Combining a red and green smoothie into one helps both lymph cleansing (red) and detoxifying toxic metals (green) and with the addition of collagen powder (joint, skin and gut strength) makes it “The Ultimate Smoothie”. With both liver cleansing and lymph cleansing properties whilst also providing very important antioxidants for cell protection and reducing inflammation can make smoothies a quick and easy way to get excellent nutrition when you are on the go. Organic freeze dried ingredients can also make it convenient when time is poor.
Berries have the lowest sugar count of any fruit and are also great for helping clean the lymph. Organic is best. Try and use organic produce wherever you can to decrease pesticide residue (if not make sure those berries come from Australia) and wash thoroughly. Berries, particularly strawberries and blueberries are on the top of the list of the dirty dozen for pesticides. Kale or Spinach is best washed in filtered water with a bit of apple cider vinegar added if you can’t find organic. Don’t do pure fruit smoothies-it floods your body with too much sugar. Too much sugar affects insulin levels, creates an anti-inflammatory response, brain chemistry imbalances and impacts on energy levels (a high followed by a low). Never add sugar. Try dates, a tiny amount of honey, maple syrup or stevia but not too much. Surprisingly, with a little practice, you can change how much sweet you will actually need. Soak your nuts if you are going to use nuts in your smoothies as pre-soaking breaks down phytic acid. Phytic acid prevents good nutrient absorption. Boost smoothies with protein and fat .This helps balance the effects of the natural sugars in fruit. Proteins and fat will also help you feel full. Fats will also help with vitamin and mineral absorption. Pea protein powder is one ideal protein source and full of so many great amino acids. For fats – use coconut oil (except if using frozen fruit as the coconut oil will solidify), flaxseed oil (make sure it is refrigerated) or avocado. Other options are nut butter, chia seeds and yoghurt.
Avocados: Fibre, healthy fats, potassium and Vitamin K of this amazing food, according to research, could help enhance heart health by balancing blood lipids, boost weight loss and keep your digestive tract running smoothly. The good monosaturated fats (MUFA’s) contained within avocado are known to block plaque build-up in arteries. The fibre as well as beta-sitosterol, magnesium and potassium may also reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Avocados contain lutein, a carotenoid ( in carrots too) that protects eye health and preserves healthy looking skin and hair. Carotenoids are known for blocking the effects of environmental toxins like pollution and UV light damage. Dr Michale Mosley’s programme “Trust Me I’m A Doctor” found that consuming smoothies daily over a 4 week period improved the macular health of the eye in all participants. Luteins have been shown to prevent certain skin cancers too. It appears to be beneficial for the eye as it absorbs the type of damaging blue light rays that enter the eyes and skin, changing DNA and causing free radical damage. Research has shown that adding avocado to a meal can also help boost carotenoid absorption!
Bananas: Contains vitamin B6 and magnesium, which help promote better sleep. Bananas also have fibre, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin A. They promote good digestion, prevent constipation, and contribute to healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Limit if trying to reduce sugars. See below in resistant starch.
Beetroot: Increasing energy, performance and stamina, beetroot also contains betalain pigments that help form glutathione. Glutathione enables the body to neutralize toxins, cleansing and supporting liver function. Beetroot also contains potent antioxidants, is chemo-preventive and has anti-inflammatory action, reducing oxidative stress within the body. Researchers have also found that beetroot consumption will lower blood pressure. It is a natural blood cleaner and the fibre content in beetroot also helps sweep the digestive tract of waste and toxins while restoring healthy and regular bowel movements. Beetroot supports cognitive health by increasing blood flow to the brain- nitrates in beetroot convert to nitrites via the bacteria in our mouth that open blood vessels to increase blood flow and oxygen levels. Beetroot also contains alpha-lipoic acid which lowers glucose levels and prevents oxidative stress induced changes in people with diabetes.
Berries: Contained within berries are anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid polyphenol. Anthocyanins cause foods to be red, purple and blue. Polyphenols have been shown to hold beneficial effects for people with peripheral arterial disease. Berries, particularly raspberries, have a very low glycemic food and therefore have little impact on blood sugar, ultimately helping stabilize it. Berries offer high levels of ellagic acid, a polyphenol. Ellagic acid may be able to help prevent cancer, are anti-inflammatory that may alleviate symptoms of arthritis. The antioxidants that are high in berries help reduce the signs of aging by fighting free radicals found throughout the body. Berries contain the well-known potent vitamin C as well as antioxidant carotenoids and quercatin. Which berries?- Raspberries are higher in fibre an vitamin C, and they’ve been shown to ease arthritis pain and manage diabetes. Blueberries have a higher level of vitamin K, support digestion and benefit the skin. The Environmental Working Group tests different fruits and vegetables for pesticide and toxin contamination, and they have found berries are one of the most chemically sprayed foods there is. Frozen organic berries are easily found in supermarkets and make a great addition to your smoothie.
Cacao: Raw, powdered cacao is full of flavonoids, a part of the polyphenol antioxidant family. Cocoa comes from cacao however to create it, it is roasted at very high temperatures destroying all the good nutrients. Flavonoids benefit the cardiovascular system and may help in reducing your risk of stroke, asthma, cancer and heart disease. For each gram of cacao, you will find approximately 44 milligrams of flavonoids. The anti- aging antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory effects which can help with reducing inflammation. The flavanols in cacao help produce nitric oxide; this assists in relaxing blood vessels and improves blood supply and flow to your brain. They also help with the manufacturing of neurons in the brain and could be a good preventative of the 3pm sluggishness. Interestingly, cacao has been known to help reduce appetite by giving a sensation of fullness, decrease inflammation and regulate your energy use. With the addition of magnesium found in cacao powder, it may help in calcium absorption, therefore contributing to bone health and cardiovascular disease. Due to the synergist relationship of calcium and magnesium, if you are taking calcium supplements, the addition of magnesium in your diet will help metabolise the calcium properly. Magnesium helps reduce insomnia, weight gain, leg swelling, bloating, breast tenderness and period pain.
Chlorella: is a green freshwater alga and is considered one of the Super Greens. Not only is it a natural antibiotic, but is also known to be twice as effective in killing salmonella as antibiotics. It is high in antioxidants (which protect your cells) and more importantly, it’s unique healing properties means that it will bind to toxic metals and other chemicals helping your body to get rid of them.
Coconut Water: Very good for hydration. It has electrolytes which helps balance the body’s mineral content. This is a good substitute for hydration and will make your smoothie less dense compared to milk additions.
Collagen Powder: This is a major addition that gives the smoothie the ULTIMATE status- collagen is the glue that holds us together. For anti-ageing benefits through out the body. Read here for the research. The beauty too is that it is tasteless!
Mint: Great source of vitamin C and beta carotene (vitamin A), copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Mint aids in digestion, is helpful in relieving congestion of the respiratory tract, and lowers blood pressure.
Parsley: A powerful detoxifier, parsley aids digestion, removes toxins from the body, acts as a diuretic by flushing out the kidneys, and purifies the blood. It contains vitamin A, C, and E, folate, iron, and anti-oxidants.
Resistant Starch: The fibres contained in Green banana Lady Finger resistant starch are a prebiotic for the gut, feeding your microbiome (billions of tiny good bacteria which lives in your gut and controls much of your overall health). When the fibre including inulin, fermentable fibre, soluble fibre, dietary fibre and insoluble fibres of green lady fingers enter your digestive system they encourage production of digestive enzymes which nourish your good bacteria and in turn heals your gut. The fibre can improve and regulate bowel movements, as well as reducing symptoms in those suffering constipation or IBS. Often referred to as a second meal, resistant starch in this form allows you to eat once and have the satisfied feeling of eating twice with the side benefit of increasing metabolism and helping remove toxins. With good gut bacteria and the removal of toxins, better absorption can occur of micro-nutrients. The starch also contains the amino acid L- Tryptophan which converts to 5-HTP (important for the production of Serotonin for sleep, mood, libido, energy, appetite, and reduces anxiety), Magnesium (a vital catalyst in enzyme activity and muscle health), Potassium (important for the nervous system, blood pressure and heart function), Zinc (skin, nails, and hair zinc immune system, healing wounds, cognitive function and eye health) and Vitamin E (an antioxidant for skin, provides protection and maintains healthy eye and brain function).
Spinach/Kale: These leafy greens are great sources of amino acids (protein), calcium, beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamin K, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc, folate, and selenium. All round super foods, spinach and kale are great for strengthening the body, creating beautiful skin, boosting the immune system, and providing important antioxidants. Also, each is full of fibre which is great for cleansing the colon! A smoothie is a great way of getting leafy greens into your diet as they are essential for health and well-being and should always be included due to their rich density of vitamins and minerals.
Spirulina: is a blue/green alga. It is an excellent form of chlorophyll. It is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral. It mobilizes the immune B and T lymphocyte cells. It also rids the body of toxic metals. It is important to use high purity organic spirulina harvested in uncontaminated waters.
Some quick options are available with organic freeze dried vegetables and frozen organic berries. Why organic?- no pesticides and maintains the nutrient content of the food.
The Ultimate Smoothie:
1 handful baby spinach leaves/ 1 tsp organic freeze dried Kale powder (equals 13 tsp)
½ banana (frozen for summer)
½ large avocado or whole small avocado
1 tsp beetroot powder
1 tsp super greens
1 tablespoon of collagen powder
3/4 cup organic frozen berries.
2 cups of your choice of liquid (more for Spinach, less for Kale powder)
Add some nut butter and protein powder for a greater energy drink. This is ideal if you are using this as a meal replacement.
Add a handful of mint leaves or parsley for a different flavour.
2 tablespoons of raw cacao will provide additional nutrition and energy but don’t be surprised with the appearance of your smoothie! I love this flavour and is one of my favourite additions.
Highly nutritious mesquite powder has a lovely caramel flavour .With a low glycemic index , it is great alternative to regular sweeteners in baked goods and other foods including smoothies. High in protein, rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid L-Lysine
Blend well. Nutribullet and Ninja make economical smoothie blenders with large transportable containers, ideal for on the go. You can prepare the night before and blend before you head off to work.
The image below is an example of how to turn your smoothie into a smoothie bowl. Simply mix 3 tablespoons of chia seeds into your bowl of smoothie goodness and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or overnight. Chia seeds contain Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre, protein and carbohydrates. They expand in size by 10 to 15 times turning a liquid into a pudding! They also help stabilize blood sugar. You can add your favourite yoghurt on top.