Are Green Smoothies Good For You?
We've heard people rave about "green smoothies" from Instagram influencers that you've been following to the most popular celebrities today and they are celebrating "green smoothies" as part of their daily lives and health routines.
So what does the science say? Are green smoothies good (or bad) for you? That's what we're about to find out.
To find the answer, I've looked into one of the best resources online when it comes to nutrition: Dr. Michael Greger's Nutritionfacts blog.
Here's what I've found based on Dr. Greger's research: Are green smoothies good for you?
After reading and watching this episode, i've realized that optimum health and nutrition is not about what you CONSUME, but it's what you ABSORB.
Let's repeat that again and here's a TWEETABLE link if you want to share it on your Twitter account.
It's not about what you CONSUME, but it's what you ABSORB for optimum health
There's a REASON why doctors are telling us to CHEW our food well.
It's not only because of decreasing our risks of choking while eating, but most importantly chewing breaks down the "plant walls" that envelopes a plant's cellular composition.
And blending is a much faster way of breaking down the cell walls of plants. So in general, blending increases the nutrients that will be available for absorption.
But it's also not just about blending.
What's more important is the type of fruits and vegetables that you use when creating your smoothies.
Dr Greger noted in this article that "apple juice" whether in pure juice form or "pureed (blended) form can cause what's called "rebound hypoglycemia" which is caused by a sudden spike of insulin then after a few hours, the body's blood sugar levels drops back to it's previous levels.
This response triggers the body to release fat into the bloodstream thinking that we are starving. So NO to adding too much apple into your blended drinks. Just munch apples instead.
But blueberries have a different story. When blueberries are added to smoothies it actually improves the insulin response.
So for both benefits of better absorption and decreasing the risk of rapid sugar consumption make smoothies from green leafy vegetables and add more blueberries to it.
- Postprandial glucose, insulin, and free fatty acid responses to sucrose consumed with blackcurrants and lingonberries in healthy women.
- The role of dietary fiber in satiety, glucose, and insulin: studies with fruit and fruit juice
- Bioactives in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant men and women
How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie
If you're convinced and ready to give green smoothies a try, you're probably asking this question as this is something that I get a lot.
People who are interested in green smoothies are hesitant to make and try one because they think that they don't have everything ready to get started.
And I'm here to help you out in getting started. If you're making your own green smoothies because you want to lose weight, have more energy or simply improve your health, read this first (detox secrets)...
In order to create your Perfect Green smoothie, first you need to understand that our bodies are all different. So what maybe perfect for one person, is NOT necessarily the best for another.
Always experiment and find out what's best for your body. As an example, i've found out that my body responds really well to Kale but others don't.
There are tons of fruits and vegetables that you can mix and match for your green smoothies. Don't limit yourself with the ingredients you've found in recipes.
Ok, so here's what you need to create the perfect green smoothie:
- You need a reliable blender (a high speed blender or one of the Nutribullet machines is best).
- You need to pick a base liquid that will help keep your drinks viscous. Without it, your drinks will be too sticky and you'll have a hard time drinking those smoothies. (Lessen if you use watery vegetables like cucumber, zucchinis, etc)
- Pick your favorite greens (cruciferous vegetables). Start with spinach for milder taste if you're just starting out and gradually move/try more 'bitter' vegetables like kale when your taste buds have been accustomed to vegetables.
- Pick your fruits. Avoid apples and add berries as much as you can for better control of sugar levels.
- Add more "boost" ingredients like Flax seeds, chia seeds, etc. Flax seeds have been known to help with cholesterol levels so make sure that you for a heart-healthy option.
- Optionally, you may sweeten with natural sweeteners like Stevia, honey or even chopped dates. Although you might not need this if you've chosen a sweeter fruit when making your smoothies
Green Smoothies for Weight Loss
Drinking green smoothies on it's own does NOT guarantee that you'll lose weight.
If you are drinking green smoothies but are still eating junk food, pizza takeouts and sodas, then you're just adding more calories into your body and depending on the amount of sugar in your green smoothies you'll end up spiking your insulin levels and causing rebound hypoglycemia later on.
The best way to use Green smoothies for weight loss is when you use it as a supplement for a lifestyle change and not just when going into a weight loss diet.
Here's a basic understanding of weight loss. In order to lose weight, we need to be expending or using up more energy that what we are consuming. The unit for energy in our body is called "Calories".
Depending on our age and gender, we have different daily caloric and estimated needs. If you're sedentary, you even have a lower caloric need.
Let's say your caloric needs is around 2,000 calories per day.
Eating a cheeseburger meal in McDonald's shows that most burgers contain anywhere from 650 to 800+ calories per burger sandwich. And that's just one burger. If you add in sodas and fries, then you'll see why that 2,000 calorie limit is consumed easily in just one meal.
When our body has this excess calories in our system, it converts this extra "calories" into fat and is stored in our fat cells. Our bodies do that until it can't store more fat into our fat cells and that's when things could get worse.
So how can green smoothies help with this?
First, Green smoothies can provide you with vital nutrients that your body's cells needs in order to function properly. And because the plant's cell walls are broken easily, absorption of nutrients is much better in smoothie form.
Second, because of the fiber in Green smoothie it helps you get satiated and full much faster. Decreasing your appetite for eating more and snacking in between meals.
Third, It is recommended that you drink Green smoothies slowly rather than gulping it in a few minutes to help with not abruptly increasing your blood sugar levels. Blueberries have also been found to help regulate or improve your blood sugar levels so make sure you add those in your smoothies.
When you're drinking Green smoothies that are made with dark, green leafy vegetables plus blueberries and other beneficial ingredients you'll feel more satiated and have fewer calories in your system.
This calorie deficit will help trigger your body to lose weight. Together with daily exercise and eating the right food choices you can expect to see positive progress in your weight loss journey.
Green Smoothie Challenge
If you want to get started with drinking more green smoothies, you may want to do it with someone else for accountability. This is why there are green smoothie challenges all around the world. If you're interested in the next Green Smoothie challenge, follow us on Instagram and on Facebook.
Best Green Vegetables for Smoothies
Cruciferous vegetables (dark and leafy vegetables) like Kale and Broccoli are some of the best vegetables to include in your Green smoothies.
Green Smoothie Recipes
We have a bunch of recipes that you can find here on our blog.
Here are some of my favorite recipes:
Green Smoothies that Tastes Good
If you're struggling with the 'bitter' taste of green smoothies, you'll want to try a milder vegetable first like Spinach or Cucumber.
Adding TOO much fruit is not a good way to create green smoothies that tastes delicious because you'll ADD too much sugar in your drinks. And if you're goal is to lose weight, you'll want to minimize sugar added as much as you can.
Green Smoothie Formula
Best Blenders For Making Green Smoothies
If you're looking for blenders or smoothie machines, check out the Nutribullet machines first.
I love the Nutribullet machines because unlike juicers, they retain the fiber and are very easy to clean and use.
Where to Buy Green Smoothies?
You'll find some health shops and kiosks in malls that sell commercial and ready-made green smoothies. I strongly discourage you from buying green smoothies from those places because you don't know the amount of sugar that was added into those drinks.
It's still best to create your own green smoothies, and with the right equipment and ingredients, it's much more practical and beneficial to your health!
Enjoy drinking your green smoothies. If you decide to create them, check out the 10 day green smoothie cleanse first and don't make another green smoothie without reading it.