St. Patrick's Day certainly brings a sea of green but unfortunately many of these foods are green from the addition of artificial coloring. With March being National Nutrition Month, let’s get back to the basics of healthy eating and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by going green…with your smoothie!
If you haven’t already, give green smoothies a try! Not only do they have great health benefits, but they are easy to make, taste great, will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, and are fun to experiment with. Listed below are 10 health benefits of green smoothies:
1. Natural Weight Loss
Drinking a green smoothie is the best thing you can do to lose weight. They 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. After drinking greensmoothies for a few weeks, you will also notice that your cravings for junk foods are greatly reduced and you may actually begin to crave healthy food options!
2. Increased Consumption of Fruits & Vegetables
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 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.
3. Easy Digestibility and Nutrient Assimilation
Blending fruits and vegetables together breaks down the cells of plants and improves digestibility. Your blender unlocks the nutrients and maximizes their delivery to your body more than chewing any salad could. Smoothies are quicker and more convenient than preparing and thoroughly chewing a salad, especially when you are on the go.
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.
5. Increased Energy
Smoothies provide a powerful boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients without bogging down your digestive system. Since you are eating natural, whole foods in the most optimum form for your digestion and nutrient absorption, you will have more energy to get things done and enjoy your day.
6. Mental Clarity and Focus
With a healthier diet comes greater mental clarity and focus. Try replacing your morning coffee routine with a green smoothie. You will be surprised at how alert and energized you will feel.
7. Increased Fiber Intake
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.
8. Clearer Skin
Clearer, radiant skin is an often-reported benefit to eating healthier. Smoothies are high in fiber and allow your body to eliminate toxins the right way instead of through your skin.
9. Reduce Cravings
Green smoothies reduce cravings for junk foods, unhealthy sweets, salt and fats. You will find that after a few weeks of drinking smoothies, you will crave healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables and greens.
10. 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.
Try this delicious recipe for a starter!
Green Smoothie Recipe (courtesy of www.yummymummykitchen.com)
Makes 1 smoothie (or 2 kid sized)
· 1/2 cup vanilla almond, soy, or coconut milk
· 1 cup frozen pineapple pieces
· 1 cup frozen mango chunks
· 1 big handful fresh baby spinach
Pour milk into a blender. Add pineapple, mango, and spinach. Cover with blender lid and blend to combine. If blender stops turning, add a little more milk. I like to add a couple of ice cubes to make the smoothie very cold and icy. The fruit makes this smoothie sweet, but if you would like it sweeter, add a dash of stevia.
*Tip: You can also add greek yogurt, flax seed, vanilla protein powder, or almond or peanut butter for added protein.
For more green smoothie information and recipes, visit www.incrediblesmoothies.com
Photo Courtesy: www.inspiredtaste.net