What to Look for in a Greens Supplement
Greens or phytonutrients are a group of plant derived supplements aimed at providing individuals with a huge array of nutrients. With the busy lifestyles of the modern populous, it is no surprise that many of us are not eating the 300 g fruit and 2.5 cups (400 g) of veges that have been recommended1. Even more so, people often are not adventurous and restrict themselves to a small group of the more common varieties. Consequently, they may be missing out on a lot of valuable health promoting nutrients. In comes Greens. Typically, this is made up of a few dozen different fruits and vegetables (both terrestrial and aquatic), plant oils, fibre, herbal supplements, and digestive support. In this article, we'll have a look at the functions of these different constituents and how they can be used to improve your wellbeing.
Fruits and Vegetables in Greens Supplements
Whether you're trying to lift more or lose weight, fruits and vegetables provide many essential vitamins and minerals. The demands of such are increased during periods of stress and training and became especially necessary when trying to train optimally. Adequate vitamin and mineral intake is also important during dieting, as decreased food intake may also reduce the amount of nutrients consumed. If you're trying to lose weight, then it's likely that you will be on a diet for a long period of time, and to ensure that you don't develop a deficiency, it may be a good idea to supplement with greens. Polyphenols can also be found in fruits and vegetables, and are a powerful antioxidant2. Again, these are important in periods of stress to protect your body from free-radical damage from intensive training. The large variety of fruit and vege found in Greens ensures that you get a broad spectrum of nutrients from a variety of sources.
Essential Fatty Acids in Greens Supplements
Plant oils provide essential fatty acids (EFAs). As the name suggests, these compounds are necessary for the functioning of your body. This involves playing a role in the immune system, hormone production, and general health and wellbeing. Not only that, but plant oils are home to phytosterols, which help lower bad cholesterol2.
Benefits of Dietary Fibre in Greens Supplements
Pectin, bran, and inulin are often found in greens. These types of dietary fibre that are helpful in lowering bad cholesterol3,4,5 to promote cardiovascular health, as well as promoting digestive regularity. Having a healthy heart and gut are central to good health and athletic performance.
Other Herbs and Extracts in Greens
A few of the included ingredients include black pepper extract and green tea extract, which have been reported to be effective in weight loss and the reduction of fat tissue6,7.
This includes a culture of friendly bacteria (probiotics) such as lactobacillus and bifidus, similar to that found in common yoghurt, which help to maintain good digestive health and immunity. Also present, are fructooligosaccharides, which are a food source (prebiotics) for the bacteria and also a sweetener8. Finally, an array of digestive enzymes help you to digest and absorb the nutrients present.
Benefits of Greens Supplements
Phytonutrients have long been found to maintain health and prevent chronic diseases2. Recently, their use has been popular among athletes and dieters alike. Other than the rich variety of nutrients found in fruit and vegetables, added herbs in these formulations help in the reduction of fat mass, a function that is endeared by bodybuilders and those wanting to trim down. It does not take long to find very positive reviews about these types of products. Quite often, people praise Greens for their ability to energise and give feelings of wellness. This uplifting effect is valuable not only to athletes, but also anyone with a less than optimal diet.
1 CSIRO (2011), Total Health and Wellbeing Diet.
2 Beecher (1999), Phytonutrients' Role in Metabolism: Effects on resistance to degenerative processes. Nutrition reviews, 57: S3-S6.
3 Jenkins et al (1975), Effect of pectin, guar gum, and wheat fibre on serum-cholesterol. The Lancet, 305: 1116-1117.
4 Gold and Davidson (1988), Oat bran as a cholesterol-reducing dietary adjunct in a young, healthy population. Western Journal of Medicine, 148: 299-302
5 Causey et al (2000), Effects of dietary inulin on serum lipids, blood glucose and the gastrointestinal environment in hypercholesterolemic men. Nutrition Research, 20: 191-201
6 Zenk et al (2005), Effect of Lean System 7 on metabolic rate and body composition. Applied nutrition investigation. 21: 179-185
7 Westerterp-Plantenga (2005), Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obesity Research, 13: 1195-1204.
8 Yun (1996), Fructooligosaccharides – Occurrence, preparation, and application. Enzyme and Microbial Technology. 19: 107-117.