Myrna Phillips, Nutritionist
Smoothies are very popular items in the modern health scene. Fruit or vegetable smoothies are considered generally very healthy, but the contribution to one’s health largely depends on the ingredients that comprise the smoothie.
Ideally, people need a combination of five to nine different fruits and vegetables to maintain positive health. Fruit and veggies provide the required vitamins, minerals and other nutrients the body needs. However, in this busy world, most people find it difficult to consume the required fruits and vegetables daily. The smoothie, a blend of either fruits or vegetables, or both, mixed in a blender is a quick and easier way to get the required nutrients. The blend is called a smoothie because mixed with water, fruit juice, milk, or yogurt, the brew has a smooth, easy to consume texture.
It can be a misconception to assume all fruit smoothies are generally healthy. Some smoothies, especially if blended with cows’ milk, and/or ice cream can lead to weight gain, Other smoothies may not provide the required amount of fiber needed to keep one’s digestive system regular.
If one needs to get the optimum supplies of vitamins and minerals, it’s best to prepare smoothies from fruits like papaya, pineapple, bananas, mangoes, pears, apples, melons, orange, citrus, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries. This smoothie is strong in Vitamin C and potassium, nutrients which build the immune system, cardiac health, stabilizes blood pressure and the nervous system.
For those interested in high fiber intake, important for healthy digestive systems, smoothies consisting of pears, apples, kiwis, various berries, and papaya are very helpful. This smoothie also aids in building good cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar.
Green vegetable smoothies, including lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumbers, green peppers, are an excellent source of fiber and make a very potent fiber smoothie. This smoothie is also rich in iron and calcium contributing to healthy bones, and teeth.
Some people may prefer vegetable smoothies that provide vitamin A (for eye health) and potassium and iron. They should blend smoothies consisting of pumpkin, carrots.
Honey adds to the flavor of vegetable smoothies. A fruit, or ginger, can be added to enhance the flavor.
To gain weight banana smoothies are useful, blended with cow’s, almond, or soy milk, ice-cream, honey, cocoa powder, nuts, and whey protein powder. This smoothie should be consumed daily of one is very slim, but when weight gain is noticeably reduced so as not to be overweight.
Smoothies can be prepared at night and refrigerated, consumed for breakfast, and taken to work. Since water is important to the diet, it’s useful to blend a smoothie with water instead of milk or cream. For the weight conscious smoothie can be consumed as a meal; a fruit smoothie for breakfast and a veggie smoothie for dinner.
To ensure smoothies have sufficient fruit or vegetable add only half-cup of liquid (water, juice, or milk) to the blender per blend. Usually fill the blender to capacity with required fruit or vegetables, blend approximately 2 minutes, pausing intermittingly to check the texture of the smoothie.