Green smoothies, including blended fruit and vegetable smoothies, have become quite popular recently. Images such as that of a mason jar filled to the brim with a spinach and banana smoothie are posted on popular social media sites, as “facebookers” and “instagrammers” chronicle their green-smoothie intake.
Almost everyone knows someone who is going green with his or her beverage. Here are some reasons why.
More Fruits and Veggies
Sometimes it can be difficult to consume the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. Blending a delicious smoothie is an easy way to help increase vegetable intake. When leafy greens are added to fruit smoothies, the natural sweetness from fruits masks the taste of the vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. For instance, many leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard, are loaded with vitamins A and C.
Vitamin A is beneficial for vision, while vitamin C may help the immune system by reducing the severity of colds, for instance. Vitamin C also has a role in the production of collagen, making it useful in the promotion of wound healing, from paper cuts to surgical wounds.
Rich in Fiber
Smoothies are a more nutritious option than juices. Juicing extracts the fiber from fruits and vegetables. The fiber retained from blending, rather than juicing, will help to keep you satisfied and feeling fuller for longer.
It is important to include some kind of leafy green vegetable in your smoothie recipe. Including fruits will help add fiber, nutrients, and natural sweetness to the smoothie.
Vegetables and fruits are nutrient-dense, with more nutrients and fewer calories than most other foods. They are filling with very few calories. If you are trying to lose weight, drinking fruit and vegetable smoothies can be a useful strategy.
For instance, drinking a smoothie before your meal can help you better control the portion size of the meal, since you will not feel as hungry. Note that green smoothies do not have to replace your meal. Have them as a snack or with your usual meal.
Adding a green smoothie while eating slightly smaller portions than usual can help to increase the volume of food while decreasing the overall caloric intake, which can lead to weight loss.
Green smoothies can help to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated. Staying hydrated is especially important during the summer months, when hot weather causes you to sweat and your body to lose more water than usual. Use water when making smoothies, and this can count toward your eight glasses a day.
Green smoothies can be tailored to your preferences or to the produce you have on hand. Experiment with kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens, as well as fruits that are in season for the summer, such as mango, watermelon, and berries.
Even the liquids used in the smoothies can be interchanged depending on your mood or craving. For a more protein-rich beverage, try using milk (cow’s milk, soy milk, nut- or plant-based milk). For a more tart and fruity flavor, add water, a splash of juice, and a squeeze of lemon.
Get creative with your smoothie recipes, keeping in mind these five convincing reasons to start drinking green smoothies today.
Caroline Leung, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian in the New York City area, with a special interest in nutrition for the prenatal and diabetic populations. In her free time, she writes about all things nutrition on her website, nutritionwithcaroline.com.