The Green Smoothie
1 – Maintains a Healthy Digestive System
Unlike juices, smoothies contain fibre as the whole product is used. This provides a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre, soluble fibre slows the breakdown of complex carbs, such as starch, into simple sugars, such as glucose, thereby slowing the absorption of sugar and possible lead to reduced levels of sugar in the blood. Insoluble fibre is not absorbed or digested by the body and is found in seeds, pulses and the skins of fruits and vegetables, because of this it encourages regular bowel movements and helps keep the gastrointestinal tract clean.
2 – Provides Energy
There’s a huge misconception and confusion regarding carbohydrates, ( read our post which explains this more here.) They’re essential for the body and provide a lot of the energy and nutrients we need. Complex carbohydrates are the ones we want to look for and found in the fruits and vegetables included in green smoothies. These carbs provide energy for all the body’s activities, they’re also necessary for building the non-essential amino acids that the body uses to create proteins.
3 – Encourages Raw Eating
If you’re not a fan of raw vegetables this is a quick and easy way of getting a variety into your diet without having to eat and taste each individually, it means you get the nutrients as fresh as you can get them.
4 – Keeps The Body Hydrated
The body is made up of 50-75% water, and when it becomes dehydrated a number of symptoms occur. The most obvious is feeling thirsty, however this is one of the last alerts the body sends out to signify its loss of water. Headaches, constipation, darker urine, fine lines in the skin and more are some of the other symptoms of dehydration that often get confused for another issue.
Smoothies include water as well as the natural water from the fruits and vegetables so overall it is increasing the body’s levels, and has been known to improve concentration and performance.
5 – Cleanses The Body And Feeds The Skin
You’ve seen those highly priced detox juicing plans, basically you can create the same from your own home. Instead if pressing juices and loosing the all important fibre you can make a smoothie and gain similar benefits. They provide the organs with energy and nourishments they need to function healthily, cleansing from within to keep the body in optimal condition and as a result the skin benefits too. The amino acids we spoke about earlier are also important for the appearance of the skin as they help provide the structure and stimulate cells, when they break down we see fine lines. The vitamins and minerals found in green smoothies also independently work with the skin improving texture, plumpness and radiance.
What do I include?
These are the basics but sometimes I’ll add more or switch depending what’s available in the house.
- Small green apple – This is the only fruit I add, a lot of fruits contain lots of natural sugars which can bump up calories especially fruits like bananas.
- Celery – Good source of fibre, vitamins A + K
- Broccoli – Great source of protein, fibre and packed with Folic Acid, A,B6,C and Vitamin K
- Spinach – Rich in Vitamins K,A, Iron and Folate to name a few. This is an incredible anti-inflammatory plant based food. The high folic acid is perfect for those trying to conceive or pregnant.
- Cucumber – Contains silica, (which is good for joints) anti-inflammatory and contains lots of vitamins.
- Water – I use regular tap water, it’s cost effective and doesn’t bother me. If you need something with more taste try coconut water. I stay away from milk, soy or not because it creates an unusual taste with the rest of the ingredients and thickens up the smoothie too much. I keep my cows milk to an absolute minimum as it’s not essential in our diets, and the hormones can contribute towards acne.
- Spirulina – A dense superfood and anti-oxidant, incredible for the skin but has a very distinctive taste, one that might take getting used to. Considered an algae it’s actually a cyanobacteria, its difference lies in the chlorophyll, they use the sun as an energy source, in the way plants and algae do. High in protein, rich in iron and packed with B-1, B-2, B-3,B-6,B-9, Vitamin A,C,D,E,K vitamins and is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc, this really does deserve its superfood status. It contains 8 different amino acids and provides more calcium than milk!
- Honey – I use less than a teaspoon, purely for taste.You may want to miss this entirely as it high in carbs and calories but is known to possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
- Cinnamon – Known to be anti-bacterial and helps with stomach bugs and cold/flu symptoms. It has studies to suggest it lowers blood sugar levels.
I may also add…
- Avocado – Rich in in fatty acids, which improve the contain of the skin, nails and hair. More potassium than a banana and fibre. Avocados also provide a creamier texture if you’re wanting a thicker smoothie without using dairy.
- Kale – This is amongst the most nutrient dense foods in existence, loaded with anti-oxidants and more vitamin C than an orange! It is very low in calorie but provides a good source of protein and fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals. There’s no wonder it has gained cult status.