Greens supplements are made from vegetables, fruits, grasses, algae, herbs, and other organic sources. These green food powders are believed to impart a wide range of benefits to general health, especially in cases of suboptimal vegetable and fruit intake. In this short glossary, we’re going to cover some of the terms relevant to greens supplements and their biological effects.
The theory that certain foods – namely grains, dairy, and protein – increase the body’s acidity, resulting in increased risk of disorders such as osteoporosis and obesity and other negative health impacts.
Microscopic photosynthetic organisms that mostly live in water. Some species of algae – such as chlorella and spirulina – are used in greens supplements because of their rich nutrient content and unique bio-active compounds.
The idea that certain foods – name fruits and vegetables – have an alkaline effect on the body, which counters acidity. Proponents of eating a diet high in alkaline foods – called an alkaline diet – suggest that this can improve health and reduce risk of obesity and other health disorders.
Natural and man-made compounds that help counter damage to cells caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are naturally produced in the body as part of chemical reactions. Vegetables, fruits, and other foods and compounds that are considered greens are rich in antioxidants, which is one of the reasons why they are recommended to support good health.
The green pigment that gives plants their distinct color and allows for photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is suggested to have a number of beneficial bio-active qualities such as helping the body replenish hemoglobin, but more research is needed to back its potential health benefits.
A term used to describe the immature stage of plants that are grown for their grain, such as wheat and barley. Cereal grasses are frequently used in greens supplements because they are rich in nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals.
A state in which the body’s antioxidant defenses are unable to effectively neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) – compounds that can cause damage to cells. Oxidative stress is known to be involved in the process of aging as well as a wide range of health disorders, the most notable examples being diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
An abbreviation for potential of hydrogen, this term is used to describe how acidic or basic something is. Solutions with a large number of hydrogen ions are considered acidic, whereas those with low concentrations are basic. The human body has a tightly regulated pH level, and proponents of greens supplements suggest that eating too many acidic foods can decrease pH, resulting in a wide range of negative health effects. On the other hand, consuming greens supplements and alkaline foods can help keep the pH in good balance. However, this theory remains contested.
Also known as phytonutrients, these are chemical compounds found in plants and microorganisms such as algae that can have beneficial health effects. Phytochemicals can be categorized in general groups such as carotenoids and and polyphenols. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in tea leaves and beta-carotene found in many fruits and vegetables are prominent examples of widely-consumed phytochemicals.