Summer is in the air, and it is a great time to begin incorporating more healthy smoothies into your diet! With the heat surrounding us everywhere we turn, people often already begin avoiding heavier foods during this time of year, as when combined with the heat, it can create undesirable feelings of fatigue and laziness. Summer is also a great time to begin this habit because there are so many more options in terms of greens, fruits, and berries in season, so you can mix and match and make them tasty and nutritious, and keep your options open in order to keep them interesting! Also the more fruits and vegetables you buy in season, the cheaper they are likely to be, rather than buying imported or frozen.
Smoothies are not only a great way to get in much needed vegetables and fruits, which are loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but also contain fibre which helps keep our elimination consistent and removes toxins from our bodies. They are also very easy for our bodies to digest, making them an ideal meal or drink in the summer.
A simple and nutritious smoothie is easy to make, and below is a healthy and delicious smoothie recipe you can try as a beginner attempt, and then alter it based on your preferences. Just always aim to keep at least half, if not more, of the contents vegetables to really benefit from the nutrients they contain and avoid too much sugar from the fruits.
What you need:
• Ginger or lemon juice (optional)
Depending on what kind of blender you have, you can decide the order of the above ingredients. First thing you should focus on are the greens in order to properly clean them. Cut off the stems of both the parsley and the spinach. If you have a juicer you can keep these to juice later. If not, you can discard of them in your compost bin. Rinse the spinach and parsley very well as they can often have sand, soil or little rocks in them. A good idea is to soak them in a large pot for about five to ten minutes, so by the time you are done chopping everything else they would be ready.
Cut the apple in quarters, removing the pit and the seeds. While consuming small amounts of the seeds is not a big deal, remember that they contain small amounts of cyanide, so it is always best to remove them. Add them to the blender. Next add the raspberries and you can add a couple whole ones directly in your blender. Chop up your carrot next and since it is a little tougher, again depending on your blender, it could be a good idea to include it in smaller chunks. Next focus on your greens. Remove them from the water and discard of the liquid. Next place both in a strainer and give them both a good rinse. Chop them coarsely and add them to the blender.
Next you would simply add fresh cold water about halfway up the blender. You can always add more so if you find it isn’t blending very smoothly, you can simply add more gradually. Once you have the water in, begin blending the mixture. The amount of time it would take to blend properly would depend on the speed and power of your blender. It should generally be smooth and in a liquid-form, but still with a thicker consistency compared to juice.
It is best to drink the mixture as soon as possible, to avoid nutrient loss due to oxidation and this is also a great way to begin your day by making and consuming it in the mornings, and as it is all raw, the enzymes will help with digestion throughout the day. When making and drinking this early as well, you are making sure that you have gotten some of the vegetable and fruit servings recommended daily as well!
With this simple, delicious and refreshing smoothie, the nutrients you are getting can easily be broken down:
The spinach, part of the dark leafy green family, contains a high amount of minerals, most notably calcium, iron, and magnesium. It is also high in vitamin K, A, folate, and vitamin C, the last of which helps our bodies to absorb the iron as well. It is also an anti-inflammatory and full of phytonutrients and antioxidants
Parsley is also rich in antioxidants and is also a very good source of vitamin C, a premier anti-oxidant, as well as vitamin A.
Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A and contain high amounts of soluble fibre, a gentler version of fibre that is easier on our small intestine and colon.
Raspberries are powerhouses in terms of phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory components. They are also another great source of vitamin C, making sure we absorb the iron found in the green leafy vegetables we use. For such a small fruit, they also contain a lot of fibre, and the sweet yet tart taste adds a great kick to this smoothie!
Apples have vitamin C as well as fibre, and actually help with blood sugar regulation, as they can help in our digest of carbohydrates.
The addition of a little ginger or lemon juice can also be a nice addition, with the former helping in digestion, and the latter alkalinizing your body.
From just one smoothie and meal, you are getting a wide variety of minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants, fibre, anti-inflammatory effects and more! Make sure to mix and match different fruits and vegetables to make sure you are getting an even wider variety and avoid “mono-eating”, especially in terms of the dark leafy greens. You can substitute any of the above ingredients with others, and some options include kale or beet greens instead of spinach, cilantro or dill instead of parsley, pears or oranges instead of apples, blackberries or strawberries instead of raspberries, and celery instead of carrots! These are some options to give ideas, so mix and match and find your ideal smoothies for the summer!
Photo courtesy of foodsogoodmall.com