Take any health magazine and you’ll find at least one page dedicated to green smoothies. These colourful beverages are promoted as a healthy, natural way to meet your nourish your body and boost your energy levels. Plus, they make it easier to get your daily dose of fruit and vegetables.
Green smoothies offer a rainbow of flavours and pack a hefty antioxidant punch. Although they’re not a cure-all, they support overall health and well-being. Their potential benefits depend on the ingredients used. There’s a catch, though. Bottled smoothies and those sold in cafes are often loaded with sugar. To reap the benefits, you must prepare these beverages at home and drink them fresh. Or if you buy them make sure they use fresh, natural ingredients, with no sugar added.
But what’s so great about green smoothies in the first place? Do they really live up the hype? Let’s find out!
What’s a Green Smoothie?
First things first, make sure you know a green smoothie is. When people talk about these beverages, they don’t mean smoothies with artificial dyes like those sold at every street corner on St. Patrick’s Day!!
A “real” green smoothie is one made with natural ingredients such as greens, avocado, parsley, mint, spirulina, and other “green” ingredients. You may also add unsweetened hemp, almond, coconut, or oat milk for a smooth texture and increased nutrition as well as coconut or Greek yogurt. Canned vegetables, and dried fruits are not typical ingredients in green smoothies.
These drinks can also be made with greens powders, which usually contain nutrient-dense ingredients like wheatgrass, milk thistle, green cabbage, chlorella, kale, spirulina, kelp, and more.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, plant-based supplement greens can boost antioxidant levels in the body, reduce oxidative stress, and protect against chronic diseases. These formulas may also balance your body’s pH levels and increase alkalinity, leading to better health.
Eager to find out more? Let’s take a look at the key benefits of green smoothies and why they’re so good for you!
Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
Many of the benefits of green smoothies are due to their high antioxidant content. These beverages are loaded with health-promoting compounds, such as vitamin C, chlorogenic acids and polyphenols. Again, their nutritional value depends on the ingredients used.
Leafy greens, in particular, are chock-full of antioxidants. Spinach, for example, is rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, kaempferol, and other phytonutrients. One cup delivers about 10% of the daily recommended vitamin C intake and 16% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. Both are powerful antioxidants that support eye and skin health.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, two key antioxidants in spinach, protect your eyesight and may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, explains a 2017 review featured in the journal Nutrients. Kale and other dark-green leafy vegetables contain these carotenoids too.
The antioxidants in spinach and other leafy greens may also improve blood lipids, protect against degenerative diseases, and reduce DNA damage.
These nutrients are lost during processing, which is why it’s recommended to eat your veggies raw. Lutein levels in spinach, for instance, drop by half after just four minutes of steaming, reports Harvard Medical School
Green Smoothies Make Weight Loss Easier
Smoothies are low in calories and high in fibre and these drinks promote satiety and keep you full longer between meals. Due to their high nutritional value, they can even replace one or more meals (as long as you pack them full of nutritious ingredients)
The number of calories in a green smoothie depends on what you add to it. If you add dried fruits, peanut butter, and other extras, your energy intake will go up. Keep your smoothies simple to reap the benefits.
For example, a raw green smoothie made with kale, spinach, collard greens, lemon juice, and apples, has just 120 calories per serving. You’ll also get the following nutrients:
- 1 gram of protein
- 27 grams of carbs, including 6 grams of fibre
- 47% of the DV (daily value) of vitamin C
- 8% of the DV of iron
- 6% of the DV of calcium
A green smoothie made with avocado, spinach, kale, and cucumbers provides about 262 calories, 8 grams of protein, and a whopping 9 grams of fibre per serving. You’ll also get 16 grams of fat, including 12 grams of heart-healthy fats.
Unlike fruit juices, green smoothies are packed with fibre (although I believe that they both have a place at different times). This nutrient fills you up quickly, keeps your blood sugar stable, and supports digestive health. In the long run, it may reduce cholesterol levels and facilitate weight loss.
Enjoy Better Health and Increased Energy
As you see, green smoothies offer a powerful boost of micro- and macronutrients. When consumed regularly, they may help you get leaner, protect against chronic disorders, and add years to your life. Enjoy them as part of a balanced diet and get creative with the ingredients used.
Think about your nutritional needs and health goals when preparing green smoothies. If, say, you’re feeling tired and sluggish, add veggies rich in complex carbs and B vitamins to the mix. Leafy greens, avocados, wheatgrass, and barley grass are all an excellent choice.
If you need more protein in your diet, use spirulina and seeds to your smoothies. Fill up on avocado for dietary fibre and healthy fats.
To assist with weight loss, sip on green smoothies made with spinach, dandelion, collard greens, bok choy, and other leafy greens. It’s a simple, convenient way to boost your nutrient intake and cut calories.
Green smoothies count toward your daily vegetable intake, making them ideal for those with a busy schedule. Start your day with the smoothie or enjoy one when you’re on the go. These healthful beverages will boost your energy and stamina, protect against free radical damage, and rejuvenate your body.