Friday, September 30, 2011

Peachy Green

I love smoothies.  They're hard not to love - delicious, healthy, filling, and can be consumed on your commute to work (unless you cycle, that would be tough).  But lately I feel like I've been in a smoothie rut, making the same couple of smoothies every day.  I needed to branch out!  Shake it up a bit!  So yesterday, while at the grocery store, I spied the box of spinach and thought to myself - it's time to go GREEN.

No one will argue the benefits of leafy greens.  In them you'll find vitamins A, C, K, folate, fiber, calcium and iron.  Wait a sec.... just what is vitamin K?  It's not one of those vitamins you hear a lot about.  But like all vitamins, it's extremely important.  It plays a major role in healthy blood clotting and it is also vitally important to bone health.  Post-menopausal women who are experiencing bone loss can help prevent fractures by consuming adequate amounts of vitamin K.  Vitamin K also inhibits calcification (aka "hardening") of the arteries that is commonly associated with heart disease.  Vitamin K deficiencies can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, gum bleeding, nose bleeds, easy bruising, anemia, bone fractures and osteoporosis. [1] The best source of vitamin K?  Leafy greens.

Don't worry, you don't need to gorge yourself on leafy greens for fear that your blood will stop clotting and your bones will break.  One cup of cooked spinach has over 1000% of your required daily intake of vitamin K.  Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard (you get the idea) all have whopping amounts of vitamin K.  So as long as you make some leafy greens a part of your regular diet, you'll be just fine.

Back to the smoothies.   I have made a green smoothie or two in the past.  Search google for "green smoothie" and you will turn up over 1.8 million hits.  After a little searching and a few of my own attempts I have a few tips for my fellow green smoothie noobs:

  1. Adding berries to a green smoothie will produce an unappealing brown smoothie.
  2. Use well-ripened bananas for creaminess and sweetness.
  3. Spinach has a mild flavour and is a good "starter green"
  4. Blend like hell - you don't want leafy chunks in your smoothie.

Peachy Green Smoothie

1 banana (frozen)
1-2 peaches
1 tbsp ground flax seed
a handful of baby spinach 
Enough water or soymilk to make it blendable

Throw it all in a blender, blend on a high setting for at least a few minutes (or until the leaf chunks disappear)

The verdict: really quite tasty!!  The spinach flavour is barely perceptible, and I have to admit, I enjoy the green colour.  This will definitely join the regular smoothie rotation.

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