When people talk about drinking a “green smoothie” or a “green shake”, they are usually referring to a drink that they buy from a juice bar or make at home. It contains a number of GREEN plant-based foods.
These green smoothies usually include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many people have chosen to enhance these green smoothies with the addition of some particular green foods (wheatgrass, spirulina, activated pre-sprouted barley grass, etc.). The vibrant green in some plant-based foods is chlorophyll and this is what everyone is looking for.
Benefits of Green Smooothies:
High chlorophyll content
- Chlorophyll is actually responsible for giving plants their green appearance. However, it is also a powerful nutrient. It is a excellent source of vitamins (such as vitamin A, C, E and K, as well as antioxidantsand minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium). Just as chlorophyll provides energy to plants – vital for photosynthesis, it can provide us with a rich source of nutrients, support the process of digestion, brighten dull skin and promote the production of beneficial bacteria.
- Chlorophyll is known to have a similar chemical structure to haemoglobin (the molecule in our red blood cells that transports oxygen and encourages the production of red blood cells in our bodies). Chlorophyll can support overall health and wellbeing by cleansing the body of toxins and providing a boost of vitamins and minerals to energise and reduce fatigue.It does this by improving oxygen flow.
- Chlorophyll is a known natural detoxifierand deodoriser. It can also support overall digestion and gut health, immunity, an alkaline blood pH (associated with good health) and organ function, while reducing symptoms of tiredness and fatigue.
High nutrient content
The very nature of a green smoothie means that it is likely to be packed with plenty of good stuff! Such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes etc. – provided you are using plenty of (preferably seasonal and organic) fruit, vegetables, grasses, sprouts etc. You are pretty much guaranteed a boost of nutrients. You are taking in these nutritious foods in a raw state. This means that you are accessing an even higher level of nutrients, which might have been destroyed during the cooking process. It is far easier for your body to digest this in a liquid form as well as absorb and utilise the nutrients!
High fibre content
By simply including fruit, vegetables and other plant-based foods in your green smoothie, you are going to be increasing your daily intake of quality dietary fibre. These kinds of foods are naturally rich in fibre (soluble and insoluble). You can even boost their fibre content by adding a “topping”, such as chia seeds, or flaxseed.
You may know that fibre is a key ingredient to a healthy, varied and balanced diet. It is an essential component to being “regular” and having great digestive health. It can also play an important role in keeping the gut “clean” and generally detoxifying the body.
Admittedly, you might not immediately think of PROTEIN when you think of a green smoothie. But you might be amazed to learn that a number of green foods actually contain a surprising amount of protein.
Remember, protein is a macronutrient required for almost every process in the body. Some green foods even offer a complete protein (i.e. contain all essential amino acids), and can therefore rival traditional animal sources. Examples of complete and balanced plant protein sources include wheatgrass, hemp, soy (please opt for non-GM) and quinoa. These vegan protein sources do not contain the saturated fat, contaminants and other ‘nasties’ associated with animal protein. They are lean and nutritious.
But can a green smoothie help me lose weight?
In short, the answer is “yes”, they can!
Green smoothies can help with natural weight loss in so many different ways:
1 Energy levels
Firstly, by fuelling your body with a variety of high quality, essential nutrients on a daily basis, you are ensuring that you have the energy to be able to do the exercise necessary for weight loss. Your body needs to be working optimally in order for weight loss to even be possible and you are offering all the necessary support to the various organs and processes within using a green smoothie. This means an efficient digestive system, metabolism, a low toxic load and balanced hormones.
If you look at metabolism specifically (you may not be exactly sure what it is, but you know you need it), both the high fibre and protein content in green smoothies can support a faster metabolism and therefore natural weight loss. The connection between fibre and burning fat is well known and shows obvious health benefits. Soluble fibres, such as beta-glucan and glucomannan, mix with water in the gut to form a viscous, gel-like substance. That slows down how fast the stomach releases digested food into the gut. This in turn, helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Fermentation is the process of digesting and breaking down soluble fibre. It produces short-chain fatty acids. These may help regulate your fat metabolism by increasing the rate of fat burning or decreasing the rate of fat storage – how this works is not completely understood yet.
3 Protein and metabolism
Green smoothies can be excellent sources of high-quality plant-based protein. Diets that are adequate in protein are often associated with successful weight loss because protein helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. It activates the body’s signals that reduce appetite and cravings and it helps in building muscle mass. The more muscle on your body, and the less fat, the higher your metabolic rate. A wide range of nutrients and a good amount of fibre and protein are key ingredients in the metabolic process. By adding these elements to your diet, you will not only improve your health, but your metabolism as well.
So remember: green smoothies, with a combination of healthy eating and an active lifestyle, will assist in weight loss.
How to make a healthy green smoothie?
They should be:
- varied (a wide range of different fruits, berries, vegetables, sprouts, grasses, seeds and other nutritious ingredients every day)
- organic- ideally, only use organic ingredients in your smoothies. There is little point trying to enhance your health, only to unintentionally increase your intake of harmful chemicals/ Organic produce also tends to have a higher level of nutrients, such as antioxidants (because of the treatment of the soil during the farming process).
- “boosted” with the addition of highly nutritious “superfood” It’s pretty difficult to incorporate foods such as wheatgrass, activated pre-sprouted barley, acai berries, spirulina etc, into your meals every day. Some of the most nutritious foods in nature are in grass or seaweed form, so the best way to include these in your green smoothies, for maximum nutritional benefit, is to find and use them in supplement form.
Many juice boosters and superfood supplements available, are now also organic. For instance, check out GreeNourish Complete. This unique organic superfood combination contains an incredible 35 foods (including vegetables, grasses, fruits, berries, herbs, mushrooms, sprouts and seeds) PLUS bio-active enzymes – all in one green powder.
GreeNourish Complete – Organic vegan nutrition made easy, with naturally high food form vitamin C content.