Smoothies, the health drink of the new age. Fruits and berries mixed with greens and yogurt, blended together into one creamy glass of goodness. Not only do they taste good, but they are super good for you as well!
We all know that smoothies are very much portrayed as a healthy drink, and why shouldn’t they be? People for decades have been blending up personalized healthy smoothies for weight loss and seen amazing results. The proof is in the pudding sort to say, and now it can be used to help you lower high blood pressure as well.
A smoothie is defined as a “thick, smooth, drink of fresh fruit that is pureed with milk, yogurt, or ice cream”. Now, to keep this on the healthier side, I won’t be touting any recipes that feature ice cream, sorry about that. I want to aim more for getting those good-for-you foods a part of your diet that help lower high blood pressure.
One of the things that I love the most about smoothies is that they are completely customizable. If you don’t like a particular food, you can either omit it, or use other ingredients to mask the flavor. That way you still get the health benefits of consuming the food without the unpleasantness of eating it.
This is a more complicated question that it may seem at first glance. Most people would say “Of course fresh is better than frozen! What a silly question!” Unfortunately this isn’t always true.
While fresh produce is USUALLY preferred, it is really only best when it is in season. What happens is that yes produce is available year-round. When produce is grown out of season, a lot of times it is picked before it is fully ripened on the plant. This makes it easier to ship and less likely to spoil before getting to market.
Let’s take tomatoes for example. You can find them almost year-round if not year-round in the grocery store. A tomato’s peak seasons is mid summer to early fall, depending on location. All other times of the year, it is off-season.
Tomatoes, to make sure they are in the market year round, are grown and picked while still green and very firm. They are then exposed to any one of the ripening agents that are approved such as ethylene gas. This makes the product turn red, but does not change the nutrient content. That tomato still has the same nutrients that it did as it was picked green.
Frozen produce, on the other hand, it picked in season and flash frozen to ensure quality. These products have the same nutritional value that in season products do and they are available year round.
Of course, there are always exceptions. If you are lucky enough to have a farmers market near you and someone has a green house, you may be able to get produce that is fresh year round that has great nutritional value. Likewise, if you yourself have a greenhouse you can benefit from that personally.
Overall, it would be best to learn when produce is in season and buy it either fresh or frozen depending on availability and nutritional content.
Here are a few smoothie base recipes to get you started. As always, I highly encourage you to experiment with combinations of flavors and ingredients.
Another recipe that I highly encourage uses nut milk instead of an actually dairy product. This will give you not only some benefits of the nut, but also is also vegan friendly.
You could even experiment with the nuts; instead of adding nut milk, you could add whole nuts to the blender first. Then add about 1/2 cup of liquid and blend until smooth. Not only will this give you more of the benefits of the nuts, it will give a different texture as well that can be extremely satisfying.
Not only can you add fruit and nuts to your smoothies, you can add vegetables as well. You can either feature them and let them shine, or mask them if you find their flavors not to you liking but still want all the good-for-you benefits.
Pineapple, Strawberry and Kale Smoothie
There are tons of recipes out there that feature almost every single vegetable and fruit imaginable, and if you can’t find one that suits your tastes, you can always make it yourself.
Yum smoothies, what more is there to say? So many combinations, so many ingredients, so little time.
These recipes purposefully exclude sweeteners in an attempt to keep them as healthy as possible. You are more than welcome to add honey, agave nectar, or any other sweetener that you like according to you tastes and diet. Just note that adding them will tip change the health factor of the smoothie. An option you could explore would be to add sweeter fruits to the smoothie for a natural added sweetness.
As always, please consult your doctor before doing any changes to your diet/lifestyle. You want to make sure you are doing everything the healthiest way for you.
If you enjoyed what you read, have a comment or question, or would just like to share you favorite smoothie recipe, please leave them below, I would love to hear from you!