Most people know that greens are nutritious, but don’t eat enough of them to reap the benefits An easy way to pack more greens into your diet is to add them to a smoothie. The blending process makes them more easily absorbed by breaking down the cellulose in the greens Experts estimate that 70 to 90 percent more nutrients are absorbed from greens in a smoothie compared to eating a salad.
It is a good idea to rotate your greens so that you don’t overdo on any one green. Naturally occurring substances in greens such as oxalic acid, essential oils, tannins, nitrates, phytates, and Saponins can cause problems for some people when eaten on a daily basis. Rotating your greens allows you to enjoy the nutritional benefits of greens without the adverse effects. Try these top green choices in your protein smoothies.
Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
Kale is recognized by many people as the top green for nutritious smoothies Other members of the Brassica family such as broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, collard greens, tumip greens, and watercress are also excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins minerals, and anti-inflammatory nutrients. These cruciferous vegetables are currently being researched for their preventative and therapeutic effects on cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and more. If you don’t enjoy the flavor of cruciferous vegetables, simply reduce amounts until you no longer notice the flavor. These vegetables are definitely worth enjoying in your protein smoothie.
Recent studies have identified more than a dozen anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer carotenoids and flavonoids in spinach. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In addition to superior nutrition, it has been shown to provide significant protection against aggressive cancers of the prostate gland. The only downside of this nutritious green is its high oxalic acid content. Experts recommend that raw spinach be enjoyed on a rotating basis. People with kidney
problems or gout may need to avoid spinach completely.
Microgreens and Sprouts
Both sprouts and microgreens are full of nutrition and flavor. If you are inclined to grow your own, you can benefit from a wide range of nutritious sprouts and microgreens. Sprouts and microgreens often have more nutrition than their fully grown counterparts, but they also exert a strong flavor. For example, broccoli sprouts pack 20 times the cancer-fighting phytochemicals as an equal amount of broccoli, so it only takes a small handful a powerful nutrition punch to your green smoothie. Use microgreens and sprouts in combination with milder-flavored greens.
Romaine, arugula, red oak, and butterhead lettuces are just a few of the choices in this category. Because lettuces are prone to high pesticide use when conventionally grown, it is best to buy organic. Lettuces are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and iron. Look for highly colored varieties for best nutrition.
Lamb’s quarters are widely considered a weed because of their ability to grow most anywhere. You may be able to find them available locally, or you can plant a little patch to supply your protein smoothies. Lamb’s quarters is related to spinach and quinoa, and supplies similar nutrition. The green leaves and stems are packed with vitamins A, B, C, and K, contain a rich supply of minerals, and are a complete protein source.
Anise-scented fennel is a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well as phytonutrients and flavonoids that have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Its anise scent comes from the volatile oil anethole. Anethole is anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-fungal, and antibacterial, and has been shown to protect the liver. Anise also contains the antioxidant rutin which increases the activity of vitamin C.
Basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, radish leaves, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass, and dill are all healthy and nutritious additions to your protein smoothies. Experiment with herbs to add extra nutrition and depth of flavor to your daily smoothie.
Try these nutritional powerhouses as mix-ins for your protein smoothies. Each brings its own combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients. By rotating your greens, you get to enjoy all the benefits of a green protein smoothie while changing up the flavor on a regular basis.