Nowadays, every supplement store seems to carry a wide range of greens powders and greens supplements. Are they really better than a multivitamin? What’s the best greens powder, anyway?
We wanted to know, too. And after testing dozens and dozens of the best-selling green superfood brands — as well as the underdogs that maybe don’t sell as well as they should — we think we’ve figured out which of them are worth your money and which are about as effective as drinking soil. We looked for the best greens powders in different categories, then provided a descriptive analyses behind why we chose each included in the list below.
Best Greens Powders
- Best Greens Powder Overall – Athletic Greens
- Best Greens Powder for Protein – Kylea Health & Energy
- Best Greens Powder for Antioxidants – ORAC-Energy Greens
- Best Greens Powder for Digestion – Vibrant Health Digestive Vibrance
- Best Tasting Greens Powder – Athletic Greens
- Best Value Greens Powder – MacroLife Naturals
- Best Greens Powder for Weight Loss – Transparent Labs Prebiotic Greens
If you want to hear more about each of our picks and why they made our list, check out our full video review of the best greens powders on the market below.
Best Greens Powder Overall: Athletic Greens
There are very multifaceted supplements, so picking the best overall required several factors to be taken into account: micronutrients, phytonutrients, adaptogens, and ingredients for digestive health.
Athletic Greens Highlights
Athletic Greens provides 700 percent of your daily Vitamin C, 100 percent or more of most B-vitamins (including B12), K2 and zinc. It has at least twenty percent of your RDI of selenium, manganese, and chromium. It also has the antioxidants of twelve servings of vegetables, 7.2 billion probiotic bacteria, digestive enzymes, adaptogens, and even ingredients linked to mental health, like rhodiola rosea and ashwagandha.
As you can see, it has a lot of well-quantified health benefits, and it also tastes amazing.
Extraordinarily nutritious greens powder with quantified health benefits. Also one of the best-tasting greens powders on the market. Get 20 free travel packs with your order!
Who Should Buy Athletic Greens
- Anyone tired of seeing greens powders promising lots of vitamins and minerals, but not actually showing any on the label. (This is dismayingly common.)
- People who like greens powders for the digestive benefits: the probiotic bacteria and digestive enzymes in here have some interesting links.
- Those who take greens for their antioxidant content: there’s a huge variety of ingredients known for their antioxidant content, such as spirulina, wheatgrass juice powder, and chlorella.
- Customers in the market for adaptogens that might help with stress levels: the rhodiola rosea and ashwagandha in particular are often used for this.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Athletic Greens
- Those who prioritize transparency: many of the ingredients are in proprietary blends, making it tough to know the exact amount of each component you’re consuming.
- Those looking for inexpensive greens: at over $4 per serving, it’s pretty pricy, though it’s worth noting the cost drops if you sign up for a monthly subscription.
We’ve tried dozens, and Athletic Greens simply ticks the most boxes, consisting of a huge variety of healthful ingredients that may affect the body in myriad beneficial ways.
Best Greens Powder for Protein: Kylea Health & Energy
One thing almost every greens powder has in common is a low calorie count: they’re seldom over 40 per scoop. This means they aren’t great sources of calories or protein, but Kylea decided to take a different approach.
Kylea Health & Energy Highlights
Kylea Health & Energy Total Living Drink is a really solid product. There’s a subsection of greens powders that combine the benefits of green superfood powders with the pros (and calories) of a protein shake. For that, Kylea took the cake: it tastes like blueberry tea, provides hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of percent of your recommended daily intake of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, contains four kinds of probiotics, and there are plenty of your normal greens ingredients.
Organic, non-GMO, and without any artificial ingredients, this vegan protein is well priced and has added digestive enzymes to help with nutrient absorption.
Who Should Buy Kylea Health & Energy
- With 11 grams of protein per serving, this is a good option for those who are always looking for a chance to fill their daily protein goal.
- Advocates of transparency will like this product, as it provides the exact weights of each ingredient.
- Those who want a greens drink that doubles as a multivitamin: this has a wide variety of well dosed micronutrients.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Kylea Health & Energy
- Anyone who wants low calorie supplements: this provides 120 calories.
- Penny pinchers: this is considerably more expensive than the average greens powder.
- Athletes looking for the same amount of protein you’ll get in a scoop of whey: this has 11 grams, about half of what you’ll get in a dedicated protein supplement.
This one’s a rare entry into the greens world that not only adds a hit of protein, it’s still a very effective greens supplement as well. It’s unusual to see both categories combined so effectively.
Best Greens Powder for Antioxidants: ORAC-Energy Greens
As mentioned above, there are plenty of reasons why people take greens powders and for many it’s the antioxidants — multivitamins usually aren’t as dense with them as greens powders. But it’s frustratingly hard to know what the antioxidant strength of a product is, unless it uses the ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) scale.
ORAC-Energy Greens Highlights
ORAC-Energy Greens has a score of 40,000 ORAC per serving — about ten times what you find in a hundred gams of blueberries. Plus it contains a 42 ingredients that include wheat grass, alfalfa grass, a blend of seaweeds, a variety of adaptogens, and a solid 1.2 billion probiotic bacteria. Two more bonuses: it has a very mild taste and it just costs a dollar per serving.
Who Should Buy ORAC-Energy Greens
- Those who prioritize antioxidants: ORAC-Energy Greens is one of the few greens powders to actually measure its antioxidant content, and it’s higher than you’ll get in several servings of blueberries.
- Penny pinchers: at about a dollar a serving, this is a pretty inexpensive greens powder.
- Those looking for some adaptogens with their antioxidants, as it includes eluthero root, rhodiola, holy basil, ashwagandha, and ginseng.
Who Shouldn’t Buy ORAC-Energy Greens
- Customers who focus on digestive health: ORAC-Energy Greens isn’t especially high in probiotic bacteria.
- People who want minerals out of their supplements; there’s not much information on the nutrition label about their content.
Many greens powders contain ingredients high in antioxidants but they don’t actually measure their potency in this regard. ORAC-Energy Greens is one of the few that use the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, and it’s why it got our top spot.
Best Greens Powder for Digestion: Vibrant Health Digestive Vibrance
There’s interesting evidence that combining probiotic bacteria with prebiotic fiber helps to maximize both of their benefits for improving digestive health. That’s why Digestive Vibrance is our top pick in this category.
Vibrant Health Digestive Vibrance Highlights
Digestive Vibrance delivers 100 billion probiotic bacteria per serving and they’re from eight different strains — more bacteria from more strains may mean more benefits for the gut, as a diverse population of bacteria is often considered important for digestive health.
It also provides almost a day’s worth of the mineral selenium, which has links improving malabsorption in the digestive tract, and there’s plenty of Vitamin B6, which helps the digestive system process the protein. With additional antioxidants and adaptogens like green tea leaf and astragalus, it’s worth its money.
This greens supplement comes with heaping servings of vegetables and fruits, along with a whopping 100 billion probiotic bacteria per serving.
Who Should Buy Vibrant Health Digestive Vibrance
- Anyone wanting more probiotics — at 100 billion per serving, this has far, far more than any competitor we’ve seen.
- Customers who want transparency. The ingredients label is extraordinarily transparent, providing the precise weight of everything you’ll get in a scoop.
- It includes a series of micronutrients, like B6 and selenium, which also have links to digestive health.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Vibrant Health Digestive Vibrance
- Those with sensitive stomachs may want to take it slow with this supplement; you may need to slowly build up to taking all those probiotics at once.
- If you’re looking for a substitute for a multivitamin, you should knowDigestive Vibrance isn’t a great source of vitamins and minerals, outside of B6, selenium, and iodine.
- If you’re wooed by the potential benefits of digestive enzymes, surprisingly enough there aren’t any in this product.
Digestive health is an interesting area of research that’s continuing to grow by the day. While a well rounded diet and plenty of fiber are also key, evidence points to Digestive Vibrance being a good addition to your regimen.
Best Tasting Greens Powder: Athletic Greens
It’s no secret that many greens powders taste… earthy. (As in, like soil.) This is because they’re typically jam packed with wheatgrass and algae and its consumers typically shy away from artificial sweeteners.
Athletic Greens Highlights
We thought Athletic Greens tasted the best of all the powders we tried. Naturally sweetened with some stevia, it also includes added flavorings like pineapple, papaya, carrot, and cherry powder to produce a drink that is actually enjoyable — we found ourselves sipping and savoring it, which isn’t something we’ve been able to say about any of its competitors.
Unlike a lot of powders, Athletic Greens doesn’t try to smother the bitterness of its ingredients with sweeteners; it also contains notes of ginger, which work alongside the bitterness to make a slightly sweet and spicy beverage that’s extraordinarily pleasant.
Packed with vitamins and probiotics, this greens powder is flavored with papaya, pineapple, and a hint of ginger.
Who Should Buy Athletic Greens
- Anyone tired of opening up a greens powder to find a powder that tastes like dirt.
- As mentioned above, anyone looking for an extraordinarily well rounded green superfood drink: this is full of vitamins, probiotics, and adaptogens.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Athletic Greens
- If you object to the natural sweetener stevia, you’ll want to pass.
- Regardless of your adherence to flavor as a virtue, anyone wanting an inexpensive greens powder may be disappointed by the price.
With tropical notes that make it taste like a creamy fruit punch, there’s no going past Athletic Greens if you want a tasty and effective greens drink. And even including all the ineffective greens drinks, it comes out on top.
Best Value Greens Powder: MacroLife Naturals
Not everyone is happy to pay $30 a week for daily greens powder, and while there are some inexpensive versions, many of them are low in vitamins, minerals, and all the other reasons folks buy greens powders. Our favorite budget option?
MacroLife Naturals Highlights
Overall, we think MacroLife’s Macro Greens Superfood has the most bang for your buck. It costs just 72 cents per serving, one of which delivers a huge 18 billion probiotics from five different strains, four kinds of digestive enzymes, 720 percent of your daily Vitamin C, 330 percent of your Vitamin E, 50 percent of your B12, and 8 percent of your iron.
Given its ingredients list, which includes an antioxidant blend and various seaweeds and grasses, it’s probably high in antioxidants too, though it’s not quantified. It also contains a lot of adaptogenic herbs and it tastes great.
One of the tastiest and most nutritious greens powders on the market, this also delivers more probiotics than almost any of its competitors — and it's very inexpensive.
Who Should Buy MacroLife Naturals
- If you want to save cash while reaping all the benefits of greens powders, MacroLife has you covered.
- Focusing on digestive health? This has 18 billion probiotic bacteria and four kinds of digestive enzymes.
- If you’re looking for adaptogens, MacroLife provides them in the form of astragalus, echinacea, and ginger root powder.
Who Shouldn’t Buy MacroLife Naturals
- If your focus is antioxidants, little information is provided about the antioxidant content or the B-vitamins.
A lot of cheap greens powders just give you wheat grass and a nutrition label with nothing on it, but MacroLife pulled through with a huge range of ingredients and a surprisingly tasty berry flavor.
Best Greens Powder for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs Prebiotic Greens
To be clear, greens powders are not weight loss products. Supplements that advertise themselves as such are in a separate category that has more FDA oversight — this isn’t a weight loss product. We did find that Prebiotic Greens had more of the greens powder ingredients with links to appetite control and weight management.
Transparent Labs Prebiotic Greens Highlights
Transparent Labs keeps the ingredients simple: 3 grams each of just spirulina, broken cell chlorella, acacia fiber, and green banana flour, plus a gram each of artichoke fiber and chicory root.
Why does that make this the best greens for weight loss?
These sea greens are extremely dense sources of chlorophyll, which have links to managing appetite and reducing bodyweight, according to research published in Appetite and the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences.(3)(4) One of them found that over three months, two grams of spirulina every day led to participants losing three more pounds more weight overall relative to a placebo group. The prebiotic fiber here also has links to weight management as they may improve your gut microbiome.
A simple but effectively dosed supplement that emphasises sea greens and prebiotic fiber, both of which have links to weight management. Use the code BARBEND10 for 10% off!
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Prebiotic Greens
- If you’re on a dedicated weight loss journey and you’re making sure to keep an eye on your calories and maintain your overall health, Prebiotic Greens may aid your efforts.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Prebiotic Greens
- If you’re looking for a lot of micronutrients and adaptogens with your greens, this isn’t the product. Prebioti Greens has a short, simple ingredients list that focuses on antioxidants and chlorophyll.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when it comes to weight loss and the most important component is your calorie balance. But given the links to appetite control and weight management, Prebiotic Greens is our favorite greens supplement to add a little help in this area.
What Are the Benefits of Greens Powders?
When greens supplements burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s, the marketing made it look like we were witnessing the next stage in the evolution of multivitamins. They’re not just sources of vitamins and minerals; they often contain antioxidants, probiotic bacteria, digestive enzymes, and naturally-derived compounds that are linked to everything from better-functioning livers to improved mental clarity.
But the biggest selling point is that benefits like these come from naturally-occurring foods. Usually, there are no isolated vitamins that have been injected into the supplement — the nutrition comes entirely from whole foods that are taken straight from the ground, sea, or tree. So here’s what measured up.
In most cases, the base of a greens powder is made from a combination of grasses (like wheatgrass and barley grass) and algae (like spirulina and chlorella). The rest of the ingredients could be comprised of vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, roots, herbs, leaves, stems, fiber, probiotic bacteria, digestive enzymes, royal jelly, and anything in between.
We’ve had vitamin supplements for a long time, but greens powders are newer to the market — an attempt to harvest the benefits of whole food ingredients that can sometimes be excluded from a daily multi. Plants, after all, don’t just contain the isolated vitamins and minerals you might get in other supplements. They’re also a source of fiber, chlorophyll, and phytonutrients like indole-3-carbinol (may help with estrogen balance), isothiocyanates (may decrease inflammation) and, and glucosinolates (may lower risk of heart disease). There’s a lot going on in plants besides the vitamins and minerals — by using real, whole food ingredients and turning ’em into a daily tablespoon, green superfood powders want you to get more from your supplements.
A potential issue is that as a relatively new kind of supplement, there aren’t a ton of studies that have been performed on their potential benefits, though a couple of small studies published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine did find that green superfood products caused study participants to experience a significant reduction in hypertensive symptoms, like better blood pressure.(1)(2)
Sometimes, these ingredients result in a tremendous amount of nutrition that vastly exceeds what’s offered in a multivitamin, and some greens powders can substitute for antioxidant supplements, digestive health supplements, adaptogen supplements, and natural herb supplements like rhodiola rosea or milk thistle.
But sometimes, the value of a greens powder isn’t worth the tub it’s packaged into. If you want to get a good green powder at very low cost, you need to take a closer look at amazing grass green superfood powder review.
How We Decided the Best
So how does one measure the effectiveness of a greens powder and rank them into a list like ours? With a lot of homework.
Micronutrients in Greens Powders
We know that many feel the point of greens powders is that they offer more than a multivitamin. However given the fact that so many of them make claims like “equal to 4 servings of vegetables” and “a great source of vitamins and minerals,” we feel it’s important to gauge a product’s vitamins and minerals. It’s a surprisingly difficult task, as many of these products will state they’re full of everything the body needs while leaving most vitamins and minerals off of the nutrition label.
Antioxidant content in Greens Powders
Perhaps the most common claim made about green superfood powders is how jam packed they are with antioxidants. There’s no line for ‘antioxidant strength’ on a nutrition label, however there are some methods of actually measuring a product’s antioxidants, like the ORAC score, which lets you measure the antioxidant content against, say, a cup of blueberries. Very few products do this, so we don’t mark them down too heavily if they don’t include their score, but it’s a big bonus when they do.
Adaptogens and Herbs in Greens Powders
A lot of the most exciting research in nutrition is into adaptogens, compounds that may alter the way the body responds to stress. A couple of examples often seen in greens powders are rhodiola rosea, which may improve focus and exercise performance, and reishi mushrooms, which have been linked to everything from subjective wellbeing to better immunity.(4)(5) Supplementing with adaptogens is becoming increasingly common for the holistic athlete and they often form part of a greens powder recipe.
Probiotics and Enzymes in Greens Powders
A ton of evidence suggests that maintaining a healthy population of gut bacteria — the trillions of little critters that live in your digestive tract and help you break down food — can improve more than just your gut health. A healthy and diverse number of probiotic bacteria may improve inflammation, boost immunity, and maybe even exert a positive effect on mood. Digestive enzymes and prebiotic fiber are also tied to a healthier gut and often find their way into greens powders as well.
Do Greens Powders Detoxify My Body?
No. The liver is what removes toxins from your body, and neither cleanses nor juices nor eating extra vegetables will detoxify your body.
However, some greens powders contain ingredients that support the body’s natural detoxification processes. The most notable and common example is milk thistle, a flowering herb that has been linked to liver health.(6) (It’s sometimes used to help treat hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver.) Most greens powders contain milk thistle to support using the word “detox” on their label.
Can a Greens Supplement Boost My Immunity?
Many greens powders do contain ingredients that are linked to a healthier immune system. In particular, most are a source of antioxidants, which protect the body’s cells from free radicals, harmful molecules that may contribute to the risk of cancer. Therefore, it can be argued that antioxidants may reduce your risk of disease.
The same can be said of many nutrients that are often found in greens powders, like Vitamins A, C, E, B-6, zinc, selenium, iron, and copper. Any supplement that contains any amounts of any of these micronutrients could be said to potentially improve immunity.
Before Buying a Greens Powder
Keep these pointers in mind before clicking the buy button.
These Don’t Replace Vegetables
There are way too many green superfood drinks that advertise themselves as the equivalent of a serving of fruits and vegetables (or three). That’s not how it works: fresh fruits and veggies contain far more ingredients and phytonutrientst han you’ll find in an average scoop of greens, plus they’ll give you a lot more fiber as well.
Know Why You’re Shopping
As you can see, greens powders can have many different foci: antioxidants, digestive health, adaptogens, and more. Do some research and know the strengths and weaknesses of your product before you commit.
Always speak with your physician before undertaking a new supplement regimen.
Of all of the health and wellness supplements on the market, green superfood powders are among the newest — and they’re also among the toughest to scrutinize. We get it: many of them make outlandish claims and barely try to support them with information on their nutrition label. But while you can’t “out supplement” a poor diet, many of the best greens powders may well confer benefits to some areas of your health. After digging through a lot of muck, we’ve uncovered some truly excellent supplements. We think you’ll be as impressed with them as we were.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a green superfood powder?
A green superfood powder, also just called a greens powder, usually refers to a supplement that contains a base of antioxidant-rich algae or grasses, typically wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina, and/or chlorella.
Usually a greens powder will also contain ingredients for digestive health (like probiotic bacteria), adaptogens (plants that can help improve stress levels), and/or added vitamins and minerals.
What are the benefits of green superfood powders?
Greens powders typically contain ingredients high in antioxidants, which may slow certain aspects of aging. They may also improve nutrient absorption (especially when they contain probiotic bacteria, prebiotic fiber, and/or digestive enzymes), and help the body respond to stress (when they contain adaptogenic herbs or mushrooms).
Note that greens powders don’t usually contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, but there are plenty of exceptions — check the nutrition label for more.
1. Zhang, J et al. Taking nutritional supplements for three months reduced blood pressure but not blood lipid levels in students. J Chiropr Med. 2006 Summer; 5(2): 53–59.
2. Zhang, J et al. The effect of fruit and vegetable powder mix on hypertensive subjects: a pilot study. J Chiropr Med. 2009 Sep; 8(3): 101–106.
3. Montelius C, et al. Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women. Appetite. 2014 Oct;81:295-304.
4. Miczke A, et al. Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function in overweight hypertensive Caucasians: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016;20(1):150-6.
5. Abenavoli L, et al. Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future. Phytother Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):1423-32.
6. Ishaque S, et al. Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 May 29;12:70.
7. Bhardwaj N, et al. Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2014;8(2):104-17.