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A few years ago, I was introduced to green smoothies. The thought of a green drink was slightly repulsive to me at first; I couldn’t imagine one tasting very good. But I decided to try making one because I figured the benefits of healthy smoothies would outweigh the terrible taste I was expecting. I found a recipe, gathered my ingredients, and blended up my fruits and veggies. And when I took my first hesitant sip, I was completely surprised. The smoothie actually tasted good. I gulped it down, shocked at how much I enjoyed the flavor.
Since that first attempt, I have experimented and come up with a recipe that takes only a few minutes, is packed full of nutritious ingredients, and tastes good. I make a smoothie almost every day as a midday meal. I have even convinced many of my friends and family to try them for themselves. Although they were skeptical at first, like me, most of them have been turned into green smoothie converts, incorporating them into their diet on a regular basis.
Green Smoothie Benefits for Your Health
Green smoothies are a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake throughout the day. Eating more fruits and vegetables is associated with numerous health benefits, including decreased risk for many diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. Blending, as opposed to juicing, is also beneficial because it allows you to fully take advantage of the fiber in your food, which is essential to good health. Green smoothies are also a raw food, which helps to preserve some of the nutritive qualities of the foods used.
Many of the ingredients in my green smoothie recipe below offer specific health advantages, as well.
- Kale. Belonging to the Brassica family of vegetables, kale is full of antioxidants like isothiocyanates and flavanoids. They help to stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, and protect the brain. Supplementation with kale juice has been shown to improve cholesterol levels, too.
- Spinachis not only high in iron, but it is also a wonderful blood-pressure lowering food, due to it’s high content of natural nitrates.
- Swiss chard is rich in phenolic compounds like quercetin, caffeic acid, and catachins, antioxidants that help protect against disease. Swiss chard is also a potent source of vitamin A, E, B, as well as iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
- Apple. An apple a day might really keep the doctor away. They are full of beneficial dietary fiber and vitamins, and they might also help prevent cancer. Studies show that regular consumption of apples every day might reduce the risk for lung and colon cancer.
- Ginger. Ginger is a great home remedy for nausea, indigestion, and more. It is also helpful in lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, protecting against cancer, and fighting inflammation.[7-10]
One of My Favorite Healthy Smoothie Recipes
This recipe makes enough for two large smoothies. It is best served fresh out of the blender, although you may choose to make it ahead of time and take it in a to-go container for a mid-day pick me up.
Share Your Experience
Do you drink green smoothies? Do you find that the many green smoothie benefits help you to stay healthy? Share your thoughts and your favorite recipes for healthy smoothies in the comments section below.
Make Some Healthy Smoothies This Summer
The summer bounty of fresh produce brings with it the opportunity to make some cool, healthy smoothies. By avoiding added sugars and other calorie-dense ingredients, you can satisfy your taste buds while giving your cardiovascular system a nutrient-rich boost.
If a smoothie is made correctly, with the recommended amount of fruit, vegetables, protein, and healthy fat, then a smoothie could be a meal replacement daily or even twice daily for weigh loss purposes. Smoothies are also convenient for those consuming more than one serving of fruit and vegetable at a time.
Here are some tips for healthy smoothies:
- One cup of fresh or frozen fruit with no sugar added
- Leafy green lettuce or other vegetable
- At least 10 grams of protein, from non-fat or low-fat milk or yogurt, soy products, or protein powder
- Unsaturated fats from natural peanut or almond butter, ground flax or chia seeds, or avocado.
- Do not add sugar, honey or agave.
This article was originally published in October 2015. It has since been updated.