Sunday, August 11, 2013

Green Smoothies, What's All the Fuss About?

Doesn't look very appetizing, yet you keep hearing about it and seeing more and more people adding it to their choice of beverages. Is it just a fad or is it actually worth all the hype? Well, I can say first hand that despite it's appearance, it actually tastes pretty good. Depending on what you mix it with, of course.  There are so many different variations of this green phenomenon but let's go over some of the basics of what they are and some of the benefits of this super drink. Oh, and there's a yummy recipe at the bottom too :)

What are they?

Green smoothies are blended drinks that combine leafy greens with fruits, veggies and healthy fats, such as almonds, hemp seeds, flax and coconut. Popular leafy greens include spinach, kale, rainbow or Swiss chard, mint, parsley and collard greens. Some folks prefer to use all fresh, raw ingredients, but others say frozen fruit lends a thicker, ice cream-like texture.

Pure Nutrition, Easy Digestion, and Natural Weight Loss
Green smoothies offer pure nutrition. The amount of vitamins you’ll get depends on the fruits and vegetables you choose for the smoothie. Green smoothies are much healthier than fruit or vegetable juices. When juices are extracted, you get vitamins and minerals but no fiber. However, smoothies are made using the whole fruit/vegetable, so you get all the fiber in your drink. Green smoothies are easy to digest. Because they’re already blended and liquefied, smoothies are quicker to digest. After all, your body no longer needs to work so hard to “break down” the food in order to extract the nutrients. People who suffer from indigestion after eating a heavy meal will also benefit, as smoothies are filling but light. Green smoothies provide the nutrition, vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates, fiber and low fat whole food that you need to lose weight quickly, safely and effectively without starving yourself.

 Get Your Daily Requirement of Fruits & Veggies, Faster
 Green smoothies are a great way to eat your veggies without even realizing it. Although most people like fruit, many have trouble getting their daily requirement of veggies. The American Cancer Society recommends that we eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day to prevent cancer and other diseases. Green smoothies are a quick and convenient way to get your vegetables and dark, leafy greens without tasting them. The fruit masks the flavor so well that even though all you taste is pineapple, mango, banana or strawberry, you are consuming a healthy dose of spinach, carrots, tomatoes and any other vegetable that you put in it.

Antioxidants and Natural Energy Boost
Green smoothies are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Not only are you giving your body the best defenses for disease, but you are ingesting a variety of natural substances that are essential for optimum health and fitness. Green smoothies will provide you with a lasting source of energy. Fruits are a good source of energy, but eaten alone will only provide short bursts of energy (they contain lots of sugars, which are quickly metabolized), however, with the high content of veggies, green smoothies have a balanced sugar content. 

Increased Fiber Intake and Clearer Skin
Unlike fruit juice or using a juicer, green smoothies use the whole fruit and vegetable so that you get all the fiber and nutrition. Fiber is essential for good colon health and it keeps your bowels in working order.  Smoothies are high in fiber and allow your body to eliminate toxins the right way instead of through your skin, thus improving the appearance of skin overall.

Rich with Chlorophyll
Green smoothies are rich with chlorophyll which some natural health experts say enhances the immune system, purifies the blood and rejuvenates the body. 

Easy Spinach and Berry Smoothie 
Makes 2 smoothies
(3 cups)

Time: 10 minutes

You'll Need:
-1 cup of orange juice
-1 banana
-5 strawberries
-large handful of raspberries (about 12 to 15)
-one huge handful of spinach

1. Now you will do all of your prep work to get your fruits and vegetables ready for the blender. Wash your large handful of spinach leaves thoroughly to remove all dirt, sand or grit. Then cut off the stems from the leaves. Wash your strawberries well and then cut the tops off. Cut your strawberries in half. Now wash your raspberries well.

2. Place one cup of your orange juice into the blender. This will make a nice, thick smoothie. If you like your smoothies with more liquid, I would suggest adding more orange juice to fit your taste.

3.  Place your spinach leaves, banana, strawberries and raspberries into the blender with the orange juice and blend on high for about two minutes to make sure everything is well blended and there are no chunks throughout the entire smoothie.

Pour and enjoy!


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