Smoothies are a nutritious and satisfying way to help you get your 5 (or more) a day. Research has shown 7-10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day to be beneficial (that's 6-8 portions of vegetables and 2-3 portions of fruit!). This can be a pretty big task as there are only so many hours in a day!
This is where smoothies come to the rescue.
The ideal healthy smoothie will have a blend of good fats and protein, a helping of vegetables for maximum nutrition and some fruit for sweetness!
Here are the simple steps to making the perfect smoothie:
Choose your base. Some good options include: - Filtered water - Unsweetened milks such as coconut, almond or hazelnut - Chilled herbal tea e.g. green tea, peppermint or lemon and ginger - Juice of one lemon plus water
Add a little sweetness. To ensure your smoothie tastes seriously good as well as being nutritious, you may like to add some natural sweetness from fruits such as berries, apples and zesty fruits.
Some good options: - Apples and pears. These contain the soluble fibre pectin and this soothes the intestinal wall, reducing constipation and improving the balance of bacteria in the gut
- Blueberries. These are packed with antioxidants, vitamin K, fibre and vitamin C.
- Pineapples. These contain a wealth of nutrients including bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme that has been found effective in digestive health, pain relief and inflammation. Pineapples are also a rich source of fibre. But be careful to not have too much as they are quite high in sugar.
- Lemons and limes. If your lemon or lime is un-waxed and organic, you may want to add some of the zest to your smoothie. The zest contains even higher levels of nutrients than the juice. Citrus fruits contain good amounts of vitamin C, which helps to support your immune system
Add in additional veggies, spices and greens. Examples include: ginger, cinnamon and leafy greens such as kale, spinach, watercress, lettuce and chard. Leafy greens are rich in folate, vitamin C, magnesium and beta-carotene, which can be converted into Vitamin A, important for immune function.
The key to the perfect smoothie is experimenting and practice. You'll find that different flavours and spices complement each other perfectly, whilst others can really clash.
Here are some tried and tested smoothie recipes!
B L A C K F O R E S T G A T E A U
200ml of coconut yoghurt
2 tsps of cacao powder
G R E E N S M O O T H I E
1 large handful spinach
5g fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
1 stick of celery
B E E T R O O T B R A I N B O O S T
1 red beetroot
A N T I - I N F L A M M A T O R Y T W I S T
5g fresh turmeric root
10g of fresh ginger root
A few twists of black pepper
1/3 fresh pineapple including core
Juice of 1 fresh lime
G R E E N P O W E R
1/2 head chicory
1 tsp barley grass powder
1 celery stick
1/2 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/3 bulb fennel
Juice of 1 fresh lime