There’s no question that vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Countless studies have shown that a diet rich in vegetables is important for heart health, digestive health, eye health, skin health, and virtually every other aspect of human health. Yet vegetables don’t have to be eaten raw in order to bring value. In fact, dehydrated vegetables are an important part of the food system and allow access to nutrients for far longer than fresh produce. Some vegetables can even be made into a powder form that makes them useful for a variety of purposes.
What Is Vegetable Powder?
Essentially any vegetable (or fruit) can be made into a powder form. Though even a home cook could make a vegetable powder, it is a technique most often used by commercial food producers. In addition to being easy to store and transport, powder allows the shelf life of the vegetables to be extended without adding preservatives. The first step in the process is to remove most of the water from the veggies while retaining the flavor and nutrients. Then after various cleaning and sorting processes occur, the dried veggies are pulverized until only a powder remains.
Even though vegetable powder is primarily used in commercial applications, it is also recognizable as a dietary supplement in some health food spaces. In this context, the powder is sometimes referred to simply as “green powder” because of the fact that it tends to be derived from a dried greens blend that includes veggies like kale, spinach, and broccoli. This veggie powder is then usually mixed with water and sweeteners or other flavorings to make it more palatable.
What Can Vegetable Powder Be Used For?
Using vegetable powder as a dietary supplement is a popular way to get one’s recommended daily serving of vegetables and related micronutrients. Yet there are actually many other uses for vegetable powder that may not seem obvious. Below are some common uses for vegetable powder:
- Thickening agent: After being dehydrated and pulverized into a powder, vegetable powder can be a perfect thickening agent for soups, stews, or sauces. Using vegetable powder is generally a more healthy and flavorful way to thicken a dish compared to cornstarch or other thickening agents.
- Food coloring: Another major use for vegetable powder that many people don’t even realize is as a food coloring agent. In recent years, many synthetic food coloring solutions have fallen out of favor because of a growing desire for natural products. So instead of a chemical dye to make a cake a particular color, for instance, you might be able to use beet powder, spinach powder, carrot powder, or pumpkin powder.
- Ready meals: Vegetable powder is also useful as an ingredient in ready-to-eat meals and convenience foods. Multiple powders can be blended together in order to develop particular flavor profiles.
- Improve nutrient content: Vegetables are known to provide vital nutrients that are beneficial for human health and wellness. Incorporating vegetable powder into a recipe is a great way to add nutritional value and potential health benefits.
Health Benefits of Vegetable Powder
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average adult should be eating between two and four cups of vegetables each day. Since many people struggle to hit this daily mark from fresh vegetables, vegetable powder can be a way to get the same nutrients. The nutrients found in vegetables are important for the body’s regular functions, but they also provide a number of other health benefits:
- Digestive health: One of the most important benefits of vegetables, in powder form or otherwise, is the fiber content. Dietary fiber is essentially the indigestible parts of plants that helps promote bowel regularity as well as the production of beneficial digestive enzymes.
- Disease prevention: Vegetables also contain a number of compounds like vitamin A and vitamin C that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important because they improve immune system function and offer protection from free radicals. These small particles are a natural result of chemical reactions in the body, but when they build up they can cause oxidative stress. Antioxidants essentially absorb excess free radicals and can potentially avert the development of many diseases, including some types of cancer.
- Heart health: The fiber found in vegetables is also effective at promoting heart health because it has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol). Fiber, along with other nutrients like potassium, is also known to improve the function of blood vessels and keep blood pressure in a normal range.
- Weight loss: Vegetables are a natural fit for any weight loss plan in large part because vegetables are generally low in calories. By including a lot of vegetables in your diet, you can get your regular daily nutritional content in a way that is filling; the fiber content makes you feel full longer which can ultimately promote eating fewer calories.
Examples of Vegetable Powder Applications
Most vegetables are already fairly versatile and can be used in many types of cuisine and prepared in many different ways. When dried and made into a powder form, though, they become even more adaptable. Below are some common types of vegetable powder and examples of how they can be used:
- Kale powder: Kale has become increasingly popular over the years, and it is frequently used in powder form. In fact, because the flavor of kale is unappealing to many people, the powder is preferable because you get virtually all of the nutritional benefits. Kale powder can be used in smoothies, sauces, salad dressings, and even pet food products.
- Spinach powder: Spinach is another leafy green that is tremendously versatile when reduced to a powder. It can be used in pasta, bread, smoothies, and ready meals, but it can also work well as a food coloring agent.
- Onion powder: Onion powder is a classic spice that many people have in their kitchens, but it is also useful as an ingredient in countless ready meals, pasta mixes, salad dressings, and rice products.
- Tomato powder: Even though it’s technically a fruit, tomato is an ingredient that also works well as a powder in sauces, soups, rubs, or seasoning blends.
- Broccoli powder: Broccoli is naturally loaded with nutrients, and they are virtually all retained even when made into a powder. Broccoli powder can be used in smoothies, salad products, soups, stews, and snack products.
- Mushroom powder: Mushroom powder is sometimes sold as a dietary supplement, but it also can be a nutritional add-on to sauce and gravy mixes, pasta products, meats and sausages, and salad products.
Silva: Your Source for Dehydrated Vegetable Products
Vegetables are an important part of any diet, but their nutritional benefits remain even when made into a powder form. Vegetable powders like those offered by Silva are a great way to add flavor and nutrients to almost any food product. At Silva, we are passionate about providing high quality ingredients, and we also work with you to develop new products that meet your customers’ needs. To learn more about any of our powdered products, please contact us today.