The Best Superfood Powders for Athletes

Superfood powders are referred to as "super" for a reason: They're nutrient-dense.

The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other healthy micronutrients found in these powders are left intact during the processing or freeze-dry process. Those nutrients may prevent cell damage and reduce oxidative stress in the body. They may also boost energy levels and support the immune system. Because they're in powder form, they're easy to mix in water, smoothies and sauces, or incorporate into your favorite dishes.

Keep these superfood powders on your radar:

"Greens" Powders

Green drinks are most than just a trend. "Greens" powders are considered powerhouse supplements. They typically include ingredients such as berry extracts, barley, alfalfa, wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, algae, ginger and other grasses and greens.

The chlorophyll found in these greens will help remove damaging toxins from the body, which can aid athletic performance. Similar to fresh greens, these young grasses and algae are known for their strong oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score. This score is the strength behind the powder's ability to fight free radicals.

More: Top 10 Superfoods for Endurance Athletes

When purchasing a green powder, choose organic and one that has at least 50 percent greens. This leaves room for a few add-ins, such as probiotics, berry blends and digestive enzymes. Look for and avoid synthetic fillers such as soy lecithin, which may result in fewer greens in your cup. Avoid any product with artificial sweeteners, flavors or processed sugars.

More: Get Most of Your Vitamins From Real Food

"Reds" Powders

When reading labels for "reds" powders, you may find ingredients like berry extracts (e.g., strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, acai, gogi) and pomegranate, beets and carrots. Similar to greens powders, reds powders are nutritional powerhouses. They contain an abundance of phytonutrients, antioxidants and polyphenols, which can decrease inflammation, boost energy and improve bone health.

More: 6 Superfoods to Boost Your Endurance

The anthocyanins, which give berries their red, blue and purple color, are the all-stars found in reds powders. Athletes may get an extra boost from resveratrol found in these red fruits and vegetables. Resveratrol has been shown to boost muscle endurance by increasing the energy-producing components within muscle cells.

Note: Greens and reds powders aren't magic bullets. Just because you add them to your diet doesn't mean you can stop eating the whole, real versions of the foods.

More: Summer's Best Superfoods

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