Are green smoothies good for you? Of course, they are, but you have to avoid some common smoothie mistakes…
Smoothie vs juicing
What to prefer? Smoothie or juicing?
Juicing is an excellent choice if you want to boost your nutrient intake.
For example, if you feel sick maybe you should eat healthier, in order to help your immune system fight the diseases.
Symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose mean that you maybe have the flu or the common cold.
Headaches and fatigue are also very common symptoms.
So, how juicing can benefit you?
Benefits of juicing
Juice doesn’t contain any fiber meaning that the body needs only a small fraction of energy to digest the food and absorb the nutrients from it.
When we drink juices, our bodies digest almost instantly the nutrients.
Is this important? Yes, if you feel sick and want vitamins as soon as possible.
Prefer to eat healthy food, rich in vitamins and other micronutrients.
Vitamins coming from food are more effective than any pill, as they are wisely put together by nature, along with other micronutrients.
The combination of macro and microelements makes food a better choice.
A smaller dose of food-origin vitamin can be equally -or even more- effective than a greater dose coming from supplements.
Scientists, from the University of Otago, from the Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science, studied the effect of both synthetic vitamin C and vitamin C derived from food. They suggest that they are equally bioavailable.
But…They said that vitamin C from whole food is preferable. Why?
Because, when we eat an orange, for instance, we simultaneously consume numerous other macronutrients, micronutrients, and other phytochemicals, which provide additional health benefits (1).
After all, it’s easier to drink the juice from 3 oranges, than eat them. You’ll get almost all the nutrients from oranges, faster and easier.
If you want to help your body’s defense mechanisms, that’s a brilliant way to do so.
Side effects of juicing
Juicing removes all the helpful dietary fibers. Moreover, fruit juice can increase blood sugar instantly.
Rich in sugars – Increase blood glucose
Consider that fruit juices can be high in sugars, like fructose. This can affect blood sugar. People with diabetes want to keep blood glucose as steady as possible. An instant blood sugar rise can be dangerous.
Maybe people with blood sugar issues should avoid consumption of big amounts of fruit juices. Vegetable juices are a better option, as they don’t contain so much sugar.
If you have diabetes or any other health problem, ask your doctor for further advice.
In any case, there are healthy smoothie recipes that anybody can enjoy.
Fiber is good for you – Health benefits
On the other hand, juices don’t contain fiber.
That isn’t good for you.
Fiber is associated with many health benefits.
Reduction of risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease disorders, and developing dangerous visceral fat are only some of the health benefits of eating fibers.
Other health benefits of eating adequate amounts of fiber daily are the significantly lower risk of developing (2):
- coronary heart disease,
- obesity, and
- certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Eating more fiber can provide extra health benefits.
Increasing fiber intake (2):
- lowers blood pressure,
- cholesterol levels, and
- improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.
Unfortunately, most people don’t manage to take advantage of these health benefits, as Americans fail to consume adequate amounts of fiber.
Average fiber intakes for US children and adults are less than half of the recommended levels.
The recommended dietary fiber intakes for children and adults are 14 gr per 1000 kcal. This means that we should consume at least 28 gr of fiber on a 2000 calorie diet.
About 95% of American adults don’t consume the daily recommended amounts of fiber.
Juice doesn’t contain any fiber. This is bad for our health.
Maybe smoothies are a better option after all…
Benefits of smoothie
Nowadays, smoothies are a popular healthy and easy meal. We just put the ingredients in a blender and press a button.
Smoothies, and especially green smoothies, are good for you because they combine all the health benefits of juicing, with a bonus, the dietary fibers.
Smoothies contain the whole-food rather than the juice. This way we benefit from fibers as well.
Fiber can keep as full for longer, as our bodies need some time to digest them.
Scientists from the University of Bristol tried to configure how the form of a food can affect our appetite. They compared whole-foods with their smoothie equivalent (3).
They came to the amazing result that we tend to feel hunger faster if we drink our smoothie at once.
Contrary, if we drink a smoothie for a longer time, we won’t experience hunger for a longer time.
Tip for weight loss…
Take your time while drinking your smoothie. A big glass of smoothie should last more than half an hour.
Smoothie side effects
Drinking smoothies can be tricky some times though.
It’s easy to put in many ingredients, trying to make the perfect smoothie. In many recipes, we’re supposed to include bananas, avocados, vegan milk, sweeteners, fruits, powders, seeds, nuts, and many many more…
I’m trying to say that a smoothie can contain a lot of calories…We should be extra careful to keep calories under control.
Scientists from Griffith and Central Queensland Universities tried to measure the effect of smoothies for breakfast. They advise us to be extra careful, whenever we prefer a smoothie for breakfast, especially if we want to lose weight (4).
Smoothies can be energy-dense beverages, resulting in increased daily calories.
As an aftermath, smoothies can trick us in gaining weight, instead of losing.
Tip for weight loss…
Don’t overdo it. Prefer smoothie recipes with up to 6 ingredients.
Blending vs juicing for weight loss
So, what is the best solution for me, especially if I want to lose weight?
Both smoothies and juices are healthy.
If you’re an active person you can drink both juices and smoothies daily.
Prefer consuming them first thing in the morning, to boost your energy levels and metabolism.
If you want to lose weight, you can consume green juices like celery juice, without worrying about calories or spikes of blood sugar.
You take all the nutrients you need, this way.
Moreover, you can consume green smoothies as they are good for you for breakfast. If you interested in weight loss, try to avoid fatty ingredients like avocado, seeds, nuts, butters, etc.
Add only a tablespoon of seeds or nuts. No more.
Fruits aren’t so fattening. Put in only one or two though. You don’t want to consume much sugar.
Remember…Juices and smoothies are healthy but can be calorie-dense…
Different types of smoothies
There are dozens of recipes for smoothies. The best recipe is the one you’ll enjoy the most. It has to be both tasty and healthy.
Banana is the main ingredient for the most smoothie recipes. For good reason…
Banana makes the creamy effect, we all love about smoothies.
Also, it’s a good source of healthy carbs and provides about 120 calories.
Moreover, banana is rich in minerals and electrolytes. If you’re a runner you may have experienced the discomfort of a leg cramp. A banana smoothie can play an important role in preventing leg cramps.
Again…smart healthy food options are as effective as supplements.
As a rule of thumb, you can freeze some banana pieces in bulk. Use them whenever you want a healthy quick smoothie.
Find more for easily flash-freezing green or ripe bananas, here.
Banana smoothie with spinach: The healthy king
Smoothie should be healthy. Yes, banana is healthy but that’s not enough.
Try to put in some greens as well.
One banana, a portion of vegetables, a portion of fruits, some vegan milk or water and you have the perfect smoothie recipe.
Spinach and kale are the most common options for vegetables. They are nutrient-dense foods, ideal for a quick snack.
It’s easier to make a banana smoothie with spinach or kale if you’ve pre-washed the greens, cut them into pieces, and frozen them.
This way, you save time. You only have to take the ingredients from the freezer and put them into the blender.
As an extra benefit, frozen spinach and kale are dissolved more effectively.
Other healthy tropical smoothies
The fruit you put in the smoothie should be ripe. Ripe fruits taste better, as they contain more sugars.
Choose your fruits wisely…They are important if you don’t want to add some additional artificial sweeteners.
Mango,papayas, and pineapple are popular choices.
Avocado is an excellent choice if you want an extra creamy effect.
Avocado contains mainly fat. Use it if you don’t add other fatty sources, like seeds and nuts.
Fruits and vegetables are mainly carbs. You better include some protein and fat in your smoothies.
Smoothie bowls: Are they healthy?
Lately, smoothie bowls have become a healthy trend.
The main reason is that they look amazing, full of colors.
But a colorful food doesn’t mean that it’s healthy as well.
Smoothie bowls can contain many grams of sugar. Fruits contain fructose, a type of sugar.
Don’t misunderstand me. Fruits are full of vitamins, but we shouldn’t eat five fruits at once. Blood sugar will spike. You don’t want it.
So, what’s the best option for smoothies for breakfast or weight loss? Vegetables of course…
Green smoothie: the healthiest choice
Green smoothies are good for you, either if you’re interested in weight loss, either for their health benefits.
All that, with a few calories. Veggies are super nutrient-dense foods.
Green smoothie for breakfast
A study of the University of Bath, published to the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, proved that people who eat breakfast can lose more weight, than people who skip it. Even if, people who eat breakfast consume more calories.
How is this possible?
Because breakfast promotes higher physical activity thermogenesis in lean adults.
What does this mean?
This means that our bodies can move around more easily, being more energetic. At the end of the day, our bodies burn more calories when we consume them in the morning.
The time of the day we eat determines the calories our body burns.
Tip for losing weight…
A green smoothie is good for you for weight loss…especially in the morning.
Green smoothie for breakfast to lose weight
So, green smoothies are good for you for breakfast for weight loss.
They don’t spike your blood sugar, as other sugary fruit smoothies.
You’re more vulnerable to spike sugar in the morning, as you haven’t eaten anything for hours.
Green smoothies don’t contain many sugars and are rich in fiber. As a result, they don’t spike the blood sugar.
Prefer them when you haven’t eaten anything for hours.
Are green smoothies good for you?
A green smoothie will:
- give you all the energy you need from banana or other fruits,
- keep you full for many hours, especially if they contain healthy fats and fiber (nuts and seeds),
- boost you with nutrients. They have powerful health benefits.
Green smoothie easy recipes for beginners
Green smoothies are good for you for weight loss. But it can be tricky to make a homemade smoothie first thing in the morning.
Why prefer frozen fruit in a smoothie?
Keep everything in your freezer. When you keep frozen veggies and fruits in your freezer, you only have to put them in the blender.
No cutting, no washing, no cleaning.
As a bonus, frozen fruits will make a more creamy smoothie.
Green smoothie recipes for weight loss
The perfect green smoothie recipe is the one you’ll enjoy the most.
Just keep things simple.
Start with a banana
For starters, put in the blender a ripe frozen banana.
Ripe bananas contain more nutrients and it is believed to be more healthy than green bananas.
Put some fruits
Add some ripe seasonal local fruits. They tend to be more tasty, containing more sugars. Also, they are cheaper and you can buy them in bulk.
Tropical fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple, etc are also a good choice, but they tend to be more expensive.
If you prefer sugary smoothies, you can put some stevia powder as well. It’s a healthy natural sweetener.
Use some greens
Greens should be the center of your smoothie. Pre-cut them into small pieces, in order to help the blender cut them more efficiently.
Adjust the water or vegan milk.
The most used veggies in smoothies are spinach, kale, arugula, broccoli, beet leaves, etc.
Seeds and Nuts for protein and fat
You can easily add some protein to your green smoothie, buying a vegan protein powder.
But that’s not necessary. Seeds and nuts contain a great amount of protein, along with healthy fats and fiber.
Also, they’ll keep you full for more.
You can put any seed or nut in your green smoothie. Almonds, walnuts, Brazilian nuts are the most commonly used nuts.
Acai seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds are always a good addition.
Mix it up with herbs and powders
You can add any powder you want. Either for taste, either for health benefits, either for weight loss purposes.
Most common are cacao powder, spirulina, chlorella, Ceylon cinnamon, turmeric, maca powder, hemp powder, and many more.
Adjust to your preferences.
- Synthetic or Food-Derived Vitamin C—Are They Equally Bioavailable?
- NCBI: Health benefits of dietary fiber.
- A Comparison of the Satiety Effects of a Fruit Smoothie, Its Fresh Fruit Equivalent, and Other Drinks.
- The influence of a fruit smoothie or cereal and milk breakfast on subsequent dietary intake: a pilot study.
- The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in lean adults1