Harvest Health

Harvest Health

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Green Smoothies……The Good and the Bad.

The green smoothie phenomenon has been sweeping the world for a few years now, and it looks like it’s here to stay.  As with most health fads, it has its good and bad points.

The Good:

  • v  Drinking regular green smoothies can dramatically increase your vegetable intake over a day, and over the week.
  • v  Portable - a good option for ‘eating’ on the run. A quick, nutritious snack
  • v  Often kids will happily have vegetables in a smoothie that they wouldn’t normally eat
  • v  Contains the whole vegetable, including the fibre, unlike juices where the fibre is left behind.

The Bad:

v  Most of the greens used in green smoothies are traditionally eaten cooked.  Some contain chemicals called oxalates that are neutralised when cooked, but not when eaten raw.  Oxalates can block mineral absorption and potentially cause kidney stones.
v  There is no chewing involved.  Chewing is the first part of digestion.  Although a blender will do some of the work for you by making the food into tiny pieces, the saliva involved with chewing has enzymes which begin the process of digestion.
v  They can cause digestive disturbances in some people.  There is no point in having a green smoothie if it gives you diarrhoea.
v  They are often made with a lot more fruit than veg, meaning they are sweet, and will cause a spike in blood sugar.

So, as with many health fads, green smoothies can be good, but not for all people, and not all of the time.  Spring, however is the ideal time to increase your intake of greens and give the occasional green smoothie a go.

Green Smoothie Recipes
There is no exact recipe, although you will find many on the internet.  Experiment with different greens, veg and fruit to find combinations you enjoy.  Ideally, make sure that the amount of veg is greater than the amount of fruit.  Greens to try include:
  • spinach,
  • silverbeet,
  • kale, 
  • beetroot greens, 
  • parsley, 
  • celery and 
  • cucumber.  
If adventurous, you can try greens from the garden such as dandelion, mallow or purslane!

The following is a basic green smoothie recipe:
1 orange, peeled
1/2 banana
3 kale leaves, stripped off stem
1 tbl chia seeds (optional)

Or for a more tropical flavour, try:
1/2 cup pineapple
1 stick of celery and/or 1/2 cucumber
1/2 apple
twig of mint
2 - 3 big handfuls of leafy green veg

Add approx. ¾ cup of water depending on desired consistency.  Put ingredients into a powerful blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy a glassful, and the remainder can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for a day.

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