Fruits smoothies are cool and refreshing. Plus because they contain fruit, they just seem healthy. But are they?
Well consider this. CHOICE Analytical analysed 95 fruit-based drinks from popular fast food chains, including Boost Juice, Donut King, Gloria Jean’s, New Zealand Natural and Wendys. 81 were rated as high in sugar (more than 7.5 grams per 100ml). For a 600ml smoothie, that’s a whopping 45grams of sugar (that’s about 11 teaspoons of sugar!).
The Australian Government’s diet guidelines do not recommend a specific amount of sugar per day, but they do caution that adults, children and adolescents should “consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing sugar.”
To give you an idea of the quantity acceptable, The American Heart Association recommends women should have no more than 25.2 grams a day (six teaspoons), men no more than nine 37.8 grams (nine teaspoons) a day.
It’s why green smoothies have been catching on lately as the healthy drink of choice. Green smoothies are made by blending green raw leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, celery, parsley or broccoli with fruit such as oranges, kiwis, apples, mangoes, pears, and bananas, some of which may be frozen, and water or ice.
Here are 12 reasons for you to make a green smoothie part of your daily ritual:
1) They are good for you – Green smoothies are a low fat “whole food” beverage that provides you with nutrition, vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates and fibre.
2) You’ll lose weight naturally – Green smoothies are low in calories plus they are very filling. So you’ll find yourself craving less junk food, unhealthy sweets, sugars and fats and settling for smaller portions come dinner time.
3) They’re an easy way to “eat” more fruits and vegetables – If you find it a challenge to get your recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables, green smoothies are the answer.
4) They taste great – Don’t eat enough make vegetables due to the taste? Green smoothies make taste a non-issue because if you do it right, the taste of the fruit overpowers the taste of the vegetables.
5) They are easy to make – The only equipment you need is a blender and a something to store them in. Once you get the hang of it, your daily green smoothie batch will take you less than five minutes to make.
6) They are easy to digest – If you suffer from indigestion, green smoothies could ease your discomfort as they are extremely easy to digest.
7) You’ll be less susceptible to disease and illness – High in antioxidants and phytonutrients, with each green smoothie you are ingesting a wide variety of natural substances that will contribute to your optimum health and well-being.
8) Easy way to get more fibre in our diet – According to the WebMD website, the average adult only eats 15 grams of fibre per day. The Institute of Medicine says women need 25 grams of fibre per day and men, 38 grams per day. Fibre, essential for good colon health, keeps your bowels in working order.
9) You’ll be enhancing your immune system – Chlorophyll, a green pigment found in algae and plants, not only strengthens your immune system, it is also known to improve the health of your circulatory, digestive, and detoxification systems.
10) You can take them anywhere you go – Buy a good thermal container and you can take your green smoothie with you when you’re out and about.
11) You can perfect the taste until you get it just right – You can use set recipes of course but you can also experiment until you get the taste just right.
12) They are a good way to get kids to eat their vegetables – It can be very difficult to convince children that they need to eat their fruits and vegetables. It’s much easier if you tempt them with a refreshing drink that tastes great.
To balance flavor and nutrition the typical ratio in a green smoothie is about 60% fruit to 40% vegetables. Other things you can add to your smoothie: coconut water, green tea, guarana and ginseng, whey protein, acai berries, almonds, hemp seeds or flax.
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to experience the health benefits waiting for you in green smoothies. I’ll get you started with the breakfast drink that Dr. Oz swears by. This “green drink”, high in fibre, low in calories and rich in vitamins, makes 3-4 servings (about 28-30 oz).
Ingredients: 2 cups spinach; 1/2 cucumber; 1/4 head of celery; 1/2 bunch parsley; 1 bunch mint; 3 carrots; 2 apples; 1/4 orange; 1/4 lime; 1/4 lemon; 1/4 pineapple.
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender. Serve and enjoy!