A green drink is a drink made by mixing water or another non-carbonated beverage with a powder derived from green ‘superfoods’.
Green drinks are nutrient-rich and have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. They are considered a fast, convenient way to load up on nutrients.
Our team of experts put dozens of green drink powders to the test and concluded that the following make the best green drinks of 2020.
1. Pure Synergy Organic Green Superfood
They say you are what you eat. Well, if you eat Pure Synergy Organic Green Superfood drink, you will be on the fast track to optimal health.
What we like: Pure Synergy Organic Green Superfood has one of the most impressive ingredient lists you will find anywhere. Besides a half dozen types of algae, there are a slew of nutrient-dense greens like broccoli, spinach, and kale.
Flaws: Great stuff. About the only downside is remembering the container is glass and can break if you handle it wrong.
2. Organifi Green Juice
Organifi Green Juice features a full spectrum of superfoods, including spirulina, green tea, chlorella, beets, and organic coconut. It’s a power-packed, nutrient-dense lineup that will enhance your workouts and elevate your overall health.
What we like: Organifi mixes well, is low in sodium, low in carbs, and provides prebiotics to foster a healthy gut biome. That will enable you to get more out of all the food you eat.
Flaws: The taste can take some getting used to.
3. Amazing Grass Green Superfood
Amazing Grass has roots deep in the heartland where the owners have engaged in organic farming for three generations. Their Green Superfood drink is a nutrient-dense green drink that is free of sugar, GMOs, and artificial ingredients.
What we like: This is a well-rounded green drink with more than a half dozen alkalizing agents that’s formulated from the highest quality organic ingredients.
Flaws: Like most green drinks it’s not exactly a taste sensation.
4. Nutra Champs Super Greens
Nutra Champs Super Greens saves you the time and hassle of having to make your own superfood drinks. It’s a potent mix of green vegetables and fruits chosen for the antioxidant power and nutrient density.
What we like: Nutra Champs Super Greens is loaded with pre and probiotics that foster a healthy digestive system. There’s also a full range of nutrients that provide energy and vitality and bolster the immune system.
Flaws: Sometimes takes a bit of effort to get all the lumps out.
5. Orgain Organic Green Superfoods Powder
Orgain Organics is known for its commitment to high-quality, certified-organic ingredients. This superfood powder is a prime example of that. It’s packed with spinach, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and dozens of other nutrient-rich organic veggies.
What we like: Every serving of Orgain Superfoods Powder contains 1 billion CFUs of probiotics. Unlike some green drinks, there is also a bit of fiber to keep things moving. Don’t look for artificial ingredients or GMOs, though. There aren’t any.
Flaws: It’s a bit heavy on the carbs, so if you are on the keto diet, you should give this one a pass.
6. Nested Naturals Super Green
The only reason Nested Naturals Super Green is number 6 is because there was no room for it higher on our list. This is an outstanding all-around green drink that covers all the bases and actually tastes pretty good.
What we like: The variety of nutrient-dense veggies is impressive. As is the number of antioxidant-rich ingredients. They also add a bit of fiber, and to ensure you can make the most of those nutrients, they include 1.7 billion CFUs of probiotics.
Flaws: One of the reasons it tastes pretty good is the 20 mg of sodium per serving.
7. Paleovalley Organic Supergreens
Paleovalley Organic Supergreens is pure and potent, rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, and tastes better than green drinks have a right to.
What we like: Paleovalley Organic Supergreens is rich in antioxidants and probiotics that will improve digestion and bolster your immune system. It’s completely free of pesticides, GMOs, and artificial everything.
Flaws: Paleovalley’s 60 mg of sodium per serving will turn some off.
8. MacroLife Naturals Macro Greens Superfood
The folks at MacroLife Naturals understand the importance of a healthy gut biome to nutrition and overall health. So they provide 18 billion CFUs of probiotics in every serving.
What we like: With more than three dozen superfoods on the ingredient list, this is one of the most well-rounded green drinks on the market. The company has been around more than 20 years too. So you know they’re no fly-by-night organization.
Flaws: Recent formula change has disappointed some customers. We thought it was fine.
9. Grown American Superfood
This is the only major green drink brand that can claim all of its ingredients are sourced in the US. Grown American Superfood Powder is pure, potent, and certified 100% organic by the USDA.
What we like: Grown American sources all their organic superfoods from American farms. They choose only the best green superfoods for their green drink powder and complement them with antioxidant-rich fruits.
Flaws: One of the most expensive superfoods on the market.
10. Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
Last but certainly not least is Vibrant Health’s Green Vibrance. Green Vibrance bolsters immunity, improves digestion, enhances nutrient absorption, and is on the front line in the battle against inflammatory conditions.
What we like: It would take more space than we have to list all the superfoods in Green Vibrance. Suffice to say they have you covered from every nutrient angle. There are also 25 billion CFUs of probiotics to straighten out your digestive tract.
Flaws: It would have been nice if they at least tried to make it a little more palatable.
Who Needs Green Drinks?
The point of green drinks is to provide a person with a convenient way to obtain the nutrients they need to enjoy optimal health. So, in that sense, anyone interested in getting and staying healthy should consider adding green drinks to their diet.
Beyond that green drinks can be useful to those on a weight loss program because they are low in calories but high in nutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Speaking of anti-inflammatories, green drinks can also reduce pain and stiffness for those suffering from arthritis. And their antioxidant properties enable them to reduce the effects of oxidative stress, which plays a role in everything from dermatitis to cancer.
How We Ranked
There are scores of different green drink powders on the market today. Some are little more than powdered vegetable or fruit juice, while others tap into the potential of the full range of green superfoods. To determine which ones merited a spot in our rankings, we applied a set of criteria that enabled us to winnow the candidates down in steps.
First to be removed from consideration were liquid drinks such as V8 and Nature’s Way Organic Superfood beverages. Not only are these not powdered drinks, but they are often loaded with sodium, and in some cases sugar, to bolster the taste.
Next, we eliminated single ingredient powders. And there are a lot of them around. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with, say, spirulina powder, but we are looking for drinks that provide a more well-rounded nutrient load and are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Single ingredient powders tend to be limited in that regard.
Next, we looked at additives. Artificial preservatives, colors, fillers or sweeteners were a definite no-no. Added sugar was also a deal-breaker, as was caffeine. We understand that some folks like to mix green drink powder with their coffee. But that decision should be left up to the user. The caffeine should not be forced on them by the producer.
Once the list of candidate green drinks was reduced to powders with multiple ingredients and no artificial additives or caffeine, we next looked at the variety of superfoods they included. Spirulina, kale, spinach, and collard greens got high marks. Whereas wheatgrass and chia seeds scored low.
We also insisted that any and all ingredients be free of genetically modified organisms and, when possible, that organic ingredients are used. We also awarded extra points to those powders produced using the rapid-freeze drying method that typically retains almost all nutrients. We also gave preference to those green drinks that provided prebiotics and probiotics because everyone could use a more efficient digestive system.
Green drinks improve digestion. Many green drinks provide beneficial prebiotics and probiotics that create a healthy gut microbiome (1). A healthy, well-balanced gut environment is one where nutrient absorption increases, digestive issues like bloating and gas are reduced, and less food goes to waste. This more efficient and effective gut microbiome then produces a cascade of positive effects from head to toe.
Green drinks reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress (2) is the result of imbalanced atoms coursing through your system, stealing electrons from healthy atoms, and causing cell death. To an extent, it’s a natural process. But in some people, it gets out of hand. The result is saggy skin, lack of energy, and disease. Green drinks are rich in antioxidants (3). They work tirelessly to neutralize oxidative stress so you can live a longer, healthier life.
Green drinks support a healthy immune system. It was only recently that scientists discovered that the interaction between ingested nutrients and the immune system actually starts right at the intestinal wall (4). Therefore, promoting a healthy gut microbiome by ingesting green drinks not only improves digestion but bolsters the effectiveness of the immune system.
Green drinks can help you manage your weight. Green drinks are low in calories and help you get more from the food you eat, as we discussed above. This more efficient digestive tract is crucial for people intent on losing weight without resorting to some fad diet or another. The more efficient digestive tract means you can eat less and still obtain the nutrients you need to sustain robust health.
Green drinks have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. It helps secure the injured area and set the stage for tissue healing to commence. But inflammation has a nasty habit of getting out of hand. When it does, chronic diseases like arthritis, IBS (5), and cancer are often the result (6). Green drinks have potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent inflammation from taking over your body.
Green drinks are rich in antioxidants. And antioxidants are a vital component of a healthy immune system (7). They fight the damaging effects of oxidative stress, and they even strengthen tumor immunity in the elderly. Your heart, mind, gut, skin, and other parts of your body all benefit directly from the activity of antioxidants.
Green drinks can boost your energy levels. When your digestive system is working at peak efficiency, you have more vital nutrients at your beck and call, ready to be metabolized into energy. You will have more energy available after eating, and you should also experience an uptick in stamina that will benefit every aspect of your daily life. That includes adding a new dimension to your workouts.
Green drinks help you achieve systemic balance. The body strives at all times to maintain acidic balance. Too much acidity and the body seeks out alkaline minerals in the bones to neutralize the acid. But taking alkaline minerals from the bones can lead to osteoporosis (8). Green drinks are alkaline-forming. That is, they promote the production of alkaline minerals, which, in turn, restore and maintain systemic balance with regards to acidity.
Green drinks are a convenient way to get the nutrients you need. You can eat entire plates full of greens, take dozens of capsules, or simply consume one or two green drinks per day to enjoy the multitude of benefits greens have to offer. It only takes a minute or two to prepare your green drink, and it doesn’t require you to whip out the blender.
Green drink powders can be used in a variety of ways. Most people mix green superfood powder with water. But while that is an effective delivery method, it is not the only one. Green drink powders can be blended with smoothies, or added to your protein shake to ensure you get the absolute maximum from your workouts. Green superfood powders are also easy to cook and bake with. Try adding some to muffin batter or even stirring some into hummus.
Green drinks can help fend off chronic diseases. For centuries, the origins of most chronic diseases remained a mystery. Today, we know that most chronic diseases are the result of oxidative stress (9). Not only that, but oxidative stress is also responsible for the premature aging of vital organs, including the skin. Green drinks with their robust antioxidant component may help fend off the development of chronic disease.
Green drinks may help you lose weight. Fat cells serve multiple purposes. One of those purposes is to store excess acid. By doing so, fat cells provide a measure of protection against the potentially damaging effects of excess acid on normal cell activity. Green drinks are alkaline-forming food. The alkaline they produce neutralizes the acid held by those fat cells and allows your body to discard them (the fat cells).
Green drinks are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are a subject that comes up a lot when talking about green drinks. And for a very good reason. Green drinks are an outstanding source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. In many ways, they are a human’s best friend (10), because they counteract the effects of free radicals (11). Free radicals are unbalanced atoms that cause cells to die and promote disease and dysfunction.
Green drinks pack quite a punch. To obtain the same benefits from fresh greens as you do from the average high-quality green drink, you would need to eat more than a pound of fresh greens. As greens tend to be pretty light, a pound is quite a substantial pile of greens. “But what about green supplements?” you say. It turns out you would need to consume something like 40 green capsules to enjoy the same benefits that you get from one green drink.
Green drinks are good for your skin. The skin is the largest organ in the body. It’s your first line of defense against environmental threats. It plays a central role in temperature regulation. And it acts as one of the body’s primary storehouses of fat, water, and hormones (12). The antioxidants in green drinks bolster the health of your skin by neutralizing free radicals and the damage they cause.
Green drinks can be gussied up. And let’s face it, many of them could use some help in the flavor department. The good news is that you don’t have to spend your life holding your nose while you consume your green drink. You can fancy it up by adding pineapple or another sweet fruit and mixing it in the blender. Or you can sprinkle your green powder on curry dishes or others that are flavorful enough to stand up to it.
Green drinks can help reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Arthritis is the ultimate inflammatory condition affecting tens of millions of people in the US alone (13). Because green drinks possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, a green shake or two every day may help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritic inflammation.
Green drinks are an investment in your health. While green drinks are likely to pay a number of short term benefits, their real value is in ensuring long term health. They do that by bolstering the immune system and battling oxidative stress. If you stop taking them, however, any benefit will dissipate. So keep taking them and consider it a worthwhile investment in your overall health that will pay robust dividends down the line.
Q: What are green drink powders?
A: Green drink powders are superfood supplements made by freeze-drying the juice of leafy greens, broccoli, peas, spirulina, wheat, barley, and other vegetables. The freeze-dried vegetables are then turned into powder that can be reconstituted by mixing it with your favorite non-carbonated beverage, typically water. The powder resembles protein powder except that it’s usually bright green in color. Sometimes, fruits are added to the mix.
Q: Why should someone use green drinks?
A: Green drinks make it easy to enjoy the benefits of several servings of vegetables in one small glass. The foods used to make the powder are rich in antioxidants and have robust anti-inflammatory properties that serve to bolster the immune system and fend off a variety of potential health problems. Many green drinks are also rich in prebiotics and probiotics that create a healthy gut environment. That, in turn, bolsters digestion and nutrient absorption.
Q: What are superfoods?
A: You will often hear and see green drinks marketed as ‘superfood drinks’. Superfoods are not some kind of genetically modified plant or animal that will give you superpowers. Instead, the word ‘superfood’ is a non-scientific marketing term used to denote various types of food known to be nutrient-rich (14). Superfoods usually have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well. And most contain prebiotics and probiotics.
Q: Should I have a green drink with my meal?
A: You can, but it is not recommended. Having a green drink with your meal may undermine the very digestive process you are trying to improve. It’s recommended that you have your green drink 30 minutes to one hour before your meal. Or that you wait the same amount of time after eating to have your green drink.
Q: Why green drinks? Why not green capsules?
A: When you eat a tablet or capsule, it may take your gut up to 30 minutes to break it down and absorb the contents (15). With a green drink, there is no breakdown necessary. The liquid is absorbed immediately by the gut, allowing the nutrients to get to work without delay. With a green drink, more nutrients are absorbed than is the case with tablets or capsules. Often, as twice as much.
Q: How do green drinks improve cardiovascular health?
A: Free radicals course through the body, scavenging electrons from healthy atoms and causing cell death in a process known as ‘oxidative stress’. Oxidative stress is a major contributor to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease. Green drinks are an excellent source of antioxidants that fight oxidative stress (16). To get the same amount of antioxidants in just one green drink, you would have to eat several servings of green vegetables.
Q: Are green drinks good for people with arthritis?
A: Green drinks possess potent anti-inflammatory abilities. This makes them a good choice for people dealing with inflammatory conditions, including arthritis. While inflammation is an important component of your body’s healing process, it often gets out of control. In the case of arthritis, the result is chronic pain and stiffness in the joints (17). The anti-inflammatory abilities of green drinks can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Q: Do green drinks have any side effects?
A: For reasonably healthy people who are not taking medications for any particular health problem, green drinks produce few, if any, side effects. As we mentioned above, a green drink with a meal may interfere with the digestive process. Although, it is likely you will not feel any noticeable effects of that interference. That said, if you are taking medication for any reason, you should consult your doctor before consuming green drinks, or any other supplement.
Q: Are green drinks vegan?
A: In the broadest sense a vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat. They may still eat other animal-related products such as eggs, but no meat. A vegan is someone who avoids all animal products, period. Green drinks do not include meat products, so they are vegetarian-friendly. However, they may include nutrients gleaned from animal byproducts. As such, they would not be vegan. If you are vegan, be sure to read the label carefully before buying.
Q: Do green drinks help with weight loss?
A: Green drinks will not burn fat by themselves. What they can do – and why they make a smart addition to any weight loss program – is enhance nutrient absorption. That means you can maintain proper nutrition while eating less food than you used to. Green drinks have the added advantage of being naturally low in calories. So, even if you drink a couple per day, they will not add to your love handles.
Q: Can pregnant or breastfeeding women use green drinks?
A: When it comes to supplements, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are typically advised to err on the side of caution. That is, when in doubt, don’t. That is also the case when it comes to green drinks. While green drinks do not necessarily contain anything that represents an imminent threat, pregnant or breastfeeding women should talk it over with their doctor before adding green drinks to their diet, simply out of an abundance of caution.
Q: Do green drinks contain allergens?
A: Most green drinks are free of common food allergens such as nuts, dairy products, soy, and gluten. However, it is not unusual for them to be produced in facilities that also process those types of food. So it is theoretically possible that trace amounts of gluten, soy, or another allergen could find its way into a green drink powder. However, the amounts would be so minuscule as to have negligible effects in most cases.
Q: What beverages mix best with green drink powders?
A: Most green superfood drink makers suggest mixing their powder with water. However, there is no reason you cannot mix this type of powder with any non-carbonated beverage. That includes fruit juices, smoothies, or protein shakes. Just be aware that this type of powder is going to change the taste of the foundation liquid. And, if you mix it with a pulpy juice, things could get clumpy.
Q: Do green drinks contain caffeine?
A: Most green superfood drinks are completely caffeine-free. Some may contain trace amounts of caffeine that occur naturally in some of the ingredient plants. But not enough to produce any noticeable effect. It should be noted that some folks prefer to mix green drink powder with their morning coffee to get them off on the right foot for the day. Others like to mix it with a cup of coffee prior to a workout to enhance the benefits of that workout.
Q: What’s the best time of day to have a green drink?
A: There is no right time of the day to have a green drink. With one exception, you may want to avoid having a green drink right before you go to bed. Some people also avoid having a green drink with their meals. That’s because it is thought that doing so may interfere with digestive juices in your mouth. Typically, people have a green drink on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes to an hour either before or after eating.
Q: Are green drinks good for bodybuilders?
A: Green drinks are a rich source of antioxidants, and antioxidants have a role to play in muscle recovery after a strenuous workout (18). Some people mix creatine powder or glutamine powder with their green superfood powder to really ramp up the muscle building. Keep in mind too that green drinks are anti-inflammatory, which can reduce soreness in muscles that have been pushed to the limit.
Q: Do bodybuilders still have to take a multivitamin if they have a green drink every day?
A: Green drinks are loaded with antioxidants and provide valuable anti-inflammatory benefits. But they are not formulated to meet a person’s daily requirement of vitamins and minerals. Bodybuilders often require an above-average amount of minerals like magnesium and zinc. As such, a bodybuilder taking a multivitamin should probably continue taking it, even if they are consuming one or more green drinks per day.
Q: Should I have a green drink right before or after training?
A: There is considerable debate about this point. Some bodybuilders swear that a green drink half an hour or so before training provides a boost of energy and shortens recovery time. Others point to (limited) evidence that antioxidants taken right before or after training may decrease insulin sensitivity, which, in turn, may interfere with the process of building new muscle. The jury is still out on who is right.
Q: What is the right way to store green superfoods?
A: Most green superfood powders contain only tiny amounts of moisture. Still, there may be some present. So the best way to store these powders is to keep them in a cool, dry place. For most folks, that just means keeping them in the cabinet, out of the sun. Other folks put them in the fridge. But while refrigeration shouldn’t hurt this type of powder, it is not usually necessary.
Q: Do green drinks conflict with prescription medications?
A: Green drinks do not contain the type of ingredients that should produce adverse reactions with prescription drugs. That said, because they are potent antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties, it is possible, in theory, that they could somehow conflict with anti-inflammatory medications. Also, because they contain prebiotics and probiotics, you should talk to your doctor before taking them if you are currently being treated for IBS or another digestive tract condition.
Q: Are green drinks keto-friendly?
A: Green superfoods should not interfere with a ketogenic diet (19) because they contain few carbs. And indeed, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities of green drinks can benefit anyone, even people on the low-carb keto diet. But don’t think green drinks are going to fuel your keto body, because they do not contain beneficial fats. And with keto, beneficial fats are the fuel the body uses to power itself in the absence of carbs.
Green drinks are made from nutrient-rich superfood powders mixed with your favorite non-carbonated beverage. They possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities and provide an array of short and long-term benefits.
Green drinks are low in calories, which makes them a smart complement to any weight loss program. They are also convenient, affordable, and do not produce any side effects when used as directed.
Use the above information to determine which green drink is right for you.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended green drink, click here.