Another burst of color and nutrition for you today! Check out my first recipe and blog in this rainbow series - Superpower Orange Smoothie.
To ensure these recipes are both healthy and delicious, each rainbow smoothie will have the following:
veggies for all their healing superpowers!
fruit for sweetness
fat for absorption and satiety
an acid for tartness
liquid to add the right texture (but no juice to keep the sugar lower)
and lots of gut-loving fiber:)
You can be sure they will ALWAYS be:
without added sugars
low in calories
Primarily found in your green produce family, the phytochemicals or phytonutrients (disease-preventing and health-promoting nutrients) lutein and zeaxanthin, are used by the retina and lens of your eye to prevent cataracts, macular degeneration and other vision problems. Like... these phytonutrients can actually be measured in your eyeball, wow!
Glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, and indoles are phytonutrients found in your cruciferous vegetables (two of which are in this smoothie - broccoli and kale). These are your "detox" or scavenger antioxidants. They do your dirty work by cleaning away carcinogens, thus lowering your risk for certain types of cancer.
Betalaines (spinach in this smoothie) boost the body's detoxifying enzymes and are also anti-inflammatory nutrients. Phytosterols (broccoli and peas in this smoothie) compete for absorption with cholesterol, thus they have the potential to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and plaque formation.
Something you may not have stocked in your pantry is spirulina. Spirulina is blue-green algae that is one of the THE MOST NUTRIENT DENSE foods on this planet. It is rich in complete protein, B-vitamins, copper, iron and many other minerals. With all that goodness, I just had no choice but to include it, right?
The other green plants in this smoothie provide:
chlorophyll - reduces appetite, and extends satiety by releasing more the satiety hormone, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).
potassium - enough potassium in your diet is even more important than following a low sodium diet for reducing blood pressure.
iron - we all need iron to help our bodies create red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout our bodies. If you are deficient/anemic in iron, no amount of caffeine will help you "wake up." 😬 Vitamin C (kiwi, broccoli and lime juice in this smoothie) helps you absorb plant-iron.
fiber - feeds gut bacteria, benefits your digestion and extends satiety.
vitamin K - assists the body in clotting and bone health.
folate - a B vitamin that lowers the risk of depression, reduces cancer, heart disease and birth defect risk. Not to mention it is a cofactor in how the body manages red blood cell formation, uses iron and helps to control the inflammation marker, homocysteine.
To enjoy a super quick smoothie later, simply pack all the green produce in a jar, seal and refrigerate until you are ready to blend. It will stay fresh about 3 days.
Dark green leafy vegetables (as well as orange vegetables) are rich in beta-carotene (and other carotenoids), vitamin C, potassium, fiber and phytonutrients. Check out my earlier Superpower Orange Smoothie article if you need more convincing about why beta-carotene can be life-changing. 😁 I've been growing lacinato kale, Swiss chard, and arugula in my backyard garden, so you'll be seeing these greens often in my recipes, yay!
Now that I've convinced you that green produce is important, I present to you my Living Green Smoothie.
Very important: in order for all these phytonutrients to be absorbed well by the body, you MUST have fat accompany them. Just say NO to smoothies and meals that don't have added fat. Here I use avocado. But you can sub that for coconut cream, milk, oil or another preferred oil (though expect the texture and flavor to be different).
My daughter loved the flavor of this and you will too!
10 Benefits of Spirulina. (2017, June). Healthline.
All You Need to Know About Beta-Carotene. (2017, Dec.). Medical News Today.
Color Me Healthy. (2008, Nov). Today's Dietitian.
Spinach. (n.d.). World's Healthiest Foods.
Vegetable Nutrition. (n.d.). Vegetables New Zealand.