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Top tips and ingredients for your green smoothies
WRITTEN BY HEIDI HAUER
Just like any other industry, the health and well-being sector isn’t immune to trends, media hypes, fashions and PR. Health crazes are particularly potent, with weird and wonderful eating regimes regularly coming into the mainstream to try.
Right now, we have the mega popular smoothie or acai bowls, decorated with endless different ‘superfoods’ to layer as a topping.
Eating your blended fruits and veggies is now the new drinking. But before the bowls, it was the humble green smoothie! Not as pretty or dramatic to look at, but claimed to be an excellent boost to our overall health and energy.
So is that all the smoothie is good for?… Aa ‘boost’? A limited addition to our health regime that has had its time in the spotlight?
While green smoothies can be used as a quick-fix solution to upgrade our nutrition, their impact on our long-term health is far from being temporary, despite what health fashions come and go in the health and wellbeing market. Why?
Green smoothies are a simple, fast and effective way to deeply nourish the body.
The body’s need for nutritious food never goes out of fashion. Consistently ensuring we get a sufficient intake of vibrant green and nutrient-dense plant-based foods means our body will always thank us, no matter if we choose to put them in a bowl or a glass. For me, green smoothies will always be a staple in my diet.
5 tips to get the most from your smoothie
Blend your smoothie in the morning
A green smoothie is an excellent way to start a busy work day. Yes, it can be tempting to persuade ourselves we don’t have time, but we always make space to do the things that we deem important. Starting the day prioritising our health is the ultimate long-term investment.
While the numerous smoothie bars that are on the high-street are an alluring pull, when we blend at home we have total control of what goes into our drink. Most of the time, the smoothie chains make their blends on the sweet side, packing them with fruits instead of vegetables, to get them off the shelves more easily.
Make it a spiritual practice
Nourishing our body is an active form of self-love, but we can create an even deeper experience by being fully present in our day-to-day life. Use the time while making your smoothie to also boost your emotional and spiritual well-being.
Play some meditative or relaxing music; recite some positive affirmations; listen to an inspiring podcast; or even choose to sing! Do whatever feels right for you in that very moment that will help you feel like you’re enjoying each moment that passes.
Follow a formula and your intuition!
This formula balances the flavour and contents of your smoothie.
Use this as a starting point, but listen to your body and give it what you think it needs. Using your intuition creates a tailor-made nutritional plan, and ensures you don’t repeat the same smoothie all the time as diversity is the key to optimal nutrition.
Keep it fresh & local where possible
Superfoods from the Amazon can be an amazing health addition, but never underestimate the power of local, in-season produce. Eating with the seasons in the country that you live in is a reliable way to consume produce when it’s at its best while mirroring the natural seasons that happen in your body.
For super busy people, my number one tip is booking a fresh home delivery from a local supplier on a Wednesday morning or evening. This is a great addition to a weekend trip to the grocery store to get fresh produce for the week.
To make your smoothie as fresh as can be, make sure you consume it within 2-3 hours after blending. If you have some extra from your morning blend, decant it into a dark container (to prevent oxidation), and finish it as a 10am boost when you need a kick of energy.
See it as an incredible investment
I can never say it too often: investing in your health is never wasted time, money or energy. Following the steps I’ve shared above will help you see your smoothie regime as a joyful part of your day and not a chore, which in turn will inspire more mindful living and eating choices in other areas of your life.
We’ve covered key investments such as time, presence and produce, but the final thing to cover is an investment in equipment!
Sourcing a high-powered blender will ensure all your greens, nuts and more robust ingredients get fully broken down for easier absorption and digestion. This will stop you from limiting your options and make the finished product infinitely more enjoyable and nutrient-rich. Outstanding blenders to look for are anything by Vitamix, the Boss™ by Sage Appliances, or The Bianco Puro. Great options at a lower price point are Magimix and Cuisinart.
GREAT GREEN SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS
Kale: A great plant-based source of calcium, carotenoids, and vitamin A, C, K.
Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable is high in B vitamin folate, essential for cell regeneration and repair. Broccoli also contains glucoraphanin which helps regenerate skin damaged by UV rays. On top of this, it contains beta-carotene, calcium, iron, and vitamin A, B6, C, E.
Spinach: Source of vitamin C, essential for the healthy production of collagen, which helps build new skin. It also contains high levels of iron and essential minerals to keep blood cells healthy.
Celery: Provides the essential electrolyte minerals sodium and potassium, which are powerful fluid regulators. It is also exceptionally high in sicilia, which helps to renew connective tissue such as collagen.
Carrot: A powerful source of beta-carotene, giving the carrot its signature orange colour. It's an antioxidant which converts to vitamin A in the body, vital for good vision and retina function. Containing potassium, carrots can help treat dry skin conditions.
Apple: Vitamin C is essential for collagen production in the skin and keeps us regular with the easily digestible fibre. These crunchy, juicy fruits help combat irritation and inflammation in the body because of their anti-inflammatory qualities. The skin of apples contains the pigment quercetin, which acts as a powerful anti-ageing compound, helping to offset the damage caused by UV radiation. The copper in apples helps in the production of melanin – the pigment that colours your skin and protects it from the sun.
Avocado: Loaded with vitamin E, this fat-soluble vitamin helps protect the skin from h
harmful oxidative damage to the cells, avocados also contain oleic acid, which is known for speeding up cell regeneration, healing wounds, and reducing inflammation.
Blueberries: Antioxidant-rich and a great source of anthocyanins, blueberries help fight free-radicals and prevent damage to cells, which in turn keeps the skin firm and bouncy. Vitamin C helps to produce collagen, which is also a great skin nurturer and keeps the skin nice and plump.
Banana: FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) is a prebiotic in bananas that feeds healthy gut bacteria, supports the absorption of nutrients, and promotes improved bowel health. Bananas also have the antioxidant lutein, which boosts elasticity and sebum levels to lock in moisture and keep skin soft and supple.
Lemon: Using lemon in your smoothie is a great way to kick-start your metabolism, stimulate the liver, and flush out toxins and unwanted waste. Lemons also contain lots of vitamin C. This nutrient is hugely helpful in treating stress because it helps relieve adrenal fatigue, which is brought about by high levels of the stress hormone - cortisol.
Spices, herbs & supplements
Matcha: This finely powdered green tea delivers a natural caffeine in-take full of antioxidants. The tea is made solely of the rare and high-class tencha tea leaves. Authentic Matcha always comes from Japan, where it has been THE “IT” tea among emperors, monks and samurai for centuries. Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid that develops during the shading process of the tea making L-theanine makes you feel relaxed and sharpens your focus in a way that lasts much longer than the effects of coffee. Matcha can doubtlessly be called the superfood of tea.
Cacao: Raw cacao is full of minerals and antioxidants. It's a wonderful plant-based source of iron and calcium, and some even argue it's a natural mood enhancer.
Ginger: Combining ginger with honey, lemon, and hot water has always been a powerhouse of immune-boosting nutritional benefits. This unique and spicy herb is well-known for chasing away those pesky cold and flu symptoms. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory nutrients, ginger can also do wonders for the complexion and boost blood circulation to keep the body’s flow of oxygen and healthy blood cells moving more efficiently.