Best Reasons to Have a Green Smoothie

There's great nutrition inside, if you can get past the color

It really is easy being green. AE Pictures Inc. / Getty Images

Green smoothies may be all the rage in juice bars and healthy fast food kiosks, and no wonder: this blend of green leafy vegetables and fruit can pack several anti-aging servings of fresh produce in one tall glass.  Here are a few of the best reasons to incorporate green smoothies into your diet:

1.   Green smoothies pack in nutrients:  There's no shortage of research showing that eating more unprocessed foods from a variety of sources can help you avoid age-related diseases like diabetes and cancer, improve your immune function and fend off fatigue.

  In fact, a 2013 study on the eating habits of more than 450,000 European adults linked eating 7 servings of fruits and vegetables daily with a 10% lower risk of death during the 13-year study period.  Instead of doing the daily dietary math, why not ensure you're sticking with an anti-aging diet by condensing several servings into one drink?

2.   The finely chopped greens can be easier to digest:  Not everyone can increase their fruit and vegetable intake without some minor gastric distress, but having a blender "pre-chew" your greens for you can help make robust plants like collard greens and kale easier on the tummy.  There's no way you can break down several cups of greens with your teeth the way a powerful blender can in just  a few seconds.

3.   Green smoothies have a low-calorie, density:  In her ground-breaking book Volumetrics, esteemed nutrition researcher Barbara Rolls reveals that we tend to eat a consistent volume and weight of food each day, rather than a steady number of calories.

  By choosing foods with fewer calories that take up the same space in our cup or on our plate, we can feel full while doing less damage to our waistlines. 

4.  Green smoothies have a high fiber content: A large 2011 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine examined the fiber intake of almost 400,000 adults between the ages of 50-71, concluding that the chance of death from any cause diminished over a 9-year period the more dietary fiber was consumed.

  Boost your longevity as well as your regularity by adding even more fiber to your green smoothies in healthy seeds like chia, hemp and flax.

5.   Green smoothies contain a lot of water: According to Rolls, intriguing research suggests that water incorporated into a dish or beverage is perceived differently by our appetite sensors (and therefore better for weight loss than water taken with a meal. What's more, there's some evidence that the body absorbs water consumed in soups or smoothies more effectively than the water we drink.  No matter which green smoothie recipe you prefer, some leafy greens contain as much as 90% water.

6.    Green smoothies can protect brain function:  Researchers studying a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet to reduce hypertension saw a lower incidence of cognitive decline among older adults followed the tweaked food plan.  Described in a 2015 paper published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, the so-called MIND diet includes an emphasis on the kinds of green leafy vegetables and berries commonly used in green smoothies.

Whether you opt for a fruit-based smoothie with some greens or a green-based smoothie with no fruit at all, you're sure to benefit from the phytonutrients, fiber - and water - in these colorful blended beverages.  Just do your family a favor (if they're squeamish), and drink it out of an opaque glass.

Source:

Barbara Rolls and Mindy Hermann. The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet Harper Collins. 2012.

Leenders Max, Sluijs Ivonne, Ros Martine M, et al. "Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Mortality: European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition." American Journal of Epidemiology 2013;178(4):590-602.

Morris, Martha Clare; Tangney, Christy C; Wang, Yamin; Sacks, Frank M; Bennett, David A; Aggarwal, Neelum T. "MIND Diet Associated With Reduced Incidence of Alzheimer's Disease." Alzheimer's & Dementia, ISSN 1552-5260, 02/2015.

Park Y, Subar AF, Hollenbeck A, Schatzkin A. Dietary fiber intake and mortality in the NIH-AARP diet and health study. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Jun 27;171(12):1061-8.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21321288

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