Supercharged Summer Smoothies

Supercharged Summer SmoothiesIce cold and bursting with flavour and nutrition, smoothies are the invention of enterprising California beach shack owners, who improved on the puréed fruit drinks of Brazil around the mid-sixties. They whizzed up fresh strawberries with orange juice, bananas, and lots of ice, and called their chilled refresher a smoothie… and a multi-billion dollar industry was born.

Smoothies are the darlings of the healthy drink world. They taste divine; they can be as nutritious as a salad and as satisfying as a light lunch; they are convenient and easy to make, take away, and clean up after; and they enrich our diets without adding too many calories or unwanted fat.

Juices versus Smoothies

Both are made with fruits and vegetables, both are tasty and easy to drink. The differences in these vitamin-packed drinks are in the added ingredients and the equipment used to make them. Juices are made from fresh fruits and vegetables, and that’s it. You must have a juicing machine to separate the juice from the pulp of the fruit or vegetable. Juices are the pure water and nutrients, including the pigments of the fruits and vegetables they are made from, so they are thin and range in colour from bright green to yellow, orange to red,  pink to even blue.

Smoothies, on the other hand, are made from a range of many more ingredients. They too are made from fresh fruits and/or vegetables, but they have some liquid (fruit or vegetable juice, broth, milk or yogurt) added, and may include nuts, seeds, ice cream, frozen fruits or vegetables, supplements, and other health products. Smoothies are creamy and thick, and tend to be lighter or more muted in  colour than their juice counterparts.

Smoothie Benefits

They’re thick, they taste delicious, and best of all, smoothies are a delicious way to deliver whole fruits and vegetables with fibre intact into your body. Modern stressful, fast-paced lifestyles, maturing tastes, and a genuine concern for healthier options have resulted in contemporary smoothies that reflect sophisticated trends of the twenty-first century.

Most health professionals agree that to be healthy we need a minimum of five fruits and vegetables daily, and to actually prevent diseases and operate at optimum health, we need more like 10 servings every day. On average, one smoothie delivers three or more servings of fruits or vegetables. Smoothies can make a considerable contribution to your daily consumption of fibre, fruits, and vegetables and, because they are made in the blender, a machine that most households already have, they are fast and easy to clean up after making. This makes them good breakfast and snack choices that easily fit into the demands of work and family. If you teach your children good smoothie habits and always have fresh fruits, vegetables, and other smoothie ingredients on hand, as older children and teens they too will be making their own incredibly healthy after-school snacks.

Here are what fruits and vegetables contain that makes them so important to your health:

Fibre – only fruits and vegetables contain soluble and insoluble fibre which controls blood glucose levels to prevent diabetes, reduces cholesterol and risk of heart disease, reduces the risk of diverticulosis, colon cancer, and other cancers.
Antioxidants – found mostly in fruits and vegetables (along with red wine and dark chocolate), they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease; reduce cell damage and thus prevent aging and cancers.
Phytonutrients – those in fruits and vegetables prevent specific human ailments, including arthritis, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Vitamins and minerals – more than any other foods, fruits and vegetables are high in these essential nutrients that build and repair cells and tissue; protect against colds and ‘flu; and keep the organs and glands functioning at optimum.

Supercharge Smoothies with Nutritious Ingredients

Starting with fresh fruits and vegetables, and adding dairy ingredients or dairy substitutions, nuts and seeds, legumes, herbs, and other healthy ingredients, smoothies can be the cooling summer drink you crave, as well as the healthy nutrient-crammed super food your body needs.

Here are some of the boosts you can make with just a few ingredients and your blender:

Brain boosters – choline: it’s the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and it helps prevent memory loss associated with aging. Best smoothie ingredients: lecithin, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Vitamin C: a potent cognitive-enhancing antioxidant that boosts brainpower. Best smoothie ingredients: cabbage, kale, parsley, broccoli, strawberries, papayas, and mangoes.
Boron sharpens short-term memory and attention, protects against aging. Best smoothie ingredients: a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including avocadoes, bananas, almonds, and walnuts.
Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to the brain and is widely used in Europe for treating dementia. Add drops of the tincture or stir a teaspoon of powdered ginkgo into smoothies.
Energy Chargers – your body burns fuel for energy from three food sources – fat, carbohydrates, and protein – but it needs specific vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to unlock the energy in food. High quality essential amino acids from fruits and vegetables are a good source of (mostly incomplete) protein and they supply the necessary nutrients for metabolism.

Here are just a few of the energy chargers your body uses:

  • Complete protein in small amounts, combined with fresh raw fruits and vegetables, gives you both the amino acids and the phytonutrients to best use them together in one drink. Best ingredients: whey powder, low fat yogurt or soft cheese, nuts, seeds.
  • B-complex vitamins work with enzymes to convert carbohydrates to glucose, the body’s fuel. Best ingredients: stone-ground oat flakes, nuts, seeds, cooked legumes, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.
  • Potassium carries a small positive electrical charge and plays a key role in energy metabolism (low levels cause chronic fatigue and exhaustion). Best ingredients: most raw fruits and vegetables, including parsley, garlic, spinach, broccoli, carrots, celery, radishes, cauliflower, watercress, cantaloupes, tomatoes, beets, and peaches.
  • Selenium is a mineral that helps relieve fatigue and energizes you. Best ingredients: chard, turnips, garlic, cabbage, carrots, oranges, and grapes.
    Ginseng is used to provide energy, among other things, and is easy to add to smoothies.

Glowing Skin – vitamins A, C, and E are essential to building, protecting, and maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Best smoothie ingredients: cabbage, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus fruit, apricots, mangoes, carrots, spinach, kale, parsley, wheat germ, nuts, and seeds
Immune Builders – raw fruits and vegetables impact your immune system in a huge way by supplying vitamins, minerals, enzymes, essential amino acids, natural antibiotics, plant hormones, phytonutrients, along with soluble and insoluble fibre. If that weren’t enough, raw foods are ‘alive’ with energy from the sun.
Here are some of the specific immune-building nutrients that smoothies supply:
Vitamin A and carotenes pack a wallop in fighting cancers. Best ingredients: kale, parsley, carrots, spinach, beets, watercress, mangoes, bell peppers, cantaloupes, and apricots.
Vitamin B complex is vital for proper immune function.
Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage, stimulate the immune system, and prevent and treat infections. Best ingredients: kale, parsley, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, strawberries, papayas, cantaloupe, and mangoes.
Copper is required for normal development of immune cells. Best ingredients: carrots, garlic, ginger, turnip, papaya, and apple.


Frosted Berry Smoothie(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup soy or rice milk
  • ½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ¼ cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 tsp powdered ginkgo or ginseng, optional

1) In a blender, combine soy milk, yogurt, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and ginkgo if using. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth.


(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup soy or rice or coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Brazil nuts
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ or steel-cut rolled oats
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

1) In a blender, combine soy milk, strawberries, banana, nuts, oats, cod liver oil, if using, and cinnamon. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth.


Minted Melon Smoothie Recipe(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 kiwi fruits (use organic only), quartered
  • ½ honeydew melon, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh peppermint
  • 4 to 6 ice cubes

1) In a blender, combine pineapple juice, lime juice, kiwifruits, melon, and peppermint. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth. Add ice and process using the chop or pulse function until ice is finely crushed and drinkable.


(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 orange, sectioned and seeded
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 apple, quartered

1) In a blender, combine orange juice, pomegranate seeds, orange, carrot, and apple. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth.


(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup tomato juice or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • ½ cucumber, cut into chunks
  • ¼ clove garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1) In a blender, combine tomato juice, tomatoes, apple, cucumber, garlic, and cilantro. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth.


(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt or tofu
  • 1 mango, quartered
  • 1 kiwi fruit, quartered
  • ½ papaya
  • 4 frozen banana chunks

1) In a blender, combine orange juice, yogurt, mango, kiwifruit, papaya, and banana. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth.


(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain yogurt or silken tofu
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp wheat germ

1) In a blender, combine yogurt, blueberries, blackberries, banana, and wheat germ. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth.


(Makes 1 serving)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 beet, chopped and lightly steamed
  • ¼ fennel bulb, sliced
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

1) In a blender, broth, beet, fennel, avocado, and ginger. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth.


(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup carrot or tomato juice
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen spinach
  • ½ cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 6 ice cubes

1) In a blender, combine carrot juice, apple juice, spinach, cucumber, apple, and basil. Secure lid and blend from low to high (if using a variable speed blender) for 30 seconds or until smooth. Add ice and process using the chop or pulse function until ice is finely crushed and drinkable.

Write a Comment

view all comments