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Start Your Day Right with a Vitamin-Packed Green Smoothie
By Natalie Butler, RD, LD
Green smoothies are one of the best nutrient-dense drinks around — especially for those with a busy, on-the-go lifestyle.
It's not always easy to get the daily 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables that the American Cancer Society recommends to prevent cancer and disease. Thanks to blenders, you can boost your fruit and veggie intake by drinking them in a smoothie. Unlike juices, smoothies contain all that good fiber.
Smoothies that contain greens like spinach (or other vegetables) in addition to fruits are the best choice, as they tend to be lower in sugar and higher in fiber — while still tasting sweet.
- provides a generous amount of fiber, folate, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K
- high in antioxidants proven to prevent oxidative damage
- promotes overall eye health and protects eyes from damaging UV light
Spinach is one of the most nutritionally-dense vegetables out there. It's low in calories, but high in fiber, folate, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
It's also rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and plant compounds. It's a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that protect the eyes from damaging UV light and promote overall eye health.
Try it: Blend spinach with other delicious fruits and vegetables to make a green smoothie that's full of fiber, healthy fats, vitamin A, and iron at only 230 calories. Avocado makes this smoothie creamy while adding a healthy dose of fat and more potassium than a banana. Bananas and pineapple naturally sweeten the greens, while coconut water provides hydration and even more antioxidants.
Recipe for Green Smoothie
- 1 heaping cup fresh spinach
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1/2 banana, frozen
- 1/4 avocado
- Blend the spinach and coconut water together in a high-speed blender.
- When combined, blend in the frozen pineapple, frozen banana, and avocado until smooth and creamy.
Dosage: Consume 1 cup of raw spinach (or 1/2 cup cooked) per day and start to feel the effects within four weeks.
Possible Side Effects of Spinach
Spinach doesn't come with serious side effects, but it can reduce blood sugar levels which may be a problem if you're taking medications for diabetes. Spinach may also be risky for people with kidney stones.
Always check with your doctor before adding anything to your everyday routine to determine what's best for you and your individual health. While spinach is generally safe to consume, eating too much in a day could be harmful.
Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Her blog focuses on real food for a balanced life, seasonal recipes, and approachable health advice. When she's not in the kitchen, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, organic gardening, and hanging out with her corgi, Cocoa. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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