Healthy smoothies are one of the simplest ways to support our natural ability to cleanse and detoxify. They’re also easy-to-make, taste great, and are loaded with nutrition. I love juice and encourage all of us to have it often, but nothing beats the versatility of healthy smoothies. That’s why I’ve been incorporating them into the 21-Day Clean Program, and the Daily Shakes, from the very beginning.
In this post and the one the follows, I want to share some reasons why these healthy smoothies are such a great addition to our wellness toolbox, how to make them taste great, and my favorite ways to incorporate them into daily life.
Water + Nutrients + Fiber
Healthy smoothies are a simple way to get water, easily digestible nutrients, and fiber into our body all at one time. The cell structure of the ingredients in a blended shake is broken down by the liquefying process, so the nutrients are more readily available to be digested. This is especially beneficial in the morning, when many of us are dehydrated from a night of sleep, and healthy smoothies are a simple and tasty way to get rehydrated.
When using a good protein powder in addition to fruits and leafy greens, healthy fats, and coconut or cashew milk, that shake can provide us the nutrients needed to support our energy for hours. Some of our favorites here at Clean include a Sweet Mango Smoothie, Healing Green Smoothie, and the Tropical Smoothie.
And while there has been debate that blending foods can oxidize some nutrients, this should not dissuade us from making shakes. All means of food preparation have both benefits and drawbacks for nutrients, even cooking can make some nutrients more available and destroy others. Some nutrients in a shake being oxidized does not outweigh the health benefits. Just add healthy smoothies into a clean lifestyle that includes salads, stews, soups, raw food, cooked food, and all the different ways to prepare whole foods. Diversity (and balance!) is the name of the game.
The next major benefit of healthy smoothies is the break they give to our digestive system. This is one of the reasons why shakes are such an important part of our programs. The digestive system uses the most energy of any system in the body after the brain. Our body’s natural supply of digestive enzymes can be depleted over time due to lifestyle and environmental factors. Eating simple foods and paying attention to how our body reacts to combinations can help us with this.
The health of our gut system is more important than we ever suspected. It’s at the root of almost all chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, depression, arthritis, diabetes, autoimmunity, and even weight gain. When we eat food that is already partially “digested” by the blending process, our digestive system has less work to do. The energy that is not used for digestion is then freed up for repair and maintenance throughout the body. I look forward to continuing the discussion of this wonderful health helper in our next article.
To your health,
Alejandro Junger, M.D.