Many people consume green smoothies in an effort to eat healthy, eat clean or “detox”. I do not particularly like the idea of having smoothies regularly in place of meals. I believe they can however, be enjoyed in moderation as a source of hydration and antioxidants as part of an already nutrient-dense diet. Green smoothies and juices can also provide a powerful antioxidant called Glutathione. Glutathione is most present in raw fruits and vegetables. When preparing a smoothie, I recommended using more vegetables than fruit because vegetables are lower in sugar. Additionally, be sure to switch up the variety of vegetables and fruit. Try buying in season and local produce. And lastly, don’t forget to include one very important ingredient in your smoothie….FAT!
I always tell clients to include a protein and fat in their smoothies to help balance out all of the carbohydrates from the fruit, juices, and vegetables. This is especially important if they are just consuming the smoothie in place of a meal. The combination of fat, protein, and carbs helps maintain stable blood sugar and contributes to satiety. Including a healthy fat source is also an important component of a green smoothie for another reason. Many of the nutrients will not be absorbed readily without fat. Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin, E, and Vitamin K. Some good dietary fat sources to throw in include coconut milk, coconut oil, avocado, nut butters, flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed.
Lately the oxalates in green smoothies are raising some concern. Not everyone may tolerate the frequent consumption of green smoothies and juices due to their high oxalate content. Oxalates are, for those of you that don’t know, naturally occurring chemicals found in most plants. They basically protect plants from pray (bugs). Oxalates form oxalic acid, which has been linked to kidney stones. Foods highest in oxalates include celery, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and Swiss chard. For some people, consuming too many of these raw greens can be problematic, especially if you are already at risk for kidney stones (family history, diabetic, etc). But for most healthy people, green smoothies should’t pose a problem especially if they are not the center of your diet!
Recipe: Avocado Sorbet
- 1/2 large avocado
- 1/2 banana or one small banana
- 1/4 cup raw spinach
- Coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk (I used a small amount)
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- Crushed ice
Blend ingredients in blender and enjoy! Add more liquid to make a smoothie.