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How to Choose a Whole Food Powder that's Right for You

by Barbara Minton
See all TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton

(The Best Years in Life) If you could buy only one supplement, which would it be? You might choose Vitamin C to keep your immune system strong, or green tea extract to dodge cancer. Something to slow aging or help with fat burning would be good too. It would be a tough choice, but luckily one that doesn't have to be made, because many supplement makers are now producing whole food powders that contain a wealth of nutrients in one single scoop.

Are whole food supplements better?

Whole food supplements are just what the name implies. They are made from a variety of whole foods, and contain the entire complex of vitamins and minerals as well as the micronutrients and synergistic factors that each food has to offer.

The nutrients in whole food supplements are not isolated. They are present in the complex structural forms in which they exist in nature. This means they combine a variety of enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, and many other factors that as yet remain undiscovered. All these factors work together with the major nutrients in the balance and harmony found only in nature.

Here's an example. You can take a Vitamin C tablet and get a healthy dose of Vitamin C, but that's all you will get. If you eat a tomato, you will get a healthy dose of vitamin C, but along with it you will get Vitamin A, folate and other members of the Vitamin B family, Vitamin E, Vitamin K so essential to bone health, heart healthy potassium, magnesium (known as the master mineral), chromium to protect against diabetes, lycopene to keep away prostate and other cancers, and many more nutrients.  And each of these nutrients is underwritten by nature and exists in perfect balance and synergy, making it highly useable by the human body.

Eating a diet of whole foods is a terrific step toward good health and longevity. Whole food powders are an additional step, allowing you to have the nutrients from a huge variety of foods on a daily basis. The high alkalinity of whole food powders helps keep pH in the desirable range for immunity, cancer prevention, and general well being. When you don't have time to shop or you are at work or eating out, whole food powders are a way to give your body what it needs everyday.

Whole food powders made from organic ingredients provide the richest array of nutrients without exposing you to the most harmful pesticides or chemicals. Powders made with organic ingredients are best if large amounts of intense nutrition or cleansing are desired. If you do not have access to fresh organic foods, powders that contain them are the next best thing.


What to look for in a whole food powder

There are several whole food powders on the market. Evaluate them carefully before making a decision:

  • Each serving should provide the antioxidant power of at least nine or more fruits and vegetables

  • Look for powders containing super greens, enzymes and probiotics.

  • A powder that contains substantial amounts of a few components is offering you more than one with miniscule amounts of many components.

  • If you are taste sensitive, (most of us are) look for a powder you can consume as it is, one that has taken taste into consideration in the blending of components.

  • Don't plan to add yogurt or any other milk product to your whole food powder. The cancer preventive carotenoids bind with milk protein rendering them useless to the body.

  • Pick a price point you know you will be able to stick with for the long haul.

  • Go organic if your budget allows, but remember that conventional whole food powers are a whole lot better than no whole food powders.

These make great additions to a whole food powder

Here is a look at some of the components that make a powder really special and worth what you will pay.

*Barley Grass - Has 30 times more Vitamin B1 and 11 times the amount of calcium than in cow's milk, six times as much beta carotene and nearly five times the iron content of spinach, close to seven times the Vitamin C in oranges, four times the Vitamin B1 in whole wheat flour, and 80 micrograms of Vitamin B12 per 100 grams of dried barley plant juice. Extremely alkalinizing. Has high levels of chlorophyll for detoxification, and increases the amount of oxygen transported in the blood.

*Chlorella - Cultured algae that reduces fat cell accumulation and increases energy production to help burn accumulated fat. Contains chlorella growth factor for tissue repair and regeneration, cleansing chlorophyll and anti-aging nucleic acid. A complete food that provides all known nutrients including rare trace minerals. Can reverse degenerative disease and is an excellent body cleanser and detoxifier.

*Spirulina - 60% of this algae is highly digestible vegetable protein. Loaded with cancer-stopping beta carotene, Vitamin B 12, trace minerals, the rare essential fatty acid GLA, polysaccharides, and the blue pigment phycocyanin. Has tremendous antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.

*Cruciferous vegetables- Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and  Brussels sprouts. Rich in Vitamins A, B, C, E and K, and the critical minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and iron. Also omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. Contains glucosinolates that fight and prevent cancer by enhancing the elimination of carcinogens before they can damage DNA and by altering cell signaling pathways in a manner that helps prevent normal cells from being transformed into cancerous cells. Promotes proper metabolism of estrogen.

*Carrots and Parsley - High amounts of beta carotene (pro Vitamin A) and Vitamin C known to prevent many diseases. A treasure chest of flavonoids that neutralize free radicals to slow aging, and volatile oils that help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). Recently shown to stop lung cancer. Protects against heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

*Cinnamon- A fabulous source of manganese so needed for bone and connective tissue health. A component of super oxide dismutase (SOD), one of the powerful antioxidants made by the body. Anti-clotting, anti-microbial and renown for its ability to regulate blood sugar by lessening the impact of high carbohydrate foods. Boosts brain function, colon health and protects against heart disease.

*Milk Thistle - By exerting a protective effect on the liver, milk thistle through its major component silymarin prevents damage from compounds that are normally highly toxic and promotes liver health for fat burning. Promotes the repair of liver cells and speeds the regeneration of new cells. A natural anti-depressant and stimulator of bile production to prevent gall stones. May raise the body's glutathoine levels by as much as 30%.

*Kelp- A great source of the iodine missing in food grown in depleted soil. Valuable in overcoming poor digestion, preventing breast cancer, overcoming goiter, and rebuilding and maintaining proper function of all glands. Essential to proper thyroid function.

*Enzymes - Bromelain, Papain, Protease, Amylase, Lipase, Cellulase, Lactase. The digestive system, immune system, blood stream, liver, kidneys, spleen and pancreas all depend on enzymes. All minerals, vitamins and hormones need enzymes in order to work properly. Every metabolic function is governed by enzymes. Digestion, stamina, energy and immunity are controlled by enzymes.

*Probiotics - Friendly bacteria that support those living in the intestinal tract. Form the backbone of the immune system and aid digestion. Antibiotics, chlorinated water, pesticides used in food production and the toxins of modern living make supplemental probiotics essential to continued health.

*Stevia - Its sweetness can make your powder more palatable. An age old natural zero calorie sweetener from a member of the sunflower family.  Studies have shown that stevia is effective as a weight loss aid, and normalizes blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Stevia is anti-bacterial, and reduces symptoms of chronic fatigue, indigestion, diabetes, heartburn, upset stomach, colds and flu, gingivitis, tooth decay, dandruff and hair loss, brittle bones, Candida, dermatitis, eczema, wrinkles, and blemishes.

What to watch out for 

Spinach, berries, cherries and lecithin are frequently found in whole food powers, but powders containing them should not be bought unless these items are clearly denoted as organic. While each is a source of nutrition, conventionally grown spinach, berries and cherries are on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list. This means they are likely to contain high levels of one or more pesticide. Lecithin comes from soy and almost all of the soy produced in the U.S. today has been genetically modified. If you are going conventional, avoid whole food powers that contain these ingredients.

See Also:

Supercharge Your Health for Pennies a Day by Making Your Own Superfood Powder Blend

About the Author:

Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.

See other articles by the Barbara Minton here:

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