Every parent from the beginning of time would love to see their children eat a little more vegetables, especially their greens. Luckily for us the green smoothie can come to the rescue.
Agreen smoothie is a delicious drink that includes fruit and green vegetables; all you need is a blender (I use a Vitamix), some leafy greens, fruit and water.
Green leafy vegetables contain very high levels of nutrients. The most significant unique health benefits are due to chlorophyll, the alkalising molecule found in green vegetables. Chlorophyll is sometimes called the blood of plants; an interesting parallel is how chlorophyll closely resembles hemoglobin found in our red blood cells. Chlorophyll helps build blood and is a great oxygen enhancer to energise the body and keep bacteria and other bugs away. Here’s three to try.
Immune Boost (serves 2)
3 organic kiwifruit 1 organic apple Squeeze of lemon ½ an orange peeled – plus a little of the skin if it’s organic (a source of bioflavinoids) A small handful of pumpkin seeds (preferably soaked) 2 cups of organic spinach 2 cups of water
Blend until smooth. This smoothie contains astronomical amounts of immune enhancing natural vitamin C, beta-carotene, antioxidants, vitamin K, zinc, folate, potassium, polyphenols and bioflavinoids.
Play All Day Energy Smoothie (serves 2)
1 organic banana 1 cup of pineapple 1 cup of organic spinach 1 cup of organic kale 2 cups of water Some mint to taste Blend until smooth, best served cold. High in potassium and other minerals, which are great for physical activity. Bromine, an enzyme in pineapple, is important for digestive health. Also a good source of thiamin, a B Vitamin that acts as a co-factor important to energy production. Alkalising, energising and super-hydrating.
The Brain Support Smoothie (serves 2)
1 organic banana 1 cup of organic blueberries (frozen is fine) A few walnuts which have been soaked and rinsed 1 cup of organic kale 1 teaspoon of honey 1 cup of yoghurt or nut milk ½ a cup of water, a little more if needed Blend until smooth, which may come out more brown than green. If you strike child compliance issues with colour, swap the blueberries with kiwifruit. This smoothie contains loads of vitamin K (important for brain function), good levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, a slow supply of glucose for brain function, high in antioxidants, good for memory and other cognitive function. The best way to get children to drink these is to get them to help make them. A daily green smoothie is an effective way to give the body the nutrients it needs, providing nature’s perfect multivitamin. Nicki MacKinnon is a naturopath, medical herbalist and a passionate real food advocate.
Naturopath and herbalist Nicki MacKinnon blends a green smoothie with her son. Photos: Ted Baghurst.