Are Green Smoothies That Good For You?
Green shakes are excellent for incorporating leafy greens, like kale and spinach, into your diet. According to WebMD, these drinks are rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. They are also rich in fiber, which lowers your glucose and cholesterol levels.
Additionally, a healthy smoothie can be taken at any time of the day, even at breakfast. Green shakes are also dairy-free, vegan, and are great supplementary food when you want to lose weight.
Some leafy greens, however, may contain significant thallium levels, which could cause nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, hair loss, and other side effects. But this issue is still a subject of debate, since there isn’t any peer-reviewed research yet to be released. As a word of caution though, you may want to consume them in moderation.
What Greens To Use In Smoothie?
The great thing about green smoothies is that there are numerous leafy greens you can use. Many of these ingredients are sold at your local grocery stores or supermarket. Below are some of the more popular green leaves that you use to elevate your green smoothie experience:
This healthy cruciferous leafy vegetable is known for its crisp texture and earthy flavor. While these greens are a bit bitter, they contain antioxidants, calcium, iron, and vitamin K. They are great for removing unwanted toxins, such as free radicals, from your body. According to research posted in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, kale has the credentials to be called a superfood.
This low-calorie ingredient is known for its dark green leaves and neutral flavor. It’s rich in calcium, fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, and K. Furthermore, it also contains antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein, which are suitable for your eyesight.
This marshland plant is one of the most recognizable leafy greens, thanks to its long stalks. It’s loaded with essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate, vitamins C and K, and vitamin B6, according to NutritionalValue.Org’s study. Celery also contains luteolin, which helps protect your skin from UV light damage.
While it contains lower amounts of fiber, romaine lettuce is packed with magnesium, potassium, calcium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It also contains beta carotene, which is later converted into vitamin A in the body. It also has a more neutral taste and perfect for mild flavor smoothies.
Beet greens are an excellent leafy greens alternative since they are a bit cheaper. While they are bitter, beet greens are packed with fiber, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. They also have low calorie and cholesterol content. Consuming beet greens can help improve your digestion and help fight inflammation.
Aside from these five, you can also try other plant-based green leaves such as arugula, collard greens, swiss chard, dandelion greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, and watercress.
Is It OK To Drink Green Smoothie Every Day?
Green smoothies are great for people who want to get their daily recommended serving of fruits and veggies. They are easier to absorb and can compliment a lot of recipes and dishes. However, it is recommended to consume them in moderation.
It’s OK to drink green shakes every day, but never go over two cups each day. A diet consisting only of green smoothies also does more harm than good. Furthermore, some ingredients of green shakes may cause allergic reactions to some people.
If you have pre-existing conditions that you think might be impacted by drinking green smoothies, it’s best to consult your physician first.
How To Make Green Smoothies?
If this is your first time creating green smoothies, then the first thing you should know is that it’s nothing like mixing a regular smoothie. One of the most common rookie mistakes about blending a green smoothie is that people tend to throw ingredients in the blender without correctly measuring their amounts first.
There is also a general ratio when creating green smoothies. Your best green smoothie mix should have:
- 60% ripe fruits
- 20% liquid base
- 20% leafy greens
Ripe fruits like frozen pineapple, avocado, apple, grapes, pear, frozen mango, berries, etc., are excellent choices. These ingredients will make a green smoothie sweeter. They are also excellent sources of essential nutrients.
Other than water, the popular liquid base includes unsweetened almond milk, regular milk, coconut milk, and coconut water. These liquids will give your mixture a smoother blend while adding more volume. Adding milk will give it a creamier texture and that frothiness.
We already discussed your leafy green options, like kale and frozen spinach, above. They essentially are what’s going to give the green smoothie it’s signature color. These ingredients also provide significant vitamins and minerals to your smoothie.
Below are the simple steps on how to make a green smoothie:
- Chop all the ingredients into smaller pieces so they can easily fit inside your blender. If you want a cold green smoothie, make sure to use frozen fruit instead of adding ice cubes. This procedure will prevent your smoothie from being too watery.
- Get the right ratio of each component mentioned in the recipe above using a measuring cup. If you plan to prepare five cups of green smoothies, that will equate to three cups of ripe fruits, two cups of liquid, and two cups of leafy greens.
- Next, put the green leaves and the liquid base first on the blender. If your blender has a “smoothie” pre-program settings, choose it. If not, blend slowly first before increasing the speed until you get a smooth mixture.
- Add the fruits and blend them again using the same “smoothie” program or the slow-to-fast technique. Mixing the liquid and green leaves before the fruits will prevent chunky bits of green leaves from floating around your best green smoothie.
- If the green smoothie is a bit bitter, you can use a few natural sweeteners like honey or molasses. You can also add lemon extract to the recipe to cut through the overly sweet or grassy flavor.
Blending Tips for Green Smoothies
While the recipe and steps for creating simple green smoothies are few and simple, perfecting the mixture takes a bit of practice. To help you minimize your mistakes and make a green smoothie recipe of your own, below are some practical tips:
- Use frozen fruit if you want a creamier and thicker smoothie. Some supermarkets also sell them at a much lower price than their fresh counterparts. Not only does it save you time, but it also saves you money.
- If you want the recipe for an entirely green colored smoothie, use yellow and red fruits separately. Hence, don’t mix cherries and strawberries with frozen mango and peaches. This step will prevent your smoothie from having a brown color. But, if you’re OK with a darker colored smoothie, then we are all for it.
- Not a fan of a green smoothie recipe? Then you can use blueberries and blackberries to create a purple smoothie.
- Invest in a powerful blender, especially if your current one feels underpowered. A blender with a 500-watt motor or higher can easily crush frozen greens. They are also great for preparing smoothies since they provide excellent blending consistencies while retaining the nutrients of your smoothie ingredients.
Additional Nutrients To Add Into Your Green Smoothie?
Another significant aspect of green smoothies is you can further enhance their flavor and nutrition. You can experiment by adding a few extra ingredients and see if it is to your liking or not. To make this recipe, below are some of our suggestions:
You can usually buy ground flaxseed meals at health food stores and supermarkets. Aside from being a great thickening agent in smoothies, they also bring in omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, which lowers heart disease risk.
The remarkable thing about chia seeds is you can easily slip them into your smoothies without affecting their flavor. They also contain omega-3 fat and fibers. Some of their health benefits include reducing inflammation and aiding in weight loss. Hemp seeds are also a great option.
Yogurt or Protein Powder
If you are trying to gain muscles or weight, you can add half a yogurt cup or a scoop of protein powder into your smoothie. Don’t forget to consume this smoothie after your workout to help replenish your protein and loss energy.
If you want your green smoothie recipes to have a more exciting flavor, try adding matcha, which is green tea. This ingredient is rich in EGCG catechin, which can prevent type 2 diabetes and cancer.
More About Green Smoothies
How Do I Sweeten my Green Smoothie?
There are several ways you can sweeten your green smoothie recipes. The natural way is to add sweet fruits like frozen banana and apples. They make the smoothie creamier and thicker. Additionally, it balances out the earthly or grassy flavors you get from green leaves. You can also add a bit of sugar or other kinds of sweeteners.
Is spinach or kale better for smoothies?
Both kale and spinach are excellent choices for green shakes. However, these green leaves offer different nutritional values from one another. Kale contains more vitamin C, while spinach gives you more vitamin A, vitamin K, and folate. In terms of taste, fresh spinach offers a neutral flavor, while kale is on the bitter side.
Which greens are better for kids’ smoothies?
Almost every leafy greens are great for kid’s smoothies. However, they should be taken in moderation. Collard greens, arugula, collard, and kale are all nutritious and packed with vitamins. However, since kids tend to be picky about what they eat, choose a smoothie recipe with a neutral taste like fresh spinach and lettuce.
Do green smoothies help you lose weight?
In some ways, yes, since some leafy greens, like frozen spinach, have fiber, which aids digestion. You can also use it to alleviate some of your cravings. However, the other ingredients you put on the green smoothie recipe also determine if you will lose weight from drinking it. Sugary fruits, peanut butter and milk tend to help you gain weight rather than lose some.
How long can I keep a green smoothie in the fridge?
You can keep a green smoothie recipe in your refrigerator for a maximum of 48 hours or two days. Just make sure that the smoothie is in an air-tight container to save a bit of freshness. For the best green smoothie experience, consume it immediately right after making them.
What is the best time to drink green smoothies?
You can take a green smoothie recipe any time of the day. However, it’s recommended you take them in the morning if you want to fuel your day. Breakfast smoothies made of greens, oats, and bananas are great for people on the go. You can also make green shakes before and after your workouts.
How much green smoothie should I drink a day?
Nutritionists and health experts are somewhat divided on how much green smoothie you can take in a day. However, the most common answer is between 8 oz and 16 oz or one to two cups a day. It would help if you also drank your green smoothie in moderation to be on the safer side.
Does green smoothie make you poop?
Green smoothies are rich in fibers, which aids your digestion. Fibers are known for cleaning the digestive tract, which in turn promotes fecal extraction. Fiber can also help in solidifying the stool by absorbing the water and adding bulk to it. This process also decreases your chance of constipation.