More than just fruit – how to make a smoothie with greens

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Very easy to make using a blender, green smoothies have become a staple of healthy diets, whether raw, vegan, or otherwise. They are prepared by adding fresh green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, collard Swiss chard, and wild greens to a fruit smoothie base (typically consisting of a banana and frozen berries).

For example, the simplest of green smoothies could contain one banana, 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries, one cup of fresh greens (a couple of chard leaves and a handful of spinach), and pure water to obtain the desired consistency. Many raw foodists may add other ingredients to green smoothies, such as seeds and nut milk, usually for more flavor and better health benefits. Some smoothies can be packed with enough fibers and protein to replace an entire meal, and are an excellent choice of food for weight loss diets.

While a regular blender usually gets the job done quite nicely, those looking for a time efficient device, as well as the ultimate smoothie experience, usually opt for one of the top two brands on the market – the Vitamix or the Blendtec blenders. More expensive than regular blenders, they are also considerably more powerful, and can turn any fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds into a smooth paste within just a few seconds. The Vitamix can sell for up to $500 on Amazon (some models are even more expensive), but most buyers say that a powerful blender is well worth the investment.

Meet the Boutenkos

The Boutenko family, commonly known as The Raw Family, are green smoothie advocates that have turned their attention to nutrition in 1993, when all family members (the parents and their two children) inexplicably came down with various ailments, including asthma, obesity, diabetes, chronic fatigue, and hyperthyroidism.

Through dietary and lifestyle adjustments, they were able to overcome their many health problems and eventually attain vibrant health. Since their recovery, they’ve dedicated their time to educating other families about natural healing and healthy nutrition, through a series of websites, films, lectures and books. Green smoothies are central to The Raw Family’s diet, and several of their books, websites and lectures focus on educating people about the many benefits of fresh green vegetables.

Vitoria Boutenko has written books about the benefits of consuming greens and green smoothies. Green For Life, published in 2010, takes the reader through all the advantages of adding more greens into any diet, the easiest way possible – by consuming green smoothies. Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Towards Natural Health, published in 2009, explains how any person can consume more greens than ever before with 200 unique and easy to prepare green smoothie recipes.

Top 6 benefits of green smoothies

1. Support optimal health. Green smoothies are very healthy, with the optimum fruit-greens ratio for human consumption being 60% fruit and 40% greens. Green leafy vegetables can also influence pre-existing medical conditions. For example, a diet high in greens can help lower blood cholesterol, help manage hypertension, unclog arteries and promote overall cardiovascular health.

2. Loaded with nutrients. Green leafy vegetables are not only rich in vitamins, including vitamins C, A, E, B2, B6, and K, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, copper and zinc, but also contain generous amounts of folate, niacin, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Yes, all of these vital nutrients can be found in green leafy vegetables and can be included in a diet by consuming a couple of green smoothies each day.

3. Easy to digest. They are easy to digest and rich in fiber, which protects the stomach lining and improves colon health.

4. Support blood health. Chlorophyll, a green plant molecule that resembles human blood, was found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Holistic health practitioner, Dr. Ann Wigmore, explains that consuming chlorophyll is much like receiving a blood transfusion, and some evidence suggests that it may actually help improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of human red blood cells.

5. Easy to prepare. Green smoothies are very easy to make, and allow for a lot of creative freedom. There are hundreds of green smoothie recipe variations to be found on the Internet, with new smoothie recipes being discussed every day on nutrition blogs and forums. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your green smoothies by adding in new ingredients, within reason, of course.

6. Ideal for kids. Green smoothies are also a great way to add more fruits and greens into the diets of children, who can sometimes be capricious when it comes to food. Adding in a couple of figs or dates can make a smoothie sweeter, while still preserving all of its nutritional benefits!

Sources for this article include:

http://www.nutritional-supplements-health-guide.com/chlorophyll-benefits.html
http://vegetarian.about.com/od/beverage1/qt/What-Are-Green-Smoothies.htm
http://greensmoothiesblog.com/health-benefits-green-smoothie/
http://sergeiboutenko.com/about/
http://greensmoothiesblog.com/who-is-victoria-boutenko/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinach#Nutrition
http://rawfoodhealthwatch.com/raw-food/green-smoothies-recipe/

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