Smoothies are a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, but to get the optimum benefits, greener is better.
We tend to avoid eating greens, so including them in a smoothie is an easy way to provide the essential and often unique nutrients they contain.
The great news is that when they are combined with fruits, you really don't taste the greens. And the health benefits recently presented at Livestrong and confirmed by nutritionists such as Gillian Mckeith and Patrick Holford could tempt even the most vegetable-averse among us: weight loss, anti-ageing, improved bone and joint function, a stronger immune system, better digestion, more energy, healthier hair, skin and nails, improved focus and mental clarity, detoxification and added chlorophyll.
The best green ingredients include spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, avocado, parsley, broccoli and cabbage. Blending them with fruits such as apple, pear and pineapple works really well. Ideally, you should rotate the ingredients so you have variety, perhaps choosing just three per smoothie. Be sure not to overblend, which introduces too much air and causes the nutrients to begin dissipating.
Having a green smoothie for breakfast is a great way to boost the nutrition power of your first meal of the day and help your body function better. A daily green smoothie may be excessive, but aiming for four per week would certainly reap rewards.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to www.BeUtifulYou.co.uk