Tag Archives: Smoothie

Superfood: Blueberries.

Blueberry_ClusterDid you know that the month of July is National Blueberry Month? With blueberry season in full force and lasting till the end of August now is the time to take advantage of this wonderful blue gem. And when I say gem, I mean it – most of the power found in these little berries come from it’s deep rich color. That deep-blue hue is a by-product of flavonoids — natural compounds that protect the brain’s memory-carrying cells (neurons) from the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation. Since blueberries are one of the best sources of flavonoids you can find, it’s no surprise that this superfood has been shown to help preserve memory function. Blueberries also have a high water content helping to keep you, your cells and skin hydrated during this sticky summer month. Keep yourself hydrated this morning with a Blueberry Dream Smoothie…it will definitely leave you wanting more berries!

Blueberry Dream Smoothie blueberry-smoothie

1 cup blueberries
1 cup almond milk
1/2 banana
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder or carob powder
1 tablespoon flaxseed

Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Nutrition Source: Joy Bauer

The Magic of Aloe Vera

Aloe_vera386868234The summer heat is in full force and with the Fourth of July holiday around the corner it’s not unusual to take in the intoxicating joys of early summer and good ol’ fashioned celebratory BBQ and beach days. But it’s on days like these that we forget to re-lather, reapply, and repeat sunscreen use or even worse pick up a glass of water instead of one more summer cocktail. This is where superfood food aloe vera steps in to save the day.

Aloe Vera is a superfood that can be eaten, juiced and used topically on the skin. Used topically it can help heal and soothe minor cuts, scratches, and burns (think long beach day sunburns). The instant cooling and hydrating effect it has for the skin are the same benefits you get from the plant internally.  Aloe vera leaves are filled with a mucilaginous gel that contains polysaccharides and each gel-filled leaf is bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, amino acids and enzymes such as; Vitamin A, C, E, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium just to name a few.

Aloe-Vera_4The polysaccharides in aloe are very beneficial to your stiff joints and to your nervous system and brain. Aloe vera helps boost your immune system and since it’s an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal it also aids in your body’s ability to fight illness and external skin rashes or disorders. This anti-inflammatory powerhouse is a great addition to your morning smoothie, juice, and desserts. So the next time you feel summer heat and sun getting the best of you try sipping on this delicious summer cooler!

Aloe Vera Summer Cooler

1 banana
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup pineapple
1 cup fresh aloe vera, cubed
1/2 cup ice

Recipe: Y3 Test Kitchen

Superfood: Turmeric

TurmericRoot7a_0In light of our second chakra, or in Sanskrit Swadhisthana, located just below your navel, is associated with feelings and emotions, gut-instincts and intuition, creative realization, playfulness, passion and sexuality. Its color is pumpkin orange. Spiritual and emotional issues that can block energy in the second chakra are balancing your drives toward sex, money, and relationships; co-creating with others; defining boundaries; and struggling with when to give and take and when to be assertive and passive. Physical aliments typically associated with a dysfunction or blocked second chakra are low back pain, irritable bowel movements and low libido, which can be caused from inflammation found in our cells and organs.

We’re highlighting turmeric as the superfood for the day as a compliment to help energetically open this richly layered chakra, due to it’s vibrant yellow-orange color and as a means to help unblock and soothe our second chakra while nourishing our body. And I mean how wonderful is mother nature to supply this wonderful, similarly colored, healing food to help reduce inflammation in the body.

About Turmeric

turmericTurmeric, which is made from the root of the curcuma longa plant, gets its super powers from an antioxidant called curcumin (no relation to cumin). Traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda —  has used the spice for its medicinal powers for thousands of years to cure inflammation-based conditions ranging from irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmune disorders to arthritis and tendonitis. Chronic inflammation is responsible for many serious illnesses, including heart disease and some cancers, so adding anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric can help relieve pain, swelling, and redness that may come with inflammation. Plus, it may help fight infections and help treat digestive problems.

Even more modern studies have found this magical compound can prevent the growth of cancer cells by decreasing swelling and inflammation. Some research suggests turmeric’s antioxidant powers may also help slow cancer growth and for those already suffering, make chemotherapy more effective and help protect the body’s healthy cells from radiation therapy damage. Aside from its antioxidants, tumeric’s anti-estrogen compounds can help fight the growth of breast tissue tumors thought to be caused by estrogenic compounds found in food, pesticides, and other chemicals. While turmeric has been studied and proved to help relieve inflammation symptoms from the body more research is still desired and needed to fully understand the complete health benefits of this superfood. To get your turmeric love affair underway try this delicious healing elixir…

Yellow-Orange ‘Heal Me’ Smoothie
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup coconut water
1 inch fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Top with a squeeze of lime, to taste
A drizzle of raw honey, optional
Turmeric Info Source: Greatists
Photos: myombody

The Lure of Vanilla

dryvanillaIt’s in our food, beverages, chocolate, perfume, soaps, and is even known to lure not only humans but deers as well. Last but most certainly not least vanilla helps to lift spirits, calms you down, and can even help you lose weight!
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids in the genus Vanilla native to Mexico. The name “vanilla” comes from the Spanish word “vainilla”, meaning “little pod”. Traditionally, Mayans used vanilla to flavor chocolate drink centuries before Spanish first arrived in Mexico in 1520. This highly prized bean is native to tropical rain forest of Central America and more recently spread to other tropical-regions by Spanish explorers. Being an avid fan and maybe slightly obsessed with using vanilla in many of our smoothie recipes, I was excited to learn a thing or two about the origins of vanilla and it’s associated, if any, health benefits. Along with the history, lure, and fun facts I found about this somewhat scandalous bean I was pleasantly surprised about its associated health benefits. Also, we’ve included a spring-time nod to vanilla and rhubarb with a delicious new smoothie recipe. Enjoy!
Health Benefits of Vanilla
  • Vanilla’s anti-carcinogenic property primarily comes from the chemical compound vanillin, a polyphenol known to be a powerful antioxidant. The essential oil of vanilla has been shown to reduce free radicals thought to promote the development of inflammation and certain cancers. Other compounds in pure vanilla extract that display mild antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties include eugenol, caproic acid, phenol ether, carbonyl compounds, esters, lactones and vitispiranes.
  • Vanilla as a low calorie sweetener. Pure vanilla bean extract isn’t very sweet, especially compared to artificial and refined sugars, but its unique flavor can enhance the taste of baked goods, smoothies and coffee and reduce the need for additional sweeteners. As such, vanilla extract can be considered a lower calorie sugar substitute.450px-Vanilla_beans
  • The natural extract contains many B vitamins such as B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5 and B-6. B vitamins are important for metabolism and energy production, as well as the synthesis of enzymes.
  • Real vanilla bean extract also contains many minerals in trace amounts such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. These minerals are important for strong bones and teeth, but are also needed for normal muscle tone and fluid distribution.
  • Vanilla as a mood enhancer: Vanilla extract has a long history of use in the Americas not only as a flavoring, but also as an aphrodisiac, sedative, antidepressant and sleep aid. The ability of vanilla extract to affect hormones of the body and neurotransmitters of the brain is not well established by scientific studies, although many decades of anecdotal claims make it an intriguing possibility. Many other herbal remedies, such as Valerian root, chamomile and passion fruit, are proven to alter mood, so the potential certainly exists for vanilla bean.

Vanilla Rhubarb Smoothie

rhubrab-smoothie-640x427

1 1/2 cups stewed rhubarb
1 cup sprouts
1/4 cup almond coconut yogurt
1 banana
1/2 – 1 cup water (to your desired consistency)
splash of lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract

To stew add chopped rhubarb with ¼ – 1/3 cup of water, one tablespoon of desired sweetener (I used sucanut), ½ teaspoon vanilla and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Bring all ingredients to a boil and then lower to a simmer and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Let the rhubarb cool to room temperature then chill in the fridge.

Add all the smoothie ingredients to your blender. Blend and enjoy.

Sources: The Nest, ServoLux

A Taste Of The Tropics

il_fullxfull.339285162There’s no better way to start your day than with a taste of the tropics. This fruity and refreshing smoothie will even have the groggiest of early risers smiling and moving through the day with an extra bounce in their step. The shining star in this smoothie recipe is papaya.

Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and special digestive enzymes that have a remarkable effect both internally and externally. If you’d like to improve your skin, relieve digestion problems, protect your eyes and heart then consider the many benefits of eating papaya.

For your skin

Ripe papaya is a great source of antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene. The high levels of these nutrients can help protect your Papaya-Facial-Maskskin against free radicals known to cause wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.

The enzyme papain in the flesh and skin of the fruit actually breaks down dead skin cells and helps promote skin renewal when used topically on the face or body. Using papaya topically, as scrubs or cleansers can improve your skin’s texture, elasticity and appearance.

For your eyes

Along with its beta-carotene content that can be converted to vitamin A, which is extremely important to eye health and vision, papaya also contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Lutein and zeaxanthin, known as xanthophylls, are concentrated in the macular region of our eyes. Here they provide protection against high-energy blue light that can damage our retinas. The high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in papaya may also protect us against developing cataracts, glaucoma, and other chronic eye diseases.

Heart Disease

The high levels of vitamin C and E along with antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene found in papaya can help reduce the oxidization of cholesterol in our arteries. Cholesterol oxidization is considered a dangerous process, potentially leading to arteries blocked with plaque that can result in heart attacks. Increasing your intake of these antioxidants from health foods like papaya may help improve blood flow to the heart and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Papaya is a good source of folate, which can help control high levels of homocysteine found in the bloodstream – another warning sign of potential heart-related illness as high levels of homocysteine in the blood are known to damage blood vessels making them difficult to properly circulate through the body.

Improve Digestion

The enzymes in papaya, and especially the green fruit, can improve digestion by breaking down proteins into their individual amino acids. Undigested proteins can lead to health issues such as gastrointestinal problems and an overgrowth of flatulence causing bacteria in the colon.

The proteolytic enzyme papain found in papaya is extremely efficient at breaking down proteins and restoring healthy bacteria in our gut. The seeds of papaya are believed to have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on our digestive systems. Studies have shown an extract made from them is effective at killing E coli, Salmonella, Staph and other dangerous bacterial infections.papayasmoothie

Tropical Papaya Smoothie

2 cups papaya
1 cup pineapple
1/4 avocado
1 1/2 cup coconut water
Small handful of cashews
Dash of cinnamon

Blend and enjoy.

Source: Superfood Profile