Blending tips for healthier smoothies.
Smoothies are often portrayed as the ultimate shortcut to a healthy diet, but could they be doing us more harm than good? Some things to watch out for.
A smoothie, while a source of nutrition often contains too much sugar, and although these sugars usually come from food sources such as fruit, it is not the same as eating the whole fruit. Whole fruit contains fibre, which provides a slow release of energy from sugar. When blending the smoothie, the smoother it is the more the structure of fibre gets destroyed. This in turn increases the release of a blood sugar spike, which can leave you feeling hungry. Many store-bought smoothies also contain added sweeteners such as fruit juice and frozen yogurt, while drinking your food skips an important part of the digestive process – chewing. Chewing stimulates saliva, which starts to break down food, so nutrients can be absorbed. In contrast, blended food moves through the digestive system faster, so you could end up absorbing fewer nutrients. This, over time, could lead to nutrient deficiency.
Fresh green smoothies can offer other possible pitfalls. Yes, greens are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, but leafy greens also contain oxalates, which can bind with calcium and iron in the body and prevent the absorption of these vital nutrients. Excess oxalates can also deplete the body of glutathione, an important antioxidant which helps the body detoxify chemicals. Meanwhile, cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, contain goitrogens, which can suppress thyroid function and inhibit uptake of iodine.
However, if you really can’t do without your green smoothie, steam your greens first, as this reduces both oxalates and goitrogens.
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