20 January, 2016
Fruit Smoothies – The Facts
The best smoothies are nutrient-dense, providing vitamins and oils necessary for good nutrition. Fat is required for biological functions and burned by your body for energy; a good smoothie should have some dietary fat. Simply blending a banana with ice and low fat milk does not make a good smoothie; there is almost no fat for the body to use in assimilating the vitamins, and there is little nutritive content at all. A healthy smoothie contains egg yolks, coconut oil, cream or other nutrient-dense foods. Smoothies are a great, simple way to get in the extra nutrition you need. Also don’t rush into buying your smoothie maker, shop around as there is a broad collection of blenders out there and one to suit every need, do your research!
So Much Better For You Than Multi-Vitamins
You could be forgiven for thinking that daily “multi-vitamins” are regulated by a governing body. They are not, so pretty much anything could go into them. Also they are not scientifically proven to have significant health benefits, few multivitamins have been shown to be of benefit, but not many. The bottom line is, the best way to get nutrition is from food, and consuming a healthy smoothie every day gives you most of your nutrition in one, delicious glass. If you want an extra boost, some studies show that it is healthy to include liquid vitamins in your smoothie. This is because they are processed in a different way to multi vitamins, thereby preserving the vitamins. Many of these liquid vitamins are flavored, so can enhance the taste of your smoothie whilst adding a wealth of vitamins such as A, C and K, as well as folate and vitamin B-6. Replace a portion of the juice that you would normally use with the liquid vitamins to keep your smoothie thick as it could become runny.
Natural Vitamins and Minerals
There are six main categories of fruit that contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. These are citrus, berries, tropical, drupes, pomes and melons.
Citrus includes: grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and lemons, they contain good amounts of vitamin C, potassium and folate. Vitamin C helps your immune system and synthesizes collagen that aids in the make up of your body. Potassium supports your heart function and helps maintain normal blood pressure, while folate promotes healthy cells.
Berries include: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and grapes. They contain particular antioxidants that decrease inflammation and phytonutrients that help fight disease.
Tropical fruits include: papaya, kiwi fruit, pineapple, avocado, coconut, pomegranates, bananas and mangoes. Typically, these fruits are sources of vitamin C, potassium, folate and manganese, which keeps your bones, blood sugar, thyroid gland and nerves healthy.
Common drupe fruits include: cherries, apricots, peaches and plums. They provide beta carotene, potassium and vitamin C. Beta carotene helps your vision and immune system function properly.
Pomes include: apples and pears, which contain vitamin C and potassium.
The melon category includes: watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew and casaba, which all contain amounts of vitamin C.
Regular intake of fruit smoothies can help you reach the recommended intake of fiber, which is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. One serving of fruit typically contains two to four grams of fiber with blackberries, pears and apples having the highest concentration of five to seven grams per serving. The soluble fiber found in fruit helps slow digestion and may help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
Dairy-Based Smoothies Provide Calcium
Unless you have some type of intolerance, dairy based smoothies can be so good for you. Smoothies made with dairy products provide calcium for bone strength. Try yogurt or kefir, as these cultured milk products are good sources of probiotics and live cultures, and eight ounces provide almost a third of your daily requirement of calcium.
Making your own smoothie from scratch means you get to choose a base that you really want. Typical things to add are water, cow’s milk, soy milk or yogurt to the fruit in order to add bulk. The healthier options would include water (of course), low-fat milk or low-fat yogurt, which will add flavor and nutrients without a huge number of calories.
The water option will provide your body with fluid that is necessary for metabolism of food and transportation of nutrients. The low-fat dairy contains calcium and vitamin D, which help with bone health.
Healthy/Weight Loss – Smoothie Tips
Fruit smoothies could be used as a meal replacement but not used in addition to, when trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. You could have a dairy-based smoothie for breakfast or drink a water-based smoothie as a snack. Fruit smoothies can be a really healthy additional meal, as long as you are strict with portion control. Smoothies also fill you up so you are less likely to snack in between meals and because you are eating a healthier diet, you are less likely to crave unhealthy snacks.