Dark green leafy vegetables are widely considered to be superfoods, which means they are nutrient-rich yet relatively low in calories. Greens typically contain essential nutrients like vitamins C, A, and K, along with minerals like magnesium, iron, and calcium.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, green vegetables also contain antioxidants, fiber, and bioactive plant compounds known as phytonutrients. Due to their purported health benefits, greens are an excellent addition to your diet, and it’s surprisingly easy to incorporate them into your daily routine. That’s why I’ve put together my top 8 picks for leafy greens.
Consider These 8 Green Vegetables for Digestive Support
Green vegetables each have their own nutrient profile and their own unique taste. If you’re interested in supporting your gut and promoting a healthy digestive system, consider adding these greens to your diet.
In addition to being rich in antioxidants, the blue-green algae spirulina is full of vitamins and minerals that help support a healthy immune system, such as vitamins B6, C, and E. Studies suggest that spirulina may boost the production of antibodies.
As a source of plant-based protein, spirulina is popular among vegans and vegetarians. It’s also considered a popular green superfood among those hoping to reduce bloating and promote a healthy gut. And because it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it’s arguably one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
2. Alfalfa Leaf
Alfalfa leaf is a popular dietary addition for individuals looking to promote regular bowel movements, thanks to its high fiber content. As it is rich in soluble fiber, alfalfa may help you feel full for longer. Alfalfa leaves also contain antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, folate, riboflavin, iron, thiamine, and magnesium.
3. Nettle Leaf
Nettle leaf contains an impressive number of antioxidants in the form of terpenoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols. Although it is commonly made into tea, nettle leaf can also be consumed as an ingredient in green powder to help aid the digestive process.
Additionally, nettle leaf is sought after due to its wide range of useful vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
This well-known health food can be hard to swallow due to its very grassy taste, which is why some people prefer to consume it in powder form. However, wheatgrass has been linked to certain health benefits, including promoting digestive balance, due to its high content of antioxidants and micronutrients such as magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamins E, C, and A, amino acids, calcium, flavonoids, and chlorophyll.
5. Peppermint Leaf
Peppermint leaf has been used as a popular remedy for upset stomachs and nausea and may also provide digestive support. Like nettle leaf, health enthusiasts often consume peppermint leaf in tea or greens powder. Its leaves contain phytonutrients, vitamins A, C, and B, calcium, and phosphorus. It is also an excellent source of potassium, manganese, and iron.
Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater microalga that contains a hefty dose of nutrients. In addition to vitamins A and B6, chlorella contains protein, iron, zinc, and folate, which are compounds not always found in plant-based foods. It is also a valuable source of chlorophyll and omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that chlorella may spur the growth of Lactobacillus brevis, a type of lactic acid bacteria with digestive support properties.
Although dandelion is commonly regarded as a pesky weed, this underappreciated plant may offer a wide range of health benefits. Its roots and flowers are edible and contain significant amounts of vitamins A, C, K, and various B vitamins, as well as minerals such as iron and calcium.
Notably, dandelion root contains the soluble fiber inulin, which aids in digestion by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria, though more research is needed to fully understand its gut-supportive effects.
Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that has become a popular component of many healthy diets. As a cruciferous vegetable, kale contains impressive amounts of beta-carotene, vitamins K and C, and manganese, among other nutrients. These compounds are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that support the health of the gut and the immune system.
Though low in calories, carbohydrates, kale contains fiber to promote a healthy gut microbiome and aid in regular digestion. Whether added to a salad, roasted, or made into chips, kale is full of nutrients linked to digestive balance and overall wellness.
Potential Benefits of Green Superfoods
When it comes to the potential health benefits of greens, the list is long. Several studies suggest that the nutrients and bioactive compounds found in leafy green vegetables, such as lutein, phylloquinone, kaempferol, folate, nitrate, and α-tocopherol, can help you as you age.
For those who struggle with acne, greens may help slow down sebum production, while the vitamin E in leafy vegetables is thought to help fight free radicals.
Green superfoods like spirulina are widely used because they have been linked to so many potential health benefits, such as encouraging the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
While some people choose to prepare green superfoods individually or combine them into a salad, another option to consider is to use a high-quality greens powder. The best greens powders contain numerous superfood ingredients designed to support immune function and healthy digestion, such as spirulina, moringa, alfalfa, kale, spinach, broccoli, barley grass, and dandelion root.
Reasons to Try Super Greens
While salads and green vegetables are always a good addition to any meal, eating the daily suggested amount of greens can be challenging. That’s why many health-conscious individuals also incorporate a high-quality greens powder supplement into their daily routine to supplement their vegetable intake.
Adding a scoop of greens powder to juice, smoothies, protein shakes, soups, sauces, or dressings is a convenient way to increase your intake of green leafy vegetables, including many that are challenging to source or prepare on their own. Additionally, most greens powders cost far less than buying each superfood individually, depending on where you live.
Greens are incredibly rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and have been linked to numerous potential health benefits. When looking for the best greens powder, it’s crucial to find a greens blend packed with nutrients derived from whole foods.
In Super Greens, which is made with organic vegetables, you’ll find over 20 superfoods, such as whole-leaf wheatgrass, peppermint leaf, spinach, alfalfa leaf, broccoli, nopal cactus powder, nettle leaf, oat grass juice, dandelion leaf, burdock root, parsley leaf, kelp, dulse, and ginger root. It also contains digestive enzymes and probiotics to further support healthy digestion. Plus, it’s gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan, without any artificial sweeteners or additives.
Unlike many greens powders that have a bitter or grassy aftertaste, Super Greens complements a variety of foods and beverages thanks to its balance of natural flavors. It is most commonly enjoyed as part of a smoothie, but you can also mix a scoop of greens powder with milk, water, or juice. Alternatively, you can blend it with sauces or soups or sprinkle it on any food item.
This potent greens blend can be enjoyed at any time of the day, although many people prefer to drink their greens on an empty stomach for optimal absorption or after a challenging workout. To see the greatest possible advantages, it’s best to consume green powders daily. Although Super Greens will not replace whole fruits and vegetables in your diet, it's an excellent way to increase your intake of leafy greens.
Final Thoughts: Eat Greens for Your Gut
When gut health can have such a massive impact on the overall health of your body, it’s critical to prioritize this system. If you live with unpleasant digestive symptoms, it's only natural to seek out dietary supplements that may help improve your quality of life. Thankfully, many fruits and vegetables and other superfoods, especially dark leafy greens, contain a wide range of helpful vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients that could be beneficial for your overall gut health.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you'd like to learn more about how greens can aid in digestion support, check out these answers to frequently asked questions about greens powders.
Is it best to have greens powder on an empty stomach?
It is generally considered acceptable to consume greens powder on an empty stomach. In fact, this may aid in the absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and can help you feel ready to take on the day by starting with a healthy choice. However, if drinking greens on an empty stomach causes irritation, try having it as a mid-morning snack.
When should you eat powdered greens?
The best time to eat or drink powdered greens is in the morning, on an empty stomach if possible. While greens powder supplements can be enjoyed at any time of day, the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins are best absorbed when there isn’t anything else already digesting in your stomach. Some people choose to drink their greens in the afternoon if this helps get them through the dreaded afternoon slump.
What can you mix with Super Greens powder?
The best greens powders dissolve easily in liquids, so they can be mixed into anything you’d like. The most popular options are juices, smoothies, protein shakes, tea, milk, and milk alternatives. Some people like to mix greens powders into nut butter before spreading it on toast or a muffin.