Rosanna Davison's top tips for smashing smoothies
SMOOTHIES have enjoyed a major revival, with various smoothie bars and brands popping up on high streets and in supermarkets. Smoothies are a brilliant way to incorporate a wealth of goodness into your diet.
While it's wonderful to see so many more people becoming passionate about their health, there are a few points worth being aware of when choosing your smoothie ingredients, as there tends to be a bit of confusion between smoothies and juices.
First of all, smoothies are made by blending all of the ingredients together, which keeps the fibre in the food. If you're adding some fruit to it, then the fibre of the fruit remains in the drink, which slows down the rate that it gets absorbed into your bloodstream.
I love smoothies, and green ones in particular, as they're a quick and easy way to get plenty of nutrition into your system, and make great filling snacks and energy-boosters.
In a smoothie, the plant cells have already been broken down by blending, which means your body has to expend less energy for digestion. The nutrients are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and delivered to all of your body cells.
Chlorophyll is the green pigment in leafy green vegetables and it has an almost identical molecular structure to human blood, which makes it an excellent blood builder and cleanser, helping to oxygenate your blood and body cells.
More cleansed and oxygenated blood means more nutrients are delivered to your skin, hair and muscles for boosting health
However, when fruit is juiced, the fibre is removed and just the juice remains. This is not how nature intended fruit to be eaten, and such a concentrated amount of fructose can cause your blood sugar levels to sharply rise, which also causes your pancreas to release insulin.
Insulin is known as your fat storing hormone and when it's constantly circulating your system, it may prevent your body from burning fat stores efficiently, no matter how much you exercise, although regular exercise does help to improve insulin sensitivity. So fruit juice can be a disaster for weight loss efforts.
In the long term, chronically-raised insulin levels may also lead to insulin resistance and even encourage type 2 diabetes to develop.
Green smoothies are my favourite and the only ones I drink as they're jam-packed with chlorophyll to encourage glowing skin, oxygen to regenerate your blood and body cells, living enzymes, vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. They help to boost energy and remove waste products.
Always wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before blending, removing tough skins, apple cores and pips, and if using non-organic produce, scrub them well to remove waxes and pesticides.
I generally use a masticating juicer to make green smoothies, as it gently squeezes the ingredients to preserve all of their vitamins.
Also known as cold press or slow juicers, they process the ingredients through slow rotating gears, then press the juice out through a perforated screen.
They really squeeze all the goodness out of the vegetables and can handle much denser ingredients, such as wheatgrass, kale and spinach.
This recipe for a homemade smoothie is really refreshing and easy to drink, plus it doesn't taste 'green'.
It's pure liquid vitality to boost your energy and revitalise your body cells.
2 cucumbers, rinsed and cut into medium-size pieces. I leave the skin on and buy organic cucumbers when possible.
A handful of fresh mint leaves
2 tsp fresh root ginger
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1 lime, peeled and halved
1. Prepare the ingredients and process them through the juicer, as instructed.
2. Serve chilled in a tall glass or jar with a couple of ice cubes.
3. The juice is best drank as soon as possible after pressing, but can be frozen for up to three months.