Every time you follow a fitness influencer on Instagram, read a new blog post or watch a YouTube video you are no doubt overwhelmed by people telling you to add the latest super green to your daily diet. There are spirulina smoothies, chlorella shakes and moringa teas all claiming to be the answer to a myriad of health problems. While you may be inspired to add a few of these to your health routine, you may also be wondering what exactly the benefits are, as well as how to incorporate them into your diet. Super greens by their very nature are good for you, there is no doubt about it, but as with any new supplement you want to be sure you know what you’re taking before including it in your regimen. We have put together a guide of the top 3 trending super greens right now to show you what they are, why they’re good for you and how to add them to your diet.
What is it?
One of the most popular super greens at the moment, spirulina, has been on the rise over the last few years, and for good reason. It has a deep, dark green color, is a type of algae from a family called the blue-green algae and is extremely nutrient dense. Dried spirulina, the most commonly used form, contains high amounts of protein as well as many of the daily recommended nutrients, such as B vitamins and Iron. A small 7g portion can give you many of your required nutrients for the day and it has been said that gram for gram spirulina may be the most nutrient dense food in the world. It is considered such an ideal food source that NASA uses it to sustain its astronauts and even looked into perhaps growing it in space.
Spirulina has proven to be a great source of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects as well. Preliminary testing has shown that consuming spirulina can reduce bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, making it a heart healthy food. Studies are also being conducted to demonstrate its positive effects on diabetes, anemia and perhaps even cancer.
How to Consume:
The easiest way to incorporate spirulina into your diet is through smoothies or drinks. Spirulina has a salty, seaweed like flavor which some people enjoy the taste of and are happy to simply add to water. Others want to mask the flavor and opt for adding it to their morning smoothie. We recommend using tasty sweet fruits such as pineapple or berries to help with the flavor. Be warned, it has an extremely dark green color, almost black, so be sure to check yourself after you drink it to avoid any awkward green teeth situations! If drinking spirulina sounds too daunting, it can also be found in tablet form. When purchasing spirulina be sure that you look for a product that comes from a clean source, meaning a country that is low in pollution and areas high in heavy metal toxicity. The best way to ensure you are buying a quality product is to look for a certified organic spirulina that is not cultivated with fertilizers or full of fillers.
What is it?
Another algae superfood, chlorella is similar to spirulina in many ways. It is not quite as dark green, although still a rich green color. It grows in freshwater and is high in protein and other nutrients. Chlorella has an extremely high photosynthetic efficiency meaning that compared to a lot of other foods or plants, it can be cultivated relatively quickly and easily making it a very sustainable and crop to produce. It was actually seen as a possible solution to world hunger issues and then later on that researchers realized the many health benefits of chlorella.
One of the key benefits of chlorella is its ability to cling to heavy metals, which makes it ideal for aiding in detox. Not everyone has high levels of heavy metals in their system, but quite often, the air we breath and the water we drink has traces of pollution and heavy metals. If heavy metals build up in our bodies, they can become a more serious concern, so regularly taking chlorella can help your body rid itself of these metals and keep the risks of high toxicity levels low. Chlorella is also made up of several compounds that are proven antioxidants, such as chlorophyll, vitamin c and beta-carotene. Antioxidants are primarily helpful in fighting against chronic diseases and studies have shown that chlorella may help reduce the symptoms of diabetes. While studies are still being done, there has been promising research showing the positive anti-cancer effects of chlorella.
How to Consume:
As with most super greens, you can find chlorella in both a powder and tablet form. Similar to spirulina, chlorella has a bitter seaweed taste. However, once again this is easy to mask with sweet fruits or honey in a smoothie. Many find that it blends well with salad dressings or pasta sauces, which can also had the taste completely. Once again, be sure that in whatever form you take it you are using an organic brand with no unnecessary additives.
What is it?
One of the lesser known super greens is the moringa plant. It goes by many other names, often called the drumstick tree or miracle tree and is native to India and parts of Asia. In these areas, it has been used for centuries for its fascinating medicinal properties and overall health benefits. It is extremely high in many nutrients including: vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and more!
Moringa has been proven to help with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. A daily dose of moringa has shown to boost mood and energy especially in people with depression caused by nutrient deficiencies. As with all supplements, please consult your doctor before taking moringa. The plant also has antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial assets, which means that it can be a powerful aid in fighting against bacterial diseases, such as salmonella or E. coli.
How to Consume:
Unlike the other super greens we’ve discussed this one does not have a seaweed like taste, it is said to taste more like spinach or a dark leafy green. Making it even easier to incorporate into your daily diet such as sprinkling it on top your salads or other dishes as you would seasoning. Many have found that it can be easily used in baking as well. When researching which brand to buy, look for a moringa product that is sourced from India or Asia as this is where the crop grows best. Also look for a brand that dries the plant using a solar drying process as this allows the nutritional value of moringa to stay intact.
The Right Super Green for You
The idea of staying up to date with all the new super greens, let alone super foods, can be daunting. With all the information available to us nowadays it can be hard to know where to start. Take it slow, ease into a new routine of supplements and don’t overdo it. Based on the information above determine which super green would be best for your circumstances and work to incorporate it into your diet. Don’t be scared to experiment with new recipes, find what flavors work for you and what dishes are easy for you to make. Remember to listen to your body and how it reacts to incorporate different types of new super greens!