You might be surprised about what gets passed off as a smoothie these days.
Smoothies are all the rage. They've quickly become a full-blown, worldwide health trend.
Billed as the healthy solution for your crazy, on-the-go, fast food lifestyle (while keeping your crazy, on-the-go, fast food lifestyle), green smoothies are seemingly everywhere; even showing up on the shelves of the most popular (but not necessarily health-conscious) department stores.
In fact, smoothies are so popular, Global Industry Analysts Inc., a leading market research firm, estimates that the smoothie industry has grown into a $9 billion dollar a year market -- yes, that's billion with a "b."
At the same time as these mass produced smoothies are skyrocketing in popularity, cases of diabetes and obesity worldwide are approaching 2 billion.
So will the smoothie trend be accompanied by a reduction in these health issues? With no signs of a statistical turnaround to date and grim health forecasts for the coming years, the correlation might be the exact opposite.
Wait... how could you possibly think there might be a correlation between the rise of "healthy" smoothies and bulging waistlines?
Aren't the messages from smoothie merchants such as Jamba and Booster Juice just making you eagerly reach for this healthy alternative to fast food? To this I say: NOT. SO. FAST.
In reality, the health claims floating around mainstream smoothies are not only misleading, but they can also be dangerous. Often consisting of 70 per cent sugar, and made with low-quality, high sugar fruits and fruit juices, these smoothies can contain upwards of 60 grams of sugar.
Green Smoothies: Not Your Run-of-the-Sugar-Mill Smoothie
Fortunately, not all smoothies are unhealthy or dangerous -- in fact, green smoothies, when made with the correct vegetable to fruit ratio, along with healthy fats and plant proteins, not only provide greater nutrition than many common sit-down meals, but also serve as an easy, real-food alternative to many dubious prescription medicines.
Meet The 60-20-20 Real Green Smoothie
Typically consisting of 60 per cent vegetables and superfoods, 20 per cent healthy fats and plant proteins and 20 per cent low glycemic (GI) fruits, green smoothies aren't your average, everyday smoothie. As a point of reference, low glycemic index fruits, or those with a GI of below 55 have less of an impact on your blood sugar; essentially, they keep your blood sugar from spiking and crashing - the common cause of low energy, weight gain and food cravings.
Here is a list of vegetables, healthy fats and low GI fruits commonly used in green smoothies:Vegetables
- Bell Pepper
- Cherries, (20)
- Grapefruit, (25)
- Apricots, (32)
- Pears, (35)
- Apples, (38)
- Blueberries, (40)
- Green banana (40)
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds / Flax oil
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Coconut oil
The Amazing Health Benefits of Green Smoothies
One or two servings of green smoothies per day has you well on your way to meeting your recommended daily intake of essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, K, B5, B6, B9, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc.
In addition, the fiber, phytochemicals, plant based protein and healthy fats in green smoothies turn them into a complete meal, leaving you with sustained energy, a satiated palate, and diabetes and obesity in your rear-view mirror.
Green Smoothies Are Loaded With Fiber
Green vegetables are loaded with fiber; this fiber, when consumed in its raw form stays in the digestive system and breaks down slowly; this not only keeps you feeling full over a longer period of time, it also ensures maximum nutrient absorption.
Fiber binds (actually sticks!) to several toxins and known carcinogens found in foods; fiber also moves waste and these toxins quickly through the intestinal tract and out of your system, preventing these harmful chemicals from being absorbed by the body.
Green Smoothies Prevent the Dreaded Blood Sugar Spike
We know that low GI fruits and vegetables are essential when balancing blood sugar levels. Research also demonstrates that fiber is equally as important in lowering blood sugar and eliminating the unwanted associated side effects, including low-energy, hunger, and cravings.
People associate fruit and fruit juice with good health, but consuming too much fructose (the sugar found in fruits) can actually impede the liver's ability to convert it into usable energy. Instead the fructose is converted and stored as fat. Fructose has also been associated with stimulating hunger after a meal and has even been shown to cause physical and neurochemical dependency -- that's right, the natural sugars found in fruits are addictive!
About Dr. Rhea Mehta
Inspired by the focus of her PhD which examined the toxic effects of the Western Diet, as well as the "real food medicine" that helped her reverse her chronic illnesses and the symptoms of her clients, Dr. Rhea felt it was time to launch a platform to share health education and evidence-based truths to motivate the masses to enter this overwhelming world of health in a safe and sustainable manner. Using creativity and optimism as her guiding principles, Dr. Rhea brought her vision to life through Global Smoothie Day (October 3).
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The smoothie: Banana And Spinach Smoothie Simple: mix your bananas with spinach and you have yourself a nutritious smoothie. Check out the recipe on Fantastic Food here.
The smoothie: Blueberry Avocado Smoothie There's actually another green vegetable hidden in this smoothie — can you guess which? Get the full recipe from Sweet Treats and More here.
The smoothie: Parsley, Kale And Berry Smoothie If you don't like to eat your greens, blending them with tangy fruits like berries will help disguise the taste. The parsley adds a little more folic acid, which is excellent for cardiac health. Get the full recipe from Bon Appetit here.
The smoothie: Kale Smoothie With Pineapple and Banana To make things a little more interesting, this smoothie recipe uses coconut milk. Get the full recipe from Real Simple here.
The smoothie: Sweet Punch Romaine Lettuce Smoothie Blending fruits, veggies and seeds, this drink is a great starter smoothie. Get the full recipe from Green Thickies here.
The smoothie: Kale Ginger Smoothie Adding ginger to your smoothie is a good idea. Ginger helps regulate the circulation of blood and strengthens your immunity. Get the full recipe from Oh My Veggies here.
The smoothie: Mango, Kiwi, Peach And Spinach Smoothie if you're a fan of sweet fruits like mangoes and peaches, you'll love this green smoothie. Get the full recipe from Yummly here.
The smoothie: Cucumber Apple And Ginger Smoothie If you're wondering, the cucumber isn't the only thing that makes this smoothie green — spinach plays a huge role too. Get the full recipe from Tales of a Kitchen here.
The smoothie: Lemon Celery Smoothie Can you make your smoothie even healthier? Yes. Top it with chia seeds. Get the full recipe from Spinach For Breakfast here.
The smoothie: Banana Broccoli Smoothie This smoothie uses almond milk and maple syrup for sweetness. Get the full recipe from Tasty Yummies here.
The smoothie: Chocolate Mint Green Smoothie We couldn't let you go without a chocolate-infused smoothie. Luckily for you, dark chocolate has a ton of health benefits. Get the full recipe from Oh My Veggies here.
Follow Dr. Rhea Mehta on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rheamehta