Eat / Nutritional Supplements

The 2 Best Greens Powders of 2022

Research Based

Research Based

This article was rigorously researched and fact checked. We use peer-reviewed journals and reputable medical sources (think: CDC, WHO, NIH, and the like) to back up every claim we make, and also reach out to experts in the field to ensure we’re covering things the right way. We apply these principles to everything we cover—including brands we partner with—and we’ll always disclose sponsorships, ads, and any kind of financial relationship with anything featured on The Nessie. You deserve the best, most straightforward information on health and wellness, and we think this is the right way to do it. You can read more about our testing and review process here.

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Written by Colleen Stinchcombe
Reviewed by Rebecca Valdez, MS, RDN

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Sometimes it’s hard to eat your greens. But most of us know how important our servings of fruit and vegetables are. What is a busy person with chewing fatigue to do?

Greens powders are one increasingly trendy option. These verdant supplements claim to have everything—dried seaweed, vegetables, fruits, probiotics, enzymes, and other ingredients. They’re mixed into water or smoothies and, in theory, provide an extra boost of nutrients.

We tested five of the most popular brands on the market, from Athletic Greens to Garden of Life, and investigated their health claims and third-party testing credentials, all while chugging more than 25 glasses of greens. Our top pick was Ora Organic Greens Powder for its pleasant citrusy taste, solid ingredient list, and impressive transparency.

Here’s how the best greens powders stack up:

  1. Ora Organic Greens Powder
  2. Athletic Greens AG1
  3. Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood
  4. Your Super Super Green Organic Superfood Mix
  5. Nested Naturals Super Greens

The Best Greens Powders

Top Pick

Ora Organic Greens Powder

  • Grasses, seaweeds, and green veggies
  • Contains Ashwagandha
  • Sweetened with monk fruit
  • 30 servings per container
Shop Now at Ora Organic | $34.99 Shop Now at Amazon | $25

The Evidence Test Score: Healthy-ish

Ness believes this service and/or product can provide a health benefit for certain individuals based on their individual circumstances.

Read more about we use The Evidence Test.

Pros
  • Best taste
  • Medium number of all-organic ingredients
  • Impressive transparency
Cons
  • Left some sludge at the bottom of the glass

Compared to all the other greens we tested, Ora’s licorice-orange flavor was the best. With it, I actually found myself looking forward to my daily ice-cold glass of greens. I also appreciated the medium-sized ingredient list (25 items total) and mostly-reasonable marketing claims—other than one that says the alkaline veggies it contains help to “detoxify the body.” We don’t love this, as a functioning liver is enough icon-trusted-source Mayo Clinic Health System “10 nutrition myths debunked” View Source to provide all the detoxing you need.

Colleen Stinchcombe

The powder comes in a cylinder container with a twist-off top and its own measuring spoon, which made it easy to quickly mix into a glass of water. I was surprised that it was highly drinkable, even without mixing it into a smoothie—no holding my nose for this drink. It carries a distinct orange flavor, but also a licorice-esque taste that I’d attribute to the leek in the ingredients list. It’s slightly sweet thanks to the addition of monk fruit, but just enough to take away the bitterness of the greens.

Colleen Stinchcombe

Most impressive is Ora’s extremely clear explanation of what third-party testing is, links to its results, and naming some of the labs they work with. It’s the most thorough page dedicated to testing of any brand we tested. We did notice that Ora says its products are tested annually, but the last update for the Greens Powder was July 2021—just over a year ago.

The vitamin content is reasonable—the highest amount is vitamin A, with 10% of your recommended daily needs. This is lower than the amount found in most multivitamins. But if you’re just looking for something new to add to a vitamin cocktail, or feel fairly certain that your diet contains most of the nutrients you need, Ora allows you to sip on something green. 

As far as ingredients, we didn’t see anything of major concern. The brand markets itself as different to other comparable products because it includes prebiotics for “digestion,” ashwaghanda to enhance “mood and sleep,” and triphala. Triphala is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for its preventative and immune-boosting effects, among other treatments, but Western medicine hasn’t been able to verify icon-trusted-source Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center “Triphala: Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More” View Source its benefits so far. Ashwaghanda, another Ayurvedic standby, has promise icon-trusted-source PubMed Central “A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults” View Source as a stress-reliever.

Suffice to say, we don’t think this greens powder is going to give you magical wellness powers. But it tastes good, has solid ingredients, and gives a thorough explanation of its testing process, which is why it made our top spot.

Best Upgrade

Athletic Greens AG1

  • Contains grasses, seaweed, vegetables, and herbs
  • Also has enzymes and probiotics
  • Has ashwagandha
  • Uses stevia
  • 30 servings per container
Shop Now at Athletic Greens | $99
Pros
  • One of the better tasting powders
  • Comes with a convenient shaker bottle
Cons
  • Goes wayyy over the daily requirement for several vitamins

Podcast-famous Athletic Greens is probably the buzziest of all the greens powders we tested, and it’s one of the only ones that claims to provide “comprehensive nutrition.” But we were surprised at just how many excess vitamins come in a serving, including 553% daily value for vitamin E. It also had a ton of B-vitamins (917% daily value of B12) and 1100% daily value for biotin. These aren’t toxic levels, but they ensure that you’re essentially just paying to make your pee vitamin-rich. The excess of vitamins is ultimately what bumped it from the top spot.

Athletic Greens was the only powder that came in a resealable bag and provided its own shaker bottle. I thought the shaker was gimmicky at first but it ended up being super convenient. It was also the only powder that required refrigeration after opening and recommended drinking before breakfast. Depending on your perspective, the refrigeration part could be a draw, considering that shelf-stable food items can be processed. And the brand recommends quitting your multivitamin once you start drinking the powder. (Though notably, it doesn’t contain any vitamin D.)

Colleen Stinchcombe

Despite the shaker, I still ended up with some minimal sludge at the end of each serving, but could mostly avoid it by swishing the liquid until the very end. It’s sweet enough (I’m guessing from the stevia) that you definitely don’t need to mix it into a smoothie. It reminded me of drinking a kid’s vitamin or a sweetened vanilla protein powder.

The brand has a breakdown of each vitamin and ingredient and what it supposedly does in the body, but it doesn’t do an especially good job of quantifying them. The brand also says it’s NSF-certified for Sport (that means a third party verifies that the powder doesn’t contain harmful levels of contaminants, that it contains what it says it does, and that it doesn’t have any substances banned from major athletic competitions), but Athletic Greens doesn’t publish the results on its website, which is disappointing. 

It’s also worth noting that Athletic Greens is pricey. A single 30-serving pouch is $99, and with shipping and tax, we ultimately paid $119.35 to ship it to Washington state. The company seems to want most customers to go for its monthly subscription model (which knocks $20 off each pouch), and offers various deals and discounts to make that $948-yearly package more appealing. Either way, you just don’t need to spend that much on greens powder. But if you’re after the halo of virtuousness that surrounds AG’s flagship product, and don’t mind paying more for it, the taste and convenience will make it worth it.

Are Greens Powders Healthy?

best greens powders | athletic greens, ora greens powders grouped together on counter
Colleen Stinchcombe

Gooooood question. And of course, the answer is: it’s complicated. 

The short answer is that experts agree whole foods are more nutritionally useful than most supplements you’ll find, and that goes for greens powders, too. That’s especially true if you have no known essential vitamin deficiencies. If your choice is between a plate of vegetables or a glass of powder, opt for the plate—no pill or powder can replace real food. Supplements also can’t be used to cure disease. 

That said, supplements (like greens powders) might be useful for people who don’t often get the recommended fill of whole foods, according to the National Institutes of Health icon-trusted-source National Institutes of Health — Office of Dietary Supplements “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” View Source (NIH). 

It’s also possible that greens powders provide some health benefits—we’re just not sure how real they are yet. One small study of 40 young (between 20-32 years old) and relatively healthy participants saw improvements in high blood pressure icon-trusted-source PubMed Central “The effect of fruit and vegetable powder mix on hypertensive subjects: a pilot study” View Source after 90 days of taking a daily fruit and vegetable powder drink. A systematic review found that fruit and vegetable concentrations (not necessarily greens powders specifically) lead to higher levels of folic acid and vitamin A, C, and E icon-trusted-source PubMed.gov “Health effects of mixed fruit and vegetable concentrates: a systematic review of the clinical interventions” View Source or antioxidants in the blood and improvements in markers that suggest a healthy or stronger immune system and lower inflammation. But larger studies are needed to figure out whether these early findings are true or not.  

If the jury’s still out, how come so many of these powders can make claims that they’ll “improve immune function” or “support digestion”? Two reasons, really: one, they’re not regulated as drugs icon-trusted-source FDA “Label Claims for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements” View Source by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so they don’t have to be evaluated. And two: “[These claims] are taken out of context,” says Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., clinical dietician at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and author of Recipe for Survival. “For example, in studies of fish consumption versus fish oil, fish consumption tends to be more beneficial for health than fish oil on its own.” But in advertising, a company might extrapolate fish being good for health to say their fish-derived ingredients are just as healthy.

If you want to give a greens powder a shot, Hunnes says to make sure the one you choose is certified by an independent third party. Why? Some greens powders tested by ConsumerLabs were found to have high levels of heavy metals (none of them were among the products we tested). The good news is that all the products on our list claim to be third-party tested, though some are more transparent about it than others. All the supplements on this list also contain food-derived vitamins, rather than synthetic vitamins. It’s harder to overdose on natural vitamins, but high amounts of synthetic vitamins can have adverse effects. 

Nessie Rating: Healthy-ish

More study is needed to determine the exact benefits (and potential drawbacks), but as long as the powder is third-party tested, has legit ingredients, and doesn’t contain an excess of vitamins, it may provide some health benefit.

How To Start Taking Green Drink Powders

It’s important to talk to your health provider about the supplements you’re taking. That’s especially true for people who are pregnant or nursing, and before giving any supplements to children. Some vitamins and ingredients commonly found in green drink powders can interact with medications or otherwise affect your health. For example, vitamin K icon-trusted-source Mount Sinai “Vitamin K” View Source interacts with several different medications, including antacids, antibiotics, and cancer drugs. Both vitamin E and ginkgo biloba can have blood thinning effects—combining them with blood thinning medication like aspirin could increase your risk icon-trusted-source FDA “Mixing Medications and Dietary Supplements Can Endanger Your Health” View Source of stroke or internal bleeding, according to the FDA. Other supplements, like St. John’s Wort icon-trusted-source Mayo Clinic “St. John's Wort” View Source , are known to make antidepressants, birth control, and other medications less effective.

Another thing to keep in mind: more is not always better when it comes to vitamins. “Certain vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, are fat soluble and can be problematic if you take too much because they get stored in fat,” Hunnes explains. Extremely high doses of vitamin A can cause liver damage icon-trusted-source Mayo Clinic “Vitamin A” View Source , for example, and even moderate excesses of daily vitamin E may be linked to an increased risk icon-trusted-source NIH “Prostate Cancer Risk from Vitamin E Supplements” View Source of prostate cancer. “But for many other vitamins (mostly B-vitamins and vitamin C), the excess will be excreted out in urine because they are water-soluble.” 

So: at best, excess vitamins create expensive pee, and at worst, they could potentially lead to health problems. If you start a green drink powder, look at its label carefully and think about how it may or may not fit into your existing routine.

What Makes Green Drink Powder Green?

Mostly, just the color—and the fact that it contains “green” vegetable ingredients. Many of the powders we tested focused on seaweeds and algae like spirulina, kelp, and chlorella. Others featured grasses like wheatgrass and barley grass, and some had kale, spinach, parsley, and other traditionally green ingredients in their list. 

How We Got Here

best greens powder | hand scooping ora greens powder into glass of water

Meet Your Guinea Pig

I’m Colleen Stinchcombe, a health writer and big fan of vegetables. I’m forever trying to separate the expert-backed from the bunk when it comes to lifestyle changes that actually make a difference. 

Our Testing Process

We tested five different greens powders for five days each. We did our best to drink them with plain old water, but some required doctoring to get down. In these cases, we mixed them into a smoothie with blueberries and banana. All told, we drank 25 heaping glasses of greens powders and tried to describe exactly what they tasted like and whether we noticed any physical or mental improvements in that short window. (Spoiler: we didn’t.) 

We chose to evaluate for taste over effectiveness since we knew we’d be unlikely to see effects in the timeline we had with each product—and one single tester’s experience isn’t enough to build guidelines for everyone. Instead, we thoroughly researched each ingredient list. We made note of major ingredients of concern from the FDA and scoured each powder for those, as well as making notes about any promises the company made about the promise of any individual ingredient. We highlighted the major ones in our reviews.

The Greens Powder Buying Guide

best greens powders
Colleen Stinchcombe

Who should buy greens powders?

If you have a generally healthy diet but like experimenting with supplements that might make you feel that 1% better, give greens powders a shot. Or, if you’re struggling to get enough fruits and vegetables into your diet, it’s possible (though definitely not proven) that greens powders could be a nice emerald sprinkle on top of other improvements to your diet. Most of the products we tested wouldn’t be a good substitute for a multivitamin if you’re struggling with vitamin deficiencies. The exception to that is Athletic Greens (the brand recommends quitting your multivitamin when you start your greens powder), though you may still need to supplement with other vitamins, such as vitamin D.

Which features matter most when buying greens powders? 

  • Your healthcare provider’s thoughts: Always check in with a pro before starting a new supplement, especially if you’re managing chronic conditions or taking medications.
  • Third party testing: All greens powders (and supplements in general) should be tested. All the products on this list claim to have been tested by a third party, but some did a better job of proving the info than others. 
  • Taste: This is user’s preference, but a green drink should be tasty (or at least tolerable enough that you don’t dread drinking it every day).
  • Potential allergens: If you have allergies or sensitivities, it’s important to scan the ingredient list and potentially even contact the company to make sure you won’t be exposed. 
  • Vitamin content: If there’s a specific vitamin or mineral you’re hoping to add into your diet, check the nutrition label to see if it’s there or not. The nutrition content of greens powders vary big time. 
  • Don’t trust marketing claims: In general, don’t put too much stock into the health claims these products make. They’re mostly taken out of context from very specific studies.
  • Cost: Consider how much you’re willing to spend on a bucket of green powder—and if you’re willing to keep forking it over for several months or years.

Other Greens Powders Worth Considering

Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood

  • Grasses, sprouts, fruits, and vegetables
  • Contains probiotics and enzyme mix
  • No sweeteners
  • 30 servings per container
Shop Now at Amazon | $33 Shop Now at Garden of Life | $36.79

The Evidence Test Score: Healthy-ish

Ness believes this service and/or product can provide a health benefit for certain individuals based on their individual circumstances.

Read more about we use The Evidence Test.

Pros
  • Not sweetened but still tastes fine
  • Organic ingredients (40+)
  • Widely available
  • B-corp that buys renewable energy
Cons
  • Testing could be more transparent
  • Some sludge at the end

Of all the greens powders on this list, Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood Juiced Greens Powder (yeah, it’s a mouthful) is the one you’re most likely to have seen at the grocery store. And there’s good reason for that—it’s a solid product, with a bunch of organic ingredients that blend together into a perfectly nice apple-lemon taste (with just a hint of bitterness) despite containing no sweeteners. 

Garden of Life’s marketing says its powder can “support healthy digestion, detoxification, a healthy immune system, [and] already healthy blood sugar levels in the normal range and metabolism”—which is pretty vague, if you ask us. The highest vitamin content in the powder is vitamin K, at 70% daily value, and most others are significantly lower—vitamin A at 35%, folate at 6%, and no vitamin C. If you’re concerned about getting enough of the major vitamin groups, you may want to occasionally pop a vitamin C tablet.

Garden of Life isn’t quite as delicious as Ora, or as transparent about its testing, which is why it didn’t make our top pick. In fact, the Greens Powder isn’t even listed on the unlabeled testing document they link to. I tried calling the product support line for more information, but was sent through to voicemail and didn’t get a response before this piece was published.

Your Super Super Green Organic Superfood Mix

  • Only six ingredients: wheatgrass, barley grass, moringa, baobab, spirulina, and chlorella
  • 30 servings per container
Shop Now at Amazon | $27 Shop Now at Your Super | $29.99

The Evidence Test Score: Healthy-ish

Ness believes this service and/or product can provide a health benefit for certain individuals based on their individual circumstances.

Read more about we use The Evidence Test.

Pros
  • Realistic marketing claims
  • Blended nicely in smoothie
  • B-corp
Cons
  • Didn’t blend well in water and tasted like bitter grass
  • Worst leftover sludge of the powders we tested
  • Says you can ask for third-party testing, but response was middling

Your Super Super Green Juice Powder wasn’t super drinkable mixed into water and left a lot of gritty sludge at the bottom of the cup. This was enough to knock it from the top spot, but we liked it fine in a banana-blueberry smoothie. We also appreciate that Your Super keeps its ingredients list super simple with just six ingredients: wheatgrass, barley grass, moringa, baobab, spirulina, and chlorella.

This powder has the most eco-friendly packaging of all the brands we tested, with a cylinder cardboard container sans scoop (and a plastic, push-in/pull-off lid). Your Super’s website also does a nice job of explaining the ingredients used and why, like that the vitamins, chlorophyll, and flavonoids might help the immune system and reduce oxidative stress. That said, the brand mentions studies that supposedly back up its claims, but doesn’t name or link out to them. 

The vitamin content is particularly low in this powder—vitamin D and iron are the highest, at 6% daily value. There are also small amounts of calcium and potassium (2%), but that’s it.

We weren’t super impressed with Your Super’s transparency around testing. The company says its does third-party testing and can provide documentation if you “just ask,” but when I emailed, the response said they were still working to “​​make sure our testing information can be available to our customers in a digestible way”— and then reiterated that all items do get tested, but still didn’t provide any documentation. Hmm.

A Greens Powder You Can Skip

Nested Naturals Super Greens

  • Contains grasses, seaweed, and vegetables
  • Has green tea powder in its antioxidant blend
  • Contains ginkgo biloba
  • Contains probiotics and enzymes
  • No sweeteners
  • 30 servings per container
Shop Now at Amazon | $29 Shop Now at Nested Naturals | $31.95

The Evidence Test Score: Healthy-ish

Ness believes this service and/or product can provide a health benefit for certain individuals based on their individual circumstances.

Read more about we use The Evidence Test.

Pros
  • Organic
  • Reasonable vitamin levels
Cons
  • Tasted like pond water
  • No consumer-facing documentation around third-party testing

On the surface, there’s nothing that makes this powder inherently inferior to the others. But during our testing, it had the distinct dishonor of being the least-drinkable of all the powders we tasted. In fact, our tester had to hold her nose to get it down—and still ended up thinking it tasted the way that pond water smells. 

There were more of some vitamins than others on this list, but the top daily value went to vitamin C at 19% DV, followed by iron at 11%.

Ultimately, the taste is what put it on our don’t-recommend list. But it’s worth noting the mix also contains gingko leaf powder. This is not recommended for people on blood thinning medication. And while Nested Natural’s website mentions the product goes through four layers of testing, it doesn’t provide any consumer-facing documentation to prove it.

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