If you’re looking to boost your health you should look into using some freeze-dried plant powders. Especially if you’ve been avoiding certain foods that aren’t your favourite. (Kale, anyone?). Or if you have limited access to fresh options like acai berries or wild blueberries.
Which, I for one, have never seen in my supermarket. Have you?
Dried fruit and vegetable powders serve as an excellent top-up but should never replace fresh plant foods. They simply offer a convenient and versatile way to enhance your fruit and veggie intake year-round.
First, let’s talk about their nutrient retention. While this can vary, freeze-dried powders can generally preserve a very good portion of the nutrients found in their fresh counterparts.
Vitamins: Freeze-drying stands out as one of the best methods for preserving vitamins in fruits and vegetables. Typically, these powders retain the majority of their original vitamin content.
Minerals: Most minerals also remain intact during the freeze-drying process. You’ll find impressive levels of potassium, magnesium, and calcium in most of these powders.
Antioxidants: Many antioxidants, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, are exceptionally well-preserved in freeze-dried powders. During the process of turning them into powders, the cellular structure is ‘broken’ making the antioxidants easier to absorb. Plus the nutrients stay more stable in the dried product. This is why researchers studying the health benefits of antioxidants prefer working with these powders.
Unlike fresh produce, they don’t spoil at a mere glance.
Phytonutrients: Freeze-dried powders retain many phytonutrients, which offer various health benefits. These compounds add to the powders’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Then we’ve got Enzymes: While some of the enzymatic activity is lost during freeze-drying, many of them remain active when rehydrated.
Let’s check out some of the more commonly used freeze-dried plant powders:
Spinach Powder & Kale Powder 🍃
Spinach offers incredible nutrition, although it does have higher oxalate levels compared to kale. Oxalates are antinutrients that can hinder some of the mineral absorption.
If someone has a history of kidney stones or concerns about oxalates, kale’s a better choice. However, for most of us, the oxalate levels in spinach, especially baby spinach or cooked spinach, aren’t a major concern. They can still be part of a balanced diet. When it comes to green powders, spinach powder has quite a mild taste.
Remember, variety is key. Therefore, you can enjoy both green leafy veg.
But since not everyone enjoys eating the tough kale leaves, a top-up powder might be the solution. This way you won’t miss out on its important health benefits.
Kale is packed with antioxidants that combat troublesome free radicals.
Just one teaspoon of kale powder is roughly equivalent to about one cup of fresh kale leaves. It provides you with a concentrated source of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K, and fibre. It’s quite strong tasting but you only need a small amount.
Beetroot Powder 🍠: One of my personal favourites! It’s fantastic in hummus, overnight oats, and smoothies. Beetroot powder is rich in healthy plant nitrates, known to enhance athletic performance and promote heart health. It contains glutamine for better digestion, and betalain which helps to reduce cell and DNA damage. It may even lower blood sugar and help kidney function.
Sounds like a very useful powder. Plus, it adds a vibrant colour to everything!
Carrot Powder 🥕: It’s very high in beta-carotene, which is important for eye health. And it gives your immune system an extra boost. It has a lovely sweet flavour, making it a great addition to soups, porridge, smoothies, dips, stews, and sauces.
Broccoli Powder 🥦: A nutritional powerhouse from the cruciferous family, it promotes detoxification and provides a generous dose of vitamin C. Additionally, it serves as an excellent source of calcium, vitamin K, chromium, and folate. Broccoli powder is rich in antioxidants that protect cells from damage, which otherwise can lead to inflammation. Just 2-3 teaspoons can give you a similar health boost to 1 cup of cooked broccoli.
Blueberry Powder 🫐: One of my personal favorites! Freeze-drying these berries is one of the most effective methods for preserving their nutrients. About one tablespoon of blueberry powder equals a handful of fresh blueberries.
Due to the high amount of antioxidants in this fruit, blueberries offer numerous health benefits. They include potential prevention of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and even aiding in the fight against cancer.
But when it comes to blueberry powders, wild blueberries are the true superheroes. They contain even more active components like anthocyanins.
Most studies showing positive outcomes on blood sugar and weight loss have used wild blueberry powders.
Again, it’s one of the fruits that I cannot find in any supermarket. So the freeze-dried version comes in very handy.
Acai Berry Powder: Although not a ‘berry’ in its botanical sense, this superfruit is rich in heart-healthy fatty acids, and is also known to enhance overall vitality. Because fresh acai berries aren’t readily available I think the dried fruit or powders are a perfect substitute.
Imagine: just 1 teaspoon of acai berry powder provides nutrients equivalent to about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh berries. Their high antioxidant levels can protect our cells from oxidative stress and may even help to lower cholesterol levels.
So, seeing as the fresh ones aren’t around, again I just use the powder and dried fruit. When storing, place it into a very airtight container. Mine seems to clump up quickly. I only buy them in small bags so I can get through the powder before it becomes a hard mass.
Mango Powder 🥭: Mango powder is rich in vitamins A, C, and E. This freeze-dried plant powder is an interesting option that’s often less sweet than fresh ripe mangoes. There are various types available, including something that’s called Amchoor Mango powder. We are told it has a ‘dusty citrus. fragrance.
Although I don’t necessarily like the word ‘dusty; in the description, I believe it does have a lovely tropical fruit taste.
This powder is a rich source of antioxidants, supporting our immune health. While iron content may vary between brands, it’s generally a good source of this mineral. Mango powder is frequently used as a spice to add an exotic touch to dishes.
Pineapple Powder🍍: This fragrant tropical fruit contains bromelain, which is a digestive enzyme. Especially useful for digesting proteins. People even use bromelain topically, to remove dead skin from burns, and orally, to reduce inflammation and swelling — particularly of the nasal passages. It is also used to treat aching muscles and osteoarthritis pain.
Looks as if it could be a very useful addition to anyone’s diet!
If nothing else, this sweet fruit powder can certainly add a very refreshing twist to your smoothies and overnight oats.
Although I’m not a big fan of fresh pineapples, I must admit that the powder is amazing in a smoothie.
Raspberry Powder: An excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants, this freeze-dried plant powder promotes gut health, eye health, and strong bones. It also helps combat inflammation, and some studies even suggest it may lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Despite its slightly tart nature, this powder adds a lovely fragrance and taste to various foods like protein smoothies and porridge.
Turmeric Powder 🧡:
You probably already know it for its famous anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a much-loved natural remedy for joint health and overall well-being. It’s a staple in my Golden Milk, and I always add a touch to my otherwise pale homemade silken tofu mayo or scrambled tofu recipe. It really gives them a lovely vibrant color.
Spirulina Powder 🌊:
This green algae offers unique nutrients with antioxidants that boost energy and support our immune system. However, please check out the possible side effects. Ensure it’s grown in controlled environments to avoid heavy metals or toxins. Always read the product label to confirm it has been tested and is safe.
Chlorella Powder 🌱:
Another super algae, chlorella can aid the body in its detoxification processes and also promote a healthy gut flora. This green powder is known to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation.
It can even enhance your digestion, promote skin health, and boost your energy levels. So, …chlorella or spirulina…which is the better option? You can read more about it over here.
Wheatgrass Powder 🌾:
Here we have another popular green powder that can support the body’s detoxification processes. It contains various antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. However, its claim to fame lies in its chlorophyll content which gives it that vibrant green hue.
Chlorophyll is a bit ‘special’…It shares a similar molecular structure with haemoglobin in our blood, which means it can aid in increasing red blood cell production. This not only improves oxygen transport in the body but can also enhance the removal of waste products.
Wheatgrass powder benefits both liver and kidney health. And according to numerous articles, this freeze-dried plant powder can potentially enhance your digestion, skin health, energy levels, and mental clarity.
Last but not least, we have Shiitake Powder🍄:
Shiitake mushrooms have been a part of traditional medicine for centuries. As all freeze-dried plant powders provide a more concentrated benefit compared to a handful of fresh produce, this is especially true when it comes to mushrooms. Shiitake are an excellent source of beta-glucans, which can boost your immune system, help regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce cholesterol. What’s more, they also impart a delicious, rich umami flavour to dishes that’s hard to resist.
I love adding it to many of my savoury meals.
As you can see, freeze-dried plant powders offer a convenient and nutritious way to augment your intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. They can help improve your health and well-being, and add a big splash of colour to your meals and drinks. But as long as you promise not to use them as a substitute for fresh produce, they will be a fabulous addition to your menu. 🙂