many ingredients such as adaptogenic herbs, prebiotics and probiotics, and digestive enzymes are not well-studied in pregnant and breastfeeding people, so we don't know if they are safe. If you're taking a prenatal vitamin, adding a greens powder could lead to toxic doses of some nutrients, so make sure to compare the labels of all supplements combined to the Tolerable Upper Limits set by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
  • People with end-stage kidney disease: "Depending on the product, a serving may contain 140 to 350 milligrams of potassium. Individuals with end-stage kidney disease may not be able to tolerate large amounts of potassium as the kidneys have a hard time removing excess potassium from our blood. A build of potassium, called hyperkalemia, may cause issues like dizziness, nausea, numbness, and a slow heart rate," says Akhaphong.
  • People with a wheat allergy: Most greens powders contain wheatgrass, which is problematic for anyone with a wheat allergy. Of note, wheatgrass is typically harvested before the seed sprouts on the wheat, meaning it is usually gluten-free. However, anyone with celiac disease or who avoids gluten should choose a product that is certified gluten-free. Every greens powder contains different ingredients and may contain allergens, so be sure to check ingredients labels to make sure it's safe for you if you have a food allergy.
  • Professional and collegiate athletes: While greens powders can be a helpful way to add nutrients to an athlete's diet, some supplements may contain ingredients that are banned for sport. "Not all greens powders are third-party tested, so it is especially important for athletes that may be drug tested to avoid using greens powders without proper third-party testing," says Osburn. Look for one that is NSF certified for sport, one of the most rigorous third-party testing certifications.
  • People with digestive disorders: Many greens powders contain ingredients that can worsen digestive problems. People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who have trouble digesting certain carbohydrates known as FODMAPs may have trouble with greens powders. "Greens powders may contain FODMAPs like inulin or FODMAP-rich ingredients like some fruits and vegetables," says Akhaphong. Probiotics and other prebiotics can also worsen some digestive symptoms. If you are going to use a greens powder, "review all ingredients to ensure there aren't any added probiotics or prebiotics that could worsen your symptoms," says Suzie Finkel, MS, RD.
  • People taking other vitamin and mineral supplements: If you're taking a multivitamin or other vitamin or mineral supplement, check to make sure that you won't be consuming too much of any one nutrient. Most nutrients in supplement form (including in greens powders) can cause negative—or even dangerous—side effects when you consume too much. Review the Tolerable Upper Limits set by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

A Note of Caution with Alfalfa

Most greens powders contain alfalfa as a primary ingredient. Although people believe alfalfa to be helpful in treating many diseases from diabetes to high cholesterol and digestive issues, there is no research to support this.

Regularly consuming high doses of alfalfa can be dangerous, especially for people with autoimmune disorders. Consuming high amounts of alfalfa may not be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding people as well as anyone with hormone-related conditions like breast cancer and endometriosis.

Alfalfa has also been shown to interact with anticoagulant medications, hormonal birth control, diabetes medications, and immunosuppressants.

Best Overall: Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood Juiced Greens Powder

4.7
Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood Juiced Greens Powder

Amazon

Pros
  • Top pick by ConsumerLab

  • No added sweeteners

  • Organic and vegan

Cons
  • Contains digestive enzymes

  • Contains probiotics

A top pick by ConsumerLab, the Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood offers an extensive fruit, vegetable, and sprouted grain and seed blend in addition to the greens.

While the extensive ingredient list could mean additional benefits beyond those that other greens powders offer, it is important to thoroughly review all ingredients, especially if you have a food allergy or are taking any prescription medications.

This greens powder is particularly high in vitamin K—with around 70% of the recommended daily allowance—which can interact with blood thinners, cholesterol medications, and even some antibiotics. It also contains some digestive enzymes and probiotics, so if you have any digestive problems, check with a healthcare provider to see if these ingredients could worsen the symptoms.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood is organic, gluten-free, and vegan, but not wheat-free.

Serving Size: 1 scoop (7 grams)⏐Servings Per Container: 30⏐Gluten-Free: Yes⏐Organic: Yes⏐Added Sweetener: No

Best with Protein: Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens

Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens Powder

 Courtesy of Vitamin Shoppe

Pros
  • Organic, simple ingredient list

  • Contains 14 grams of protein

  • No added sweeteners

Cons
  • Large serving size

  • Not vegetarian

We love the simple ingredient list of this greens powder with just a mix of collagen peptides, dehydrated greens, hyaluronic acid, and a small amount of probiotics. It is flavored with coconut water powder and vanilla bean powder.

While the research on the benefits of oral collagen supplementation is mixed, there is some evidence to suggest that collagen peptides may improve skin elasticity. Regardless, collagen can be a good source of protein—this powder contains 14 grams and can be used as a protein powder in your morning smoothie. Vital Proteins also contains hyaluronic acid, which is also said to improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles. While the research on this is limited, one randomized control trial did show that oral hyaluronic can lessen wrinkle formation and improve skin.

While this particular Vital Proteins product is not third-party tested, Vital Proteins is known for its high-quality protein powders and thoughtful ingredient sourcing.

Serving Size: 2 scoops (24 grams)⏐Servings Per Container: 12⏐Gluten-Free: No Organic: No⏐Added Sweetener: No

Best Fermented: Dr. Mercola Fermented Greens Powder

Dr. Mercola Fermented Greens Powder

Source: Dr. Mercola

Pros
  • ConsumerLab approved

  • Small serving size

  • Contains fermented greens

Cons
  • Contains stevia and monk fruit

  • Contains moringa and caffeine, which may not be a good choice for some

The Dr. Mercola fermented greens powder contains a blend of fermented grasses, greens, vegetables, herbs, and algae, including chlorella and spirulina. Fermenting fruits, vegetables, and other foods may increase the body's ability to use and benefit from the antioxidants found in those ingredients. Both spirulina and algae have been shown to offer a number of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

This greens powder contains yerba mate and matcha, both of which contain caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine, are pregnant, or take a medication that could interact with caffeine, you may want to avoid this product.

It also contains moringa, an herb that can affect how medications are broken down in the liver, especially thyroid medications and those used for diabetes. If you're taking any medications, review this product with a healthcare provider before using it.

Dr. Mercola's fermented greens powder is sweetened with the no-calorie natural sweeteners monk fruit and stevia, which can help cut some of the grassy or bitter flavors of the powder without the added sugar. However, these ingredients have distinct flavors which you may or may not enjoy. These ingredients are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, but not much is known about their effects on human health yet.

Serving Size: 1 teaspoon (3 grams)⏐Servings Per Container: 90⏐Gluten-Free: No⏐Organic: Yes⏐Added Sweetener: Monk fruit extract and stevia

Best Organic: Amazing Grass Green Superfood: Super Greens Powder

Amazing Grass Greens Blend Superfood

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Top pick by ConsumerLab

  • Organic and gluten-free

  • Contains algae

Cons
  • Contains digestive enzymes and probiotics

  • Contains rosehip, which may not be a good choice for some

Another top pick by ConsumerLab, Amazing Grass Greens Blend contains a blend of fruits, vegetables, grasses, prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. The fruit and vegetable blend has the same amount of vitamins and minerals as about two servings of produce, which can help you reach the recommended two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables per day (which most adults don't meet). However, keep in mind that two servings of whole produce is much higher in fiber than this powder, which only contains one gram of fiber.

This blend also contains two types of algae—spirulina and chlorella, which have been shown to have numerous potential health benefits, including reduced risk of many chronic diseases.

Amazing grass contains rosehips, which may interact with antacids, estrogens, lithium, and medications that affect blood clotting. The prebiotics (F.O.S), probiotics, and digestive enzymes could also lead to digestive symptoms, especially among people with existing digestive illnesses.

Serving Size: 1 scoop (8 grams)⏐Servings Per Container: 30⏐Gluten-Free: Yes⏐Organic: No⏐Added Sweetener: Some blends contain stevia

Best for Athletes: BioSteel Powdered Greens Antioxidant Superfood

BioSteel Powdered Greens Antioxidant Superfood

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • NSF certified for sport

  • Vegan and free from many allergens

  • Mix of fruit and vegetables

Cons
  • Contains stevia and inulin

If you're a competitive athlete, it's essential to choose a product that is third-party tested for any ingredients banned by your sport. Biosteel Sport Greens powder meets the rigorous NSF International Certified for Sport requirements. Some research suggests that fruit and vegetable juices and concentrates may promote muscle recovery. There has also been specific research to connect tart cherry, an ingredient in this blend, with exercise recovery.

The product advertises an amino acid complex to support sport recovery. However, research on the benefits of supplementing with l-glutamine and l-leucine on exercise recovery is inconsistent, and benefits are minimal, if any exist.

Biosteel Sport Greens is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and free from any artificial flavors or colors, making it a good product if you have specific dietary requirements. It does contain inulin, which can be helpful for some people's digestion but problematic for others.

Serving Size: 1 scoop (10 grams)⏐Servings Per Container: 30 Gluten-Free: Yes | Organic: No⏐Added Sweetener: Stevia

Final Verdict

If you're looking for an easy way to get more of the nutrients found in vegetables and fruits, the Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood could help you do that. It's organic, gluten-free, vegan, and a top pick by ConsumerLab.

Ingredients to Watch for: Why We're Skeptical of Certain Ingredients

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

There are dozens of greens powders on the market to choose from. And while it may seem like they all offer similar benefits, many of them contain questionable ingredients or are not third-party tested by a reputable organization. Because greens powders are a supplement category that is more likely to be contaminated with heavy metals or contain some fillers, we are very selective with the brands we recommend.

One of the most concerning things to watch out for in greens powders is the presence of adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms. While some adaptogenic herbs may be safe and helpful for certain populations, there isn't enough research to support their efficacy and safety for the general population—and in some cases, they may even be dangerous.

For example, some greens powders include adaptogenic mushrooms such as reishi, which are known to interact with common medications like blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, and certain cancer treatments, and safety is not well known. Rhodiola is another ingredient that is not well studied in humans, but we know it interacts with several antidepressants, blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, cholesterol medications, immunosuppressants, and many other drugs that are broken down in the liver.

Athletic Greens is a very popular greens powder supplement with both adaptogenic mushrooms and rhodiola, which may be safe for people who do not have health problems. However, it did not make our list because those on certain medications need to exercise extreme caution.

There are many other brands on the market that contain questionable ingredients like these as well as holy basil, Ginkgo biloba, and more. Nested Health Super Greens and Vibrant Health Green Vibrance are two other popular brands that didn't make our list because of these ingredients.

In addition to watching out for adaptogenic herbs, it's important to be aware of other ingredients that may be problematic for some people.

  • Digestive enzymes: In general, digestive enzymes provide no benefit to healthy people. While more research is needed, digestive enzymes appear to provide little to no benefit to those with digestive disorders, unless there is a known enzyme deficiency. "Digestive enzymes are best suited for those with diagnosed enzyme deficiencies such as lactose intolerance or other known digestive conditions that may cause symptoms like gas or bloating after eating certain foods. If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions, taking a separate digestive enzyme supplement that targets your specific issue is recommended," says Finkel.
  • Probiotics: Many greens powder contain low levels of probiotics—about the amount you'd find in yogurt (though doses vary). "We do not have good evidence of any benefits of probiotic supplements for general health. Specific probiotic strains have been clinically shown to improve a small number of gastrointestinal conditions, but these are not the bacteria you would find in a powdered greens product," says Finkel. That said, probiotics can make some digestive conditions worse, so consult with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement that contains probiotics.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. We also prioritize non-GMO, Organic, and products that are free of unnecessary and potentially harmful additives.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look for in Greens Supplements

Third-Party Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it's important to note:

  1. Third-party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing.
  3. The third-party certifications we can trust are ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations.
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies does not mean it's a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer, and calling the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

There is concern that some greens powders could be contaminated with heavy metals such as lead. In fact, when Consumer Lab tested 16 greens powders and other whole food supplements, they did find lead in two products. The amount in these products was lower than the FDA standards for adults but higher than the much more stringent level that California proposition 65 puts forth, requiring a lead warning label. Therefore, it is important to choose a product that is third-party tested.

Greens powders could also contain ingredients that are banned in high-level competitive sports, so finding one that is third-party tested specifically for sport, such as NSF certified for sport, is important for any competitive athlete.

Form

Greens powders are typically a mix of leafy greens, seaweed, vegetables, fruits, extracts, probiotics, enzymes, and herbs in the form of a powder. While most powders contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, there isn't research to understand the bioavailability (how much your body can absorb) of these nutrients in this form. It could be more or less than eating fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

Greens Powder Dosage

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and to understand which dosage to take.

There is no standard dosage for greens powders, and ingredient and nutrient amounts vary significantly. It's important to review the Recommended Dietary Allowance and Tolerable Upper Limits as set by the NIH for each ingredient to make sure you are consuming safe levels of each nutrient.

How Much Is Too Much?

It's important to ensure that your greens powder does not include too much of any one nutrient. Your body filters and eliminates excess water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin C), so it's less likely these nutrients will cause harm. However, it is still possible to experience negative side effects of very high doses of these nutrients in supplement form. In addition, fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A,D, E, and K) can be stored in fat tissue and are dangerous when consumed in excess. Many minerals can also be dangerous at very high amounts.

You can review your greens powder with a healthcare provider as well as compare nutrition facts labels on your greens powder to the upper limits as established by the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are greens powders good for you?

    Greens powders can provide many important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can support health. They also may contain ingredients, such as spirulina and chlorella, that are primarily found in powder form and may offer some health benefits. The specific ingredients found in powders can vary significantly from one brand to another, and so do the potential benefits.

  • Are greens powders as good as fresh?

    In short, we don't know. There has been little research done on greens powders as a whole. The limited research that does exist doesn't suggest that they offer as many benefits as eating whole foods, but more research is needed.

    What we do know is that there are synergistic effects to eating whole foods. This means that the nutrients in whole foods work together so you get more health benefits from eating foods in their natural form than you get from taking supplements. "While greens powders can help increase your fruit and vegetable intake, don't count on them to completely replace whole foods. Most don't contain all of the vitamins and minerals you need," says Osburn.

    One area where many greens powders fall short is in the fiber content. Greens and other vegetables provide fiber, which offers numerous health benefits from better digestion to lower cholesterol. Fiber—when consumed from whole foods—is also linked to increased fullness with meals, which may help you eat less overall. But the same can't be said for fiber supplements. When it comes to greens powders, some greens powders contain no fiber, whereas others contain very little.

  • How do I make green powders taste better?

    Green powders can be quite bitter or have a grassy taste. Instead of drinking them plain, add them to a smoothie with fruit, which not only adds sweetness but includes fiber and other nutrients. But you don't have to drink them. "Add them into scrambled eggs for omelets, as a seasoning for a soup, into pancake or waffle batter, in baked goods, or mix into your favorite dip," says Akaphong.

  • Are greens powders worth it?

    Greens powders can be very expensive and, in most cases, are not necessary. However, they can be helpful for days when you don't have time to prepare fresh vegetables or if you are traveling and have limited access to fresh greens. Whether or not they are worth it really depends on your individual nutrient needs, diet, and lifestyle.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian with her master's degree in nutrition communication from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She owns a private practice in the suburbs of Boston, where she helps her clients ditch diets and learn to eat foods that help them feel their best and achieve optimal health. Sarah is also a freelance writer, where she lends her expertise in translating the research on a wide variety of nutrition topics into relatable and approachable recommendations for consumers.

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