Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vegetable powders

I’ve searched the site, but I didn’t see anything regarding vegetable powders. I work offshore, and the supply of fresh vegetables can be slim. Is there a vegetable powder that you would recommend taking? Are there negative side effects to taking these?

Vegetable powders are a serviceable hold over for situations where fresh produce is scarce.
There is some nutrient loss during dehydration, usually among the vitamins. Minerals and polyphenols are fairly stable, the latter less so if high heat is used (since they’re often there to protect the plant from oxidative insults, like heat). But even slightly-degraded vegetable-based micronutrition is superior to none of it.
They do help people who need the extra dose of micronutrients, though:
Obese people and heavy smokers tend to be under a lot of oxidative stress, so they have a greater need for plant micronutrients, particularly the phytonutrients which often act as antioxidants that counter the stress (or boost our own antioxidant defenses). You’re neither obese nor a heavy smoker (to my knowledge), but you are deprived of plant nutrients.
There are dozens of options out there. I don’t know enough about individual products to elevate any single product over the others. Sure, there may be some proprietary methods that “preserve the maximum antioxidant capacity,” but I suspect they’re all pretty good, as most of the ones I’ve seen use relatively low heat to dehydrate the veggies.
I’ve heard good things about the Amazing Grass line of powders. They include herbs, probiotics, and prebiotics along with the fruits and vegetables.
This looks cool, too: vegetable powders that you buy individually and mix yourself. Want a couple ounces of dried beets? You got it! How about leek flakes? They can do that.
I can’t think of any negative side effects, beyond a false sense of security. When a company claims that a single scoop of their product equals 10 servings of vegetables, but a quick review of the nutrition facts fails to show vitamin, fiber, and mineral levels that even approach 10 servings’ worth, the claim is false and you shouldn’t assume that you’ve just eaten an entire head of broccoli (or whatever vegetable is advertised). These powders are a holdover (when you can’t get any real stuff) or a supplement (when you want to add more to your regular diet). They aren’t magic.
Definitely consider vegetable powders if that’s your only option.

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