They go way beyond whey.
But before you sprinkle with abandon: “Powders are not well regulated,” says Tamara Duker Freuman, R.D., a New York City-based nutritionist. One report found that only five of 11 tested products met quality standards; others contained lead, arsenic, or bacteria (eek). And some products don’t live up to their claims. Confused yet? Let us help. Here are six types that’ll rev up everything from your energy levels to your love life.
The calcium-rich, malt-flavored Peruvian root is good for bones—and, possibly, for helping you bone. One study found that around half a teaspoon a day for 12 weeks helped women on antidepressants get their sexual mojo back. But beware: Too much may raise blood pressure or mess with your liver, says Duker Freuman.
You’ve heard about cocoa’s heart-healthy flavonols, but it’s also a super source of fiber—one tablespoon has more fiber than half a cup of brown rice—and magnesium, a mood-elevating mineral. Go for regular or raw but not “Dutch process” or “alkalized”—those treatments slash its flavonol content.
One teaspoon of this sweet-tart dust has the same inflammation-fighting prowess as many more common berries. Plus, the Amazonian powder delivers amino acids for repairing muscles post-workout, as well as fatty acids that give your mood and brain a lift. Buying tip: Look for freezedried, ground acai sans added sweeteners.
Yes, it’s made with insect spit, but (stay with us!) bee pollen is worth its buzz. It tastes lightly floral and boasts ample protein, energizing B vitamins, and leucine, a metabolism sparker that shows promise as a fat burner. The only thing not to love? If you’re allergic to pollen, you must steer clear.
The ground pulp of this African tree fruit has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food. “Plus, it’s an amazing source of solublefiber (one tablespoon has more than an entire pear), and a solid defense against constipation,” says Duker Freuman. The palatable citrus taste doesn’t hurt either. Bonus: A high pectin content makes it a great thickener.
This powdered freshwater algae is seriously swimming with perks—we’re talking almost 10 times more iron than spinach, four grams of protein per tablespoon, and through-the-roof levels of immune-system-strengthening vitamin A. While the slight fishy flavor can turn some people off, don’t fret, says McKel Hill, R.D., a Nashville dietitian: It typically disappears when mixed with food.