We don't post about them very often, but we enjoy green smoothies every day! They are a fast and delicious way to supercharge your daily nutrient intake!
I much prefer smoothies to juices because smoothies retain the fibre in the fruit and veggies you use - and we need fibre! Men need 38g and women need 28g a day to reduce cardiovascular disease risk!
Here are a few tips for healthy green smoothies:
1. Keep them low in fruit to avoid spiking your blood sugar (and insulin which will initiate fat storage). That means having veggies as the hero, and adding smaller amounts of fruit for flavour and colour! A good rule of thumb is to have at least 80% veggies and 20% fruit. If you are new to smoothies, you might need to gradually reduce the amount of fruit you use until your palate adjusts (and it WILL adjust!).
2. Include a rainbow of colours! OK, so doing this will mean your Green Smoothie isn't always green, but the pigments in fruit and veggies contain powerful phytonutrients, and science is just beginning to uncover their myriad health benefits. So don't waste this opportunity to boost the flavour and nutrient-content of your smoothies.
3. Rotate your greens. Enjoy a variety of greens in your smoothies, and change them with the seasons. Don't guzzle down kilos of kale every week. Different greens contain different compounds. If you have thyroid issues, don't overload on veggies that are goitrogenic, like kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc. (you can google for the full list). If you have thyroid issues, it can be better to consume these veggies when they are cooked. Likewise, some greens like spinach are high in oxalates. If you are prone to kidney stones, be mindful of the amount of oxalates you are consuming. It's all about balance and not overdosing on any one type of vegetable. As they say "variety is the spice of life!". Keep this in mind when making your smoothies.
4. Add citrus! This has made all the difference at my place. Adding lemon or lime gives our veggie smoothies an extra "zing" - and boosts the vitamin C content.
5. Look for ways to supercharge your smoothies! Add in some avocado for healthy fats, or do as we do and add in some fresh ginger and turmeric for its anti-inflammatory effect. Don't go overboard and wreck the taste or texture of your smoothie; just add a little boost. If you do this every day, those little boosts will add up for a big impact!
6. Experiment! Try lots of different combinations of veggies and fruit. Green smoothies do not have to be green! In fact, we encourage you to use veggies (and a little fruit) of all colours to ensure you benefit from a range of healthy phytonutrients! Add in herbs like mint, basil and tarragon, or spices like ginger and turmeric. This will increase nutritional value, keep things interesting and ensure you look forward to smoothie time!
7. Prep once, enjoy twice (or multiple times)! We like to wash and prep our smoothie ingredients, and while we are loading up the Vitamix we also load up a bowl or two and keep it in the fridge so we can simply grab it, pop it in the Vitamix and have a smoothie ready in less than a minute!
8. Be consistent! Have a veggie smoothie every day. Over the course of a year this will make a huge difference to your health. The increased fibre will lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and cancer risk, the phytonutrients will make your skin glow (and further reduce your cancer risk!), and the smoothies will fill you up and "crowd out" some of the less-than-ideal food choices you might make.
9. Just do it! The most recent Australian Health Survey revealed that less than 4% of Australians are consuming the recommended amounts of vegetables. This is a huge missed opportunity for our health and longevity. The research is clear - eating vegetables improves blood pressure, cardiac health, mood, cancer risk, weight maintenance and so much more! These are all serious issues in Australia. We NEEEEED to increase our intake, and smoothies are a fast, easy way to do it. So bust out the blender, raid the fridge (or farmers market) and make green smoothies a healthy daily habit!