MF nu­tri­tion EX­PERT Can su­per­greens re­place my five a day?

They’re a quick and easy way to get lots of nu­tri­ents – but do they make broc­coli re­dun­dant?

Men's Fitness - - Experts -

Ross Ed­g­ley is a fit­ness and sports nu­tri­tion ex­pert. A for­mer strength and con­di­tion­ing coach at the English In­sti­tute of Sport, he’s the co-founder of nu­tri­tion com­pany The Pro­tein Works.

very­one agrees: five a day is barely enough. In Den­mark, the rec­om­mended dose of fruit and veg is six, in France it’s ten, in Ja­pan it’s a stag­ger­ing (though smaller-por­tioned) 17 – and yet here you are, strug­gling to man­age a por­tion of broc­coli and an ap­ple. So if one sup­ple­ment could of­fer you all the nu­tri­ents you need, you should go for it – right?

Su­per hero

En­ter su­per­greens. Th­ese are es­sen­tially nu­tri­ent-dense fruits and veg­eta­bles, dried, pro­cessed, fil­tered and re­fined into a mix­able pow­der that’s easy to con­sume. Typ­i­cally, they con­tain well-re­searched veg­eta­bles such as spir­ulina, wheat­grass, spinach, kale and broc­coli. Re­cently, though, more ex­otic ad­di­tions have in­cluded acerola berries and matcha green tea.

The key ef­fect su­per­greens have is on your im­mune sys­tem, which is weak­ened when ex­posed to pe­ri­ods of heavy, hard train­ing. Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land, for in­stance, found that in­ten­sive ex­er­cise al­tered a num­ber of im­mune fac­tors in­clud­ing white blood cells, which help to pro­tect the body against mi­cro-or­gan­isms caus­ing dis­ease. Su­per­greens will sup­port this, as well as pro­vid­ing other mi­cronu­tri­ents needed by the body – not just vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, but en­zymes, phy­tonu­tri­ents and more.

Fresh start

Re­search has not shown any spe­cific nu­tri­ent win­dow for su­per­greens. Many peo­ple swear by tak­ing them in the morn­ing, which is fine, though ev­i­dence sug­gests any ben­e­fit of a morn­ing dose is psy­cho­log­i­cal. It’s also fine to take them daily – you don’t have to cy­cle their us­age (take them for a while, then take a break), as some ex­perts say you should with, say, cre­a­tine. Su­per­greens can and should be a regular fix­ture in your diet.

But can they ever re­place veg­eta­bles al­to­gether? Short an­swer: no. Re­search and ex­pe­ri­ence shows that we should eat our nu­tri­ents as na­ture pack­aged them. For in­stance, a study pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal Of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion found that hav­ing fruit in liq­uid form can dramatically change how your body pro­cesses it. But we all know it’s hard to con­sume enough fruit and veg to get all the mi­cronu­tri­ents we need – not to men­tion ex­pen­sive – so why ig­nore some­thing that would help?

Ul­ti­mately, it’s about hav­ing a mea­sured ap­proach to your con­sump­tion of both. In other words, it’s worth sup­ple­ment­ing with su­per­greens – but you still have to eat your broc­coli. For more visit the­p­ro­tein­works.com

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