Green smoothies have many health benefits, and can include spinach, lettuce, kale, and collard greens; for the more advanced green smoothie drinker, you can also add parsley, dandelion greens, watercress — really, any leafy green veggie your palate can handle, and enjoy. Bananas, apples, pears, avocado, and mango are great companions in these beverages. Here are 10 advantages of drinking green smoothies on a daily basis:
- Green smoothies offer pure nutrition. The amount of vitamins you’ll get depends on the fruits and vegetables you choose for the smoothie. However, most fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins A and C.
- Smoothies are made using the whole fruit/vegetable, so you get all the fiber in your drink. Therefore smoothies are healthier than fruit or vegetable juices: you get the vitamins and minerals as well as the fiber.
- 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. When you make a green smoothie, the taste of the greens is hidden by the taste of the fruit, so you don’t even notice the veggies are there.
- Green smoothies are easy and quick to make. The only equipment you need is a blender.
- Homemade green smoothies are inexpensive. Buying smoothies at a juice bar can cost as much as $6 a glass. At home, combining fruits and vegetables won’t cost you more than a few cents. Drinking a glass every day will provide you with all the vitamins you need, and is a much cheaper (and more natural) option than buying multivitamins.
- Green smoothies can be a good way to get kids to “eat” their vegetables. You might need to start with a higher proportion of fruit vs. vegetables (for example, 70/30 instead of the standard 60/40) until they get used to the flavor.
- 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). Because of their high content of veggies as well as fiber, green smoothies have a balanced sugar content.
- Green smoothies are low in calories but very filling. Because they contain high amounts of water and fiber, they’ll make you feel as if you just ate a full meal. If you’re trying to lose weight, green smoothies will help fight hunger and cravings.
- 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 will keep you hydrated. Although one should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, experts believe most people don’t drink even half that amount. One of the reasons for that is that many people simply don’t like the taste of plain water. If that describes you, simply add more water to the mix as you prepare your smoothie. You’ll be drinking more liquids without even noticing it.
This information is based on the “The New Green Smoothie Diet” by Hilary Greenleaf, 2012
Here are a couple fun, refreshing smoothie recipes for you to try:
Kale, Cucumber, and Pineapple Smoothie (2 servings):
1 cup diced fresh or canned pineapple
½ medium or a small sweet apple
4-ich piece of cucumber
3-4 kale leaves
1 cup mango or pineapple juice
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until quite smooth. Divide among two glasses and serve at once.
Banana/Strawberry power smoothie (2 servings)
½ cup kefir (plain or blueberry)
2 handfuls mixed greens (baby kale, fresh spinach)
1 large banana
8-10 small strawberries
1 small carrot
½ cup of chipped ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Divide among two glasses and serve at once.