You have heard of Greens powders … but what about Reds powders? In today’s world, there are less red superfood products than green superfood products available, but that does not mean they are any less important! There are many benefits to utilizing a Reds powder (some of which you can’t get from greens) to help you improve your results and most importantly… long term health and wellness.
In this blog, I want to take the time to answer the question, “what are reds supplements”… why people are talking about them… what ingredients to look for… the most common benefits of reds supplements… and help you gain a better understanding if you should use a reds superfood supplement.
Why are Red Superfoods Important?
That’s a great question! Reds are just as important as greens. What I mean by that is that fruits and vegetables are crucial aspects to a good nutrition plan and promoting overall health and wellness. Both fruits… and vegetables… are important because they provide your body with different micronutrients and phytonutrients that your body can use to carry out daily tasks.
As you go throughout your day your body constantly has to defend itself from the environment. Defending against contaminants in the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food that you eat. Your body also has to defend it’s self against the havoc that prolonged periods of stress, as well as strenuous workouts, can have on your body. Not to mention any consumption of toxins such as alcohol, highly processed foods, or smoking.
In the case of reds, and reds superfood powders, the compounds that make up the bright and vibrant colors of these fruits and some vegetables give your body a broad spectrum of different antioxidants to help fortify your body’s defense systems. These powerful antioxidants help to fight off free radicals and oxidative stress that can have a wide range of negative effects on your body.
Two of the most notable and talked about phytonutrient categories of reds superfood powders are called polyphenols and carotenoids.
Benefits of Reds Superfood Powders
There are quite a few benefits you will receive from using a high-quality reds superfood powder as part of your nutrition plan. In this blog, I want to focus on a few of the main benefits.
1) Rich in Antioxidants – Reds superfood powers are loaded with powerful antioxidants that can help neutralize free radicals and fight disease. Free radicals are unstable compounds that form as a result of factors like stress, pollution, and an unhealthy diet. They can build up in the body and cause damage to your cells inhibiting your body to operate effectively.
2) Improved Heart health and blood flow – This happens by helping to increase the stability of nitric oxide in the bloodstream by neutralizing harmful free radicals that can destroy nitric oxide. By improving and promoting healthy nitric oxide levels it can improve blood flow throughout the body and brain. This improved blood flow helps to improve performance during exercise and “activity” ; ), cognitive function, blood pressure regulation, and more.
3) Weight management – The phytonutrients and antioxidants from reds powder will help decrease inflammation and increase healthy cellular activity. This can produce an increase in overall metabolism and calorie expenditure for the day. Helping to aid in both fat loss and proper weight management.
4) Healthy Aging – Early aging can happen for a variety of reasons but primarily happens from damage caused to cells from free radicals. Therefore, by using a reds superfood product that helps reduce free radicals and improve cellular health you can reduce the signs of aging.
5) Improved Energy Levels – While this won’t be the type of energy you feel from slamming a strong cup of coffee… when you increase healthy cellular activity and improve metabolism you will also help boost natural energy levels.
What are polyphenols?
As mentioned earlier, polyphenols are one of the major factors in why a reds superfood powder is beneficial to the human body.
Polyphenols are a category of chemicals that naturally occur in plants. There are more than 500 unique polyphenols. These compounds give a plant its color and can help to protect it from various dangers. When you eat plants with polyphenols, you reap the health benefits of them as well.
So like I said, the vegetables and particularly the fruits you eat tend to be the best sources of polyphenols. But, not all fruits and vegetables you consume are the same! The number of polyphenols in food can vary depending what type of food it is, where the food is grown, how it is farmed and transported, how ripe it is, and how it is cooked or prepared.
Many of the health benefits associated with polyphenols are related to their role as antioxidants inside the body. Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage from free-radicals that occur with pollution, smoking, drinking, stress, a diet high in processed foods, a byproduct of normal metabolism, and more.
Polyphenols have also been associated with other health benefits such as weight regulation, increasing insulin sensitivity, more balanced blood sugar, reducing inflammation, and even helping to reduced blood clot formation.
Types of polyphenols:
There are four groups of polyphenols that are found in different food sources. From a chemistry standpoint, polyphenols all have similar ring-shaped structures. But if you know what you are looking at, you can tell them apart by the number of rings and the other molecules attached to those rings… but for 99.999% of us, all we really need to know or care about is that there are 4 main types and we need to make an effort to get them all every day:
Flavonoids are a group of polyphenols that work as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Flavonoids are found in a wide variety of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, red wine, and green tea. Flavonoids are also sometimes called “bioflavonoids.”
Stilbenes are a small group of plant chemicals and resveratrol is probably the best-known and the most studied of them. Resveratrol is found in red wine, blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts. Consuming these foods has been linked to better heart health.
Today, resveratrol is believed to be one of the most potent polyphenols and strongest protectors against symptoms associated with aging and free radical damage. Another key feature of resveratrol as a powerful antioxidant is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect the brain, nervous system, and improve overall cognitive health.
Lignans are found in legumes, cereals, grains, fruits, algae, and some vegetables. The best sources include flax and sesame seeds.
Lignans have been reported to support healthy hormonal levels, particularly testosterone and estrogen, as well as help improve heart health. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to eat a lot of lignans unless you take them as dietary supplements or enjoy slamming spoonfuls of flax seeds.
Phenolic acids include compounds found in coffee, tea, grapes, red wine, berries, kiwi fruits, plums, apples, and cherries. Phenolic acids are beneficial to your health because they work as antioxidants that prevent cellular damage due to free-radical oxidation reactions. They can also promote a strong anti-inflammatory response in your body when you eat or supplement with them regularly.
How do I get polyphenols into my diet?
The best way to get in your daily dose of polyphenols is by incorporating plenty of foods with polyphenols into your diet. You will hear us say it time and time again, whole foods first. Yes, we make a phenomenal reds superfood powder, Opti-Reds 50 that is rich in polyphenols, but even in supplementing with Opti-Reds 50 you should still make an effort to include high-quality fruits and vegetables into your daily nutrition.
What are carotenoids?
As mentioned earlier, polyphenols and carotenoids are two major reasons why a reds superfood powder is beneficial to the human body. We covered polyphenols in more detail… now let’s jump into more specifics on carotenoids.
Carotenoids are plant pigments (natural chemical compounds) responsible for bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables. These pigments play an important role in plant health. People who eat foods containing carotenoids get protective health benefits as well.
There are more than 600 different carotenoids in existence. These different carotenoids have various uses and benefits inside your body!
As a whole, carotenoids have strong antioxidant capabilities. This is why we associate superfoods high in these nutrients with fighting inflammation, limiting free radicals, slowing the aging process, and helping to protect your body from the environment while boosting your immune system.
Type of carotenoids:
As stated above, there are over 600 different carotenoids in existence but here are three that you may have already heard about and the huge benefits they provide!
Beta-carotene (β-carotene) and A-carotene (α-Carotene)
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Beta-carotene and A-carotene are both found in foods like squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, and carrots. Studies have found that beta-carotene foods have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Beta-carotene may also help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess fat around the waist. In the carotenoid family, beta-carotene is one of the strongest and most beneficial!
Lutein and zeaxanthin are interesting and important for sure! Fun fact, these carotenoids are the only two that are found in the retina and lens of the human eye. This is why they’re accredited with improving eye health and protecting vision for humans of all ages! They can be found in foods like spinach, carrots, kale, turnip greens, brussels sprouts, summer squash, pumpkin, paprika, yellow-fleshed fruits, and avocado.
Lycopene is responsible for the color of watermelons, tomatoes, guavas, and grapefruit. It is a very strong antioxidant and one of the best at deactivating harmful free radicals in your body. If this phytonutrient sounds familiar, you most likely have heard about it in regards to helping lower the risk of disease and prostate cancer. There have been many studies done based around that. Other good sources of lycopene include papaya, carrots, asparagus, red cabbage, red bell peppers, and parsley.
How do I get carotenoids into my diet?
The best way to get in your daily dose of carotenoids is by incorporating plenty of foods with them into your diet…. sound familiar 🙂 … once again it is the truth. Yes, there are awesome supplements like Opti-Reds 50 that are great sources of carotenoids, but even in supplementing with it you should still make an effort to include high-quality fruits and vegetables into your daily nutrition.
Will reds superfoods benefit me?
The quick answer, yes.
Now, let me break that down a little bit. As you just read, we believe the basis of results and overall health is a solid nutrition plan. Eating fruits and vegetables should be a staple of that nutrition plan. With that said though, you most likely can still benefit from using a reds superfood supplement. How… why…?
It comes down to a few things. As stated above, a primary benefit of eating your fruits and vegetables comes from the polyphenols and carotenoids you will ingest. Unfortunately, though, studies show that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than the ones we eat today.
One of the main reasons is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Now there are certainly other factors that play a role in this as well, but we’re not going to get into that here.
The simple truth is that our fruits and veggies are simply less nutritious than years ago, and it’s only getting worse. Which means there is a strong case that you need to consume more of them to get the same benefit.
Then as stated above, how the fruits and veggies are harvested… transported… and prepared will all have an impact on the amount of nutrients, polyphenols, and carotenoids you are actually getting when you consume them.
Now, the final point is diversity. Diversity of nutrients that is. There are over 500 different polyphenols and over 600 carotenoids that will all have some sort of role or benefit inside your body. Therefore even if you do a great job of eating 3… 4… 5 different kinds of fruits a day… they will not have the diversity of phytonutrients that a high-quality reds superfood supplement will.
Which speaking of eating fruit… that brings up another great point… how much fruit do you actually eat in a day? If you are like most people, you actually limit your fruit intake.
If you’re tracking your macros or following a low carb or ketogenic diet, you don’t want the carbohydrates or sugars. Other reasons for low consumption of fruit is that they can be more expensive at the store (especially if they are not in season) or you travel often and don’t want them to go to waste in the refrigerator. Either way, as a society we tend to under eat fruits, which means we are deficient in nutrients found in various types of fruit.
So while having a quality nutrition plan, that includes fruits and vegetables, should be the foundation of your plan there is still certainly good reason to supplement it with a high-quality reds superfood powder on a daily basis. A reds superfood supplement is not a fruits replacement, instead, it gives your body the phytonutrients, polyphenols, and carotenoids that you don’t get on a regular basis like those found in goji berries, acai berries, pomegranate, bilberry, and more!
What’s the difference between a Greens powder and a Reds powder?
Great question and one that we get asked often. The difference simply comes down to the difference in the ingredients that make up the product, because the ingredients are what will give you the nutrients, and ultimately the benefits of using that type of product. Sure there are some other differences such as taste, reds powders typically being a little sweeter which makes sense because fruits are typically sweeter than vegetables. Other differences can include texture and mixability.
From the standpoint of results and overall health, the difference is very much based around the actual ingredients. As you read above, there are over 500 different polyphenols and over 600 carotenoids which are types of phytonutrients. There are THOUSANDS of phytonutrients and while they are not essential to keep you alive like macro and micronutrients, there is no denying the huge positive impact phytonutrients have on your health, wellness, and results.
All of these thousands of phytonutrients work together in synergy. The more variety you consume, the better they work inside your body and thus the better the benefit. It’s like taking vitamin c, one of the most important and used micronutrients inside the body. If you take it by itself, good…. but the benefits and effects of vitamin c are even greater when taken in conjunction with other essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs.
So, the difference between greens powders and reds powders comes down to the different nutrients and benefits they will give your body!
Can you take greens and reds together?
Yes, you can and they will compliment each other well as they work synergistically together to help you look and feel your very best! You will even find that there is some overlap in ingredients. Meaning a reds superfood product will most likely also have some greens and other colored fruits and vegetables in it as well.
You might be wondering, if you can take them together, why not make one big super product containing all the greens and reds? And I am glad you asked. However, there are a few downsides to this. Since high quality, raw ingredients, that are actually bioavailable (meaning your body can use it effectively) are expensive… most of the time these combination products are of a lower quality because they use cheaper ingredients to keep costs down.
The other side of it is that many greens, reds, or combination powders are under-dosed. Using smaller amounts of ingredients so that it can be claimed on the label, but unfortunately might not have enough of that ingredient to deliver the results you are wanting from taking the supplement in the first place. Leading to wasted time, money, and frustration.
That is why we formulated both Opti-Greens 50 and Opti-Reds 50 separately. We don’t formulate products based off price. We formulate and produce them to be the most effective and best supplement in that category to help get the benefits of taking that type of product.
Plus, not everyone needs both a greens superfood powder and a reds superfood powder. Or there might simply be other supplements that would help them more before adding in both reds and greens to their plan. So by having greens and reds separated, there is more versatility in how you use these products alongside other supplements to help support your nutrition plan and lifestyle.
A Personal Trainers Thoughts On Reds Superfood Powders
In a very very simple layout, here is how I look at reds superfood powders for myself and helping my clients. I look at Micro Factor (a daily essential vitamin pack) as the foundation of supplements as it delivers your daily essential nutrients. Then I look at adding in Opti-Greens 50 to help with digestion and gut health to help ensure that your body can better process and utilize the foods AND supplements you consume. As well as the countless benefits of greens supplement from a phytonutrient standpoint. Then I look at adding in Opti-Reds 50 to diversify the phytonutrients I am consuming and ensuring I am not missing out on the powerful benefits of polyphenols, carotenoids, resveratrol, and more!
That way my clients know where to start with supplementation, what to add in next if they start with one or two of those products, and if they want to start with all three they know how they synergistically work together. Like I said though, this is a very basic and general layout.
If you want to go over your plan, goals, and lifestyle specifically please reach out! We have a team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist who will help you out for free!
Summary of Reds Superfood Powders
As you have read, there are hundreds of… thousands of phytonutrients that help our body in various ways. All of those different nutrients and classifications of nutrients like polyphenols and carotenoids work synergistically together to protect your body from environmental, physical, and internal stress.
These strong antioxidants in reds superfood powders help reduce inflammation, deactivate harmful free radicals, improve heart health and blood flow, slow the aging process, increase natural energy levels, and will even help with a healthy metabolism and weight management!
Because the phytonutrients you receive are so diverse and they do various things in your body, a reds superfood powder can be a beneficial product for almost every individual. Young… old… active… sedentary… in shape.. out of shape… or getting into shape… doesn’t matter, the phytonutrients in a reds superfood powder along with a good nutrition plan will have a favorable impact on their body all the way down at a cellular level to help them look and feel their very best.
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.