I came across juice and smoothie bar in my neighbourhood, something that I have not seen before. I decide to patronise the shop. I was given a cool mixture of different fruits which I have never tasted before, I didnt ask question about what the mixture was all about even though I knew what it tasted like. After sometimes, my mind went back to that mixture and I could recall the taste of what it was, I said to myself that could be a mixture of different fruits common to our environment and I said to myself, I think I can try this out myself on my own. I decided to lay my hands on some fruits and when I did blend them together, it came out fine and even tastier than what I bought from the juice bar that day.
Most days we just need to go natural and simple by slowing down the amount of fried` snacks we take every day to something fresh, liquid and healthy, I mean blending some healthy fruits and/ or with vegetables for healthy diet. One serving of this mixture in a day should be able to keep us full, clean our bodies and refreshes us. However, taking a glass of smoothie on demand on a daily basis is good enough to relieve us of facial wrinkles, normalize digestive function, boost energy, control weight depending on the type of fruit and vegetable and in turn replenish lost nutrients in our bodies.
What is smoothie in the first place?
While growing up, I had the opportunity to live with my grand Dad for few years. During these few years, I have watched him blending some kind of concoction though not with blender but with his hands which I had no idea on what it was. This mixture was a combination of fresh (fluted pumpkin) ugwu leaf, raw egg and liquid milk. On seeing what he was doing, I was a little bit surprise; who dare you ask your elder question for what doesnt concern you. In my heart I was like why on earth will this man drink such funny raw mixture?, little did I know that he was combining his own vegetable and dairy products for smoothie, until now that I became aware of what smoothies are and the health benefit of combining different fruits and/or vegetables to make healthy recipe known as smoothie. I now understand that what he was taking then was healthy for him.
A smoothie is a type of thick smooth beverage made from the combination of different raw fruits or vegetables with other sweetener like milk, yoghurt, soy milk,coconut milk andhoneyorsugar.This is quite different from the regular fruit juice we know. If I am to differentiate between the two, I will say, a juice is a sweet drink made from plant liquid after all the fibre and protein have been removed while juicing it. In the other hand, a smoothie is a combination of blended fruits with the fibre slightly broken down but not removed.
Who should take smoothies?
- smoothies are awesome for those who often partake in a fast as they dont have to break the fast with solid food immediately but with light food, to avoid stomach upsets
- Consuming fruits and vegetables in form of smoothie on regular basis helps to provide the nutrients your body needs to be naturally cleansed and detoxified, giving your skin a clearer look and a nice glow void of acne (pimples).
- Smoothies are healthy to keep you hydrated. You can stay full for many hours during the day without feeling hungry especially during hot weather.
- These blends of fruits are really great for those with vitamin and potassium deficiencies, providing the body with the needed vitamins and nutrients to help build up strong bones and enhance normal vision.
- A blend of banana smoothie is a great meal for children who are mal-nourished and have potassium deficiency. The potassium in banana acts an energy booster through the high content of healthy carbohydrates.
- People with digestion problems can have an advantage because smoothies help to cleanse the intestinal tract. In the case of honey and cinnamon- the cinnamon and honey assist in cleaning the digestive tract by flushing out bacteria and fungus which slows down digestion process thereby, building up toxic. The fibre in fruits helps to bind with the toxins in the colon, thereby, flushing them out of your system.
- A well planned smoothiecan help to regulate blood sugar level for people leaving with both type 1and type 2 diabetes;for instance, blending fruits such as orange, grape,lemon,green apple,blueberries,strawberries, raspberries or any type of berriesand vegetables such as fluted pumpkin, kale,spinach or any greenish vegetableand natural butter from nutscould be a better choice for the diabetics since such foods are known to below in glycemic index.
Importance and health benefitsof smoothies
Just within 5 minutes you can give yourself a healthy shake snack, provided your blender is nearby and your fruits are stocked in the fruit basket inside the refrigerator
- Smoothies help to boost weight and fat loss. Most fruits and vegetables are loaded with fibres and contain low calories. The fibre gets you full for long without causing weight gain
- Helps control blood sugar levels especially when made with fruits and vegetables such as fluted pumpkin, spinach, citrus and berries, since they are high in fibre and have other important nutrients as magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, C and E .
- Some fruits are high in antioxidant like vitamin C. They help to absorb iron and prevent inflammation and also prevent heart disease.
- The Vitamin K in most green fruits enhances clearer vision, maintains strong bones and teeth
- According to Harvard University School Public Health, consuming cups of vegetables and fruits on a daily basis have high chance of reducing the risk of disease.
- Smoothies also help to lower blood pressure, and reduce stroke occurrences, cure eye disease and the rate of intestinal inflammation.
Other Additives you can use in smoothie as ingredients
When preparing smoothie, you can use any type fruit and vegetable ranging from banana, apple, strawberry, blueberry, papaya, water lemon, avocado, pineapple, cucumber, carrot, grape, orange, ginger, peanut butter, broccoli, cabbage, fluted pumpkins and moringa leaves.
After the blending you can clean up your blender immediately. It could be hard to clean it when it is dried and keep it safe for another day. Below are few additives that can be included in smoothies.
- Smoothie thickener:Frozen fruits add good texture to our shakes and they contain the needed nutrients unlike the freshly bought fruits which might have loss some of the nutrients in them due to long period storage. Other thickeners used in smoothies are banana, avocado, peanuts butter, ice block and low fat yoghurt.
- Smoothies sweetener:The sweetness of smoothies should be depended on ones preference or taste. There are natural sweeteners like banana, honey, maple syrup, water melon, pineapple and date palm.
- Spices for smoothies:Some of the spices that are good for smoothies are: nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, date palm, lemon,tamarind and garlic.
Combination of different fruits varieties and vegetables to make smoothie recipe
- Banana, Avocado and Apple smoothie – Combine 2 ripe bananas+ 2 apples + 1 peeled avocado + cup of plain yoghurt + cup of water or ice block and blend till smooth. Pour into a glass cup and serve.
2. Fluted pumpkin smoothie (Ugwu smoothie) – If you are the green veggies type, fluted pumpkin is just your best smoothie, as it comes in green colour and tastes nutritious when blended with ripe pineapple. All you need is to add a handful of tender fluted pumpkin+ 4 pieces of peeled pineapple chunks +6 tablespoons liquid milk+ cup of malt into the blender and blend till very smooth and serve chilled.
3. Moringa smoothie– A handful moringa leaves or you can use 1 tablespoon moringa powder instead+ 2 frozen ripe bananas + 2 date palms+ 2 table spoons coconut milk+1 teaspoon lemon juice to get the sour taste+ 2 ice cubes. Blend all ingredients in a blender till smooth and serve it chilled.
4. Banana, strawberry and Apple smoothie– Blend 2 ripe bananas + cup of strawberries +2tsp honey + cup of milk with cup of water and serve chilled.
5. Apple and tomato smoothie- 2 fresh apples+ 4 ripe tomatoes + 4 carrots +2 teaspoons honey and 4 ice cubes to chill the smoothie (tomatoes washed and deseed). Add all ingredients into blender and blend till smooth.
6.Blueberry and broccoli smoothie– Combine cup steamed broccoli and 1 cup of frozen blueberries + cup of vanilla yoghurt into the blender, blend till smooth and enjoy chilled.
7.Cucumber and strawberry smoothie Add 2 large peeled cucumbers+ 1 cup strawberries+ 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to get the sour taste and cup coconut milk. Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend until you achieve a smooth puree and you have your smoothie ready.
8. Peanut butter and Banana smoothie– 2 table spoons peanut butter+ cup plain yoghurt or soy milk+ 1 medium ripe banana. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend till smooth. Serve chilled or you can use ice cubes in it.
9. Strawberry and lime/lemon smoothie- 1 cup of strawberries+ 2 teaspoons lime juice and cup vanilla yoghurt or soy milk. Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend till smooth and enjoy it chilled.
10. Raspberry and Banana smoothie– 1 cup fresh raspberries+1 frozen ripe banana+4 tablespoons squeezed orange juice+ cup plain yoghurt+ cup liquid milk. Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth and serve chilled.
11. Blueberry and Lime smoothie- Add cup of blueberries+1 ripe banana+2 teaspoons lime juice+ cup yoghurt into a blender, blend till you get your preferred consistency and serve chilled.
12. Papaya (pawpaw) and Banana smoothie -Divide a medium size papaya into half, remove seeds and use one of the sides+ 2 ripe bananas+1 peeled orange+ 1/2 cup of yoghurt+ ice cubes, blend all ingredients till smooth and enjoy
13.Raspberry and sweet melon smoothie– Add 1 whole peeled and seeded melon+ 1 cup raspberries+ 3 table spoons coconut milk + ice cubes and blend till smooth.
14. Pineapple and banana smoothie Pineapple tastes better if combine with banana, add 5 pieces of sliced pineapple+ 2 ripe banana+ cup of vanilla yoghurt+ cup coconut milk and ice cubes . Blend all in a blender and serve yourself.
15. Water melon and orange smoothie– Add 1 cup of water melon+1 orange and 1 cup of peeled pineapple and blend till puree.
16. Pineapple and broccoli smoothie– Pineapple is the right fruit that goes well with other vegetables. Add 4 chunks of sliced pineapple+ cup of steamed or frozen broccoli+1/2 cup coconut milk+ ice cubes and + little water. Blend all ingredients till smooth and serve.
17. Mango and spinach- 1 ripe mango+ 2 ripe bananas +1 cup spinach leaves + cup vanilla yoghurt+ 1 teaspoon honey + 4 ice cubes. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend till you achieve a smooth consistency. Serve and enjoy.
18.Water melon and apple smoothie – Add 2 cups of seedless water melon+2 apples and 1 ripe banana into the blender and blend till smooth.
19.Mango smoothie – 1 medium size ripe peeled mango+ 1 cup strawberries+ cup plain yoghurt +Ice cubes. Blend all ingredients in a blender till smooth and serve chilled.
20. Banana and watermelon smoothie – Blend 2 cups of seedless watermelon +1 2 teaspoons lime or orange juice + cup of fresh milk. Add all ingredient in a blender and process till very smooth.
Important Health benefits and Nutritional value of fruits an vegetablesused in smoothie recipes
Fruit smoothies have ways of nourishing our bodies day after day with important nutrients that may not be found in other foods we consume. They have low calories and fat and are good sources of fibre, simple sugar and vitamins which are useful in promoting our health. Some of the fruits and their health benefits are listed below:
- Apple contains antioxidants called flavonoids which may help to lower the chances of getting diabetes and asthma; hence, it contains high amount of fibre which helps to slow down digestion and also helps to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol level.
- Orange and tangerine are good sources of Vitamin C, folate and potassium. Vitamin C helps to keep our eyes, gum and keeps our teeth healthy; it helps to boost our energy, replenishes the required Vitamins in the body, it prevents inflammation and improves the mucus membranes.
- Date Palm contains potassium, copper and fibre. The fibre aids in digestion and help in relieving of constipation; hence, promoting colon health and regular bowel movements. It is also rich in magnesium which is an important electrolyte. Date palms is a very good source of vitamin and minerals, it contain iron, calcium, zinc, and manganese.
- Mango, orange and carrot are good source of vitamin A and retinol which is important for preventing of acnes and wrinkles. Vitamin A provides healthy vision and supports proper immune function.
- Sweet melon has an ability to slow down aging process due to the presence of vitamin A, B and C. The mineral in sweet melon helps to flush out acidity that makes digestion activity difficult in the stomach.
- Watermelon and tomatoes are known to contain useful antioxidants for prevention of cancer and heart attack. Their red pigmentation is gotten by an antioxidant called Lycopene, which is said to help in prostate health and in maintaining of breast tissue.
- Some fruits are loaded with useful pigmentation which is hidden right beneath their outer layers. Their coloration is as a result of anthocyanin compounds. These compounds are known to provide essential benefits. For instance, blueberry because of its blue pigmentation, it provides many health benefits which helps in the removal of free radicals from the body and also aids in the healing of cancer, aging and infections.
- Green avocado is a good source of vitamin E and folate. Avocado contains healthy non saturated fats that help in lowering cholesterol when consumed.
- Limes and lemon are often used interchangeable, the juice are loaded with essential minerals, vitamin, enzymes and phytonutrients. Lime water is useful in slowing down aging process, toning of skin and in turn improves other organs of the body. Lime is also useful in stimulating and purifying of the liver; lime and lemon contain potassium, which is an important mineral that helps in proper functioning of cells, organs and tissues in the body. It is an important electrolyte- a substance that helps to transmit electricity in the brain and nervous system when combined with sodium, chloride, calcium and magnesium.
- Green leafy vegetables like fluted pumpkin (ugwu), moringa, cabbage and broccoli are rich in chlorophyll and isothiocynates. They contain anticancer compounds, vitamin A, K, folic acid and potassium. These leaves contain iron which serves as blood tonic that helps to increase blood flow and also act as an anti-stress. A cup of green smoothie with either moringa or fluted pumpkin leaves will keep you healthy and energised for long.
- Spinach contains vitamin K which is essential in developing of healthy bone. It is a good source of vitamin A, B2 and C; it contains magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and folate. It is known to improve vision and contain anti-aging properties.
- Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are good source of anti-oxidants which reduces sign of aging and cardiovascular diseases.
- Bananas, papaya, pineapples, avocado, mangoes and coconuts contain vitamin C, potassium, manganese and folate which help to support strong bones, control blood sugar, protect the thyroid gland and provide healthy nerves.
- Cucumber has low calories and high fibre content which makes it an important element in weight loss and digestive health.
- Broccoli helps in binding together with bile acids in the digestive tract especially when they are steam before consumption; it helps to fight Vitamin D deficiency since it has a combination of Vitamin A and K. The Vitamin A and K helps to keep the Vitamin D metabolism in the body at a balance side.
- Lastly, peanut butter is high in vitamin, protein, potassium, and folate. Folate helps to treat anaemia caused by folic acid deficiency, while thiamine on the other hand helps the body to convert carbohydrate to energy. It contains high antioxidant properties when compared to apple and carrot. The high protein and healthy oil are essential for weight loss and diabetes.
Important tips to note while making smoothies
- Dont be limited to just the above measurement. You can try out different fruits at any amount of your choice. You can adjust flavour and the thickness of your smoothie.
- If your smoothie is made from purely frozen fruits, you will need some sweetener
- Make use of creamy fruits like mangoes, papaya, apples, bananas, avocados, and pineapples when making smoothie.
- Coconut water goes well with papaya, mango and pineapple and oranges
- Consuming diet that contains fruits and vegetables helps to reduce the risk of cancer, heart attacks and other health related diseases.
- Storing smoothie in the refrigerator for more than 24 hour will cause it to lose some nutrients and may not taste as fresh as when it was prepared. The freshness of smoothie is very important.
- Adding coconut liquid to your smoothie, provides you with nearly fat free hydration and electrolytes.
- Bananas are great additives to smoothie; they provide creamy smoothie base, their flavour serve as a complement to other fruits like blueberries, strawberries, apples, pineapples and mangoes
- Always remember to wash your fruits and vegetables in clean water before usage to remove traces of sands and dirt.
- If you are using frozen fruits, you dont have to use ice blocks any more when blending your smoothie
- Fluted pumpkin is rich in vitamin C, B6, A, and it contains Naicin, potassium, iron , magnesium as well as Alpha carotene and Beta carotene which serves as antioxidant that slows down ageing process and also aid in the treatment of cancer.
- Moringa leaf contains high antioxidant properties; it helps to fight weight loss, constipation, cancer, diabetes and arthritis among other health related problems.
- Frozen broccoli has a milder flavour in smoothie than the fresh raw broccoli.
- Water is an important aspect of smoothies; it helps provide smooth consistency to the blender to be able to mix the fruits. If your blender is finding it difficult to mix when turned on, top it up with a little water to lighten the loads inside and allow free movement of the blades. You can substitute water to coconut milk or soya milk.
- Frozen fruits may not need much water when blending since they have absorbed a lot of water while in the refrigerator. Control the amount of water you add when using frozen fruits all through in your smoothie, to avoid watery a smoothie.