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.

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.

We looked for the best greens powders in different categories, then provided a descriptive analyses behind why we chose each included in the lists below.

Best Green Superfood Picks for 2019

Best Overall
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

Remarkably tasty and extraordinarily nutritious, this greens powder has a better combination of vitamins, probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, adaptogens, and flavor than any of the competition.

Best for Antioxidants
ORAC-Energy Greens
ORAC-Energy Greens
ORAC-Energy Greens

One of the very few greens powders that actually measures its antioxidant content, this is a very transparent and effective greens drink.

Best for Digestion
Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
Vibrant Health Green Vibrance

This greens supplement comes with heaping servings of vegetables and fruits, along with a whopping 25 billion probiotic bacteria per serving.

Best Tasting
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

Packed with vitamins and probiotics, this greens powder is flavored with papaya, pineapple, and a hint of ginger. 

Best Value
MacroLife Naturals
MacroLife Naturals
MacroLife Naturals

One of the tastiest and most nutritious greens powder son the market, this also delivers more probiotics than almost any of its competitors — and it's very inexpensive.

Best for Weight Loss
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

Extraordinarily nutritious greens powder with well quantified health benefits. Also one of the best-tasting greens powders on the market.

Best for Protein
Kylea Health & Energy
Kylea Health & Energy
Kylea Health & Energy

Organic, non-GMO, and without any artificial ingredients, this vegan protein is well priced and has added digestive enzymes to help with nutrient absorption.


Read further below for even more categories and more picks!

More detailed breakdowns of our top choices per category are below in this article. At the bottom of this article, we include an infographic and more information on common greens powder ingredients and questions.

What Are the Benefits of Greens Powders?

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)

Greens Powder Common Ingredients

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.

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

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

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

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

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.(3) (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.

What Is the Best Greens Powder Overall?

Athletic Greens

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. The only downside is that at $4.23 per serving, it’s pretty expensive. It’s cheaper if you sign up for a monthly subscription, which bumps it down to $3.23 per serving.

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Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

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!

Best Greens Powder for Antioxidants

ORAC-Energy Greens

ORAC-Energy Greens

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.

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, which is a means for measuring the potency of a product’s antioxidant content.

ORAC-Energy Greens
ORAC-Energy Greens
ORAC-Energy Greens
One of the very few greens powders that actually measures its antioxidant content, this is a very transparent and effective greens drink.

Best Greens Powder for Digestive Health

Green Vibrance Supplement

Vibrant Health Green Vibrance

Green Vibrance contains 25 billion probiotic bacteria and they’re from twelve different strains, which means they provide a wider variety of benefits and a more diverse gut microbiome. That’s ten times more probiotics than most of their competitors, and it also has six kinds of digestive enzymes. It’s also very nutritious, with 250 percent of the RDI of Vitamin D3, 80 percent of your Vitamin C, 70 percent of your selenium, 60 percent of your vitamin K, and 40 percent of your Vitamin B12. It doesn’t taste great — kinda grassy — but at $1.08 per serving, it’s worth it.

Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
This green supplement comes with heaping servings of vegetables and fruits, along with 25 billion probiotics.

Best-Tasting Greens Powder

Athletic Greens Taste

Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

We thought Athletic Greens tasted the best, creamy and tropical with a hint of ginger. 

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Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

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!

Cheapest Greens Powder (That Also Works)

MacroLife’s Macro Greens

MacroLife Naturals

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. 

MacroLife Naturals
MacroLife Naturals
MacroLife Naturals

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.

Best Greens Powder for Weight Loss

Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

Athletic Greens was our favorite greens powder for weight loss, and here’s why. Firstly, greens powders aren’t weight loss supplements and shouldn’t be used as such, but many do have ingredients that have been linked to weight loss. The most promising ingredients that are typically used in greens powders at levels that are likely to be the most effective are probiotic bacteria and chlorophyll. Athletic Greens has the best balance here.

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Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily

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!

Best Greens-Protein Hybrid

Kylea Health & Energy Total Living Drink

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.

Kylea Health & Energy
Kylea Health & Energy
Kylea Health & Energy
Organic, non-GMO, and without any artificial ingredients, this vegan protein is well priced and has added digestive enzymes to help with nutrient absorption.

Final Word

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 these 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.

References

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. Abenavoli L, et al. Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future. Phytother Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):1423-32.
4. Ishaque S, et al. Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 May 29;12:70.
5. 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.