Are you getting enough green?
Time and time again, surveys of people’s eating habits reveal that the majority of people are not eating the recommended number of servings of vegetables and fruit each day.
It is estimated that the percentage of people not meeting the older minimum 5 serving of vegetables and fruits each a day is:
- Less than 1% of men & 4% of women ages 18 to 24
- Less than 6% of men & 9% of women ages 25 to 34
- Less than 14% of men & 16% of women ages 35 to 49
- Less than 24% of men & 22% of women ages 50 to 64
This is based on older survey results, with the new recommended minimum of 7 servings, these numbers are actually worse.
What exactly is a serving size?
In Canada, and most countries, Governmental guidelines suggest we get somewhere between 7 to 10 servings each day. One serving is the size of a smallish piece of fruit, or 1/2 of canned, fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables. Regarding leafy veggies, a serving size is 1 cup [simply due to the volume, leafy greens take up less space so a cup is needed to get the same amount of a denser food like broccoli].
In North America, potatoes make up about half of the total servings of vegetables. While there’s nothing wrong with potatoes, it’s important to get a variety of vegetable to ensure you’re exploiting the health benefits of plant foods. We tend to eat more fruit because they are sweet, but low-starch vegetables, i.e. anything that grows above the ground like spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers etc, deliver the most bang. Dark green vegetables, including grasses, are especially nutrient dense.
Getting the benefits from green food powders
Green food powders have been around for a few decades now. First generation blends consisted mostly of barley grass, spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa or wheatgrass. These grasses and algae were juiced, or harvested in the case of spriulina and chlorella, and dehydrated into powders that could easily be mixed with juice, water or thrown into smoothies.
Nowadays, you can still get the stand alone green food powders like spirulina, wheatgrass, barley grass etc., but there also fantastic synergistic blends of green plants such as grasses, algae, herbs, sprouted legumes, vegetable and fruit extracts.
The benefits of green food powders is that they are extremely rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, chlorophyll, and phytonutrients providing a multitude of essential nutrients needed to optimize health. More to the point, there is now a good, and growing body, of evidence and research to support the benefits of these whole food supplements.
Green food powders offer great benefit because they count as a serving of fruits and vegetables, making it easier to reach that goal of 7 to 10 per day.
How can you benefit from green food powders?
Knowing that plant foods in general are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, eating more of them is a good thing. And because green food powders count as a vegetable and/or fruit serving, depending on the formula you use, they can help you to reduce your risk for for disease such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Eye disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
How to use
Green food powders can be mixed into water, freshly squeezed fruit juice or vegetable juice, or into smoothies. If you’re using a pure grass powder like spirulina, barley or wheatgrass, mixing it into water might be a bit challenging, it will essentially taste like you mowed the lawn with your mouth. Blends that also contain dehydrated fruit juice/extracts will taste a bit sweeter and are easier to take with water or juice. Bar none, the easiest, and tastiest way to take them is in a smoothie.
Quality brands – not limited to
AOR Vitamin C with Beets ‘n’ Berries
Stop Aging Now Super Green Foods
Genuine Health Greens+ [a variety of types and flavours]
Progressive Nutritional VegeGreen [also have different flavours]
Biotics Research Canada Nitro Greens
Photo credits: AOR, Stop Aging Now, Progressive Nutritional