In our quest for eternal youth and beauty we are willing to go to the extreme in many respects, but liquid lettuce… it’s a big ask. We get the inside scoop on why green smoothies are the next big thing and what it is about greens that makes them so important for our health and vitality.
We are a generation geared towards the quick fix, towards immediate results and we demand a clear cause and effect relationship before we are willing to commit our time and money. While that tends to leave many women impatient and searching for surgical or pharmaceutical solutions to the symptoms of ageing, a new surge of purists are fighting disease and ageing from the inside out through nutrition.
Despite current fad diets like paleo, raw and sugar-free diets, the World Health Organisation lists low consumption of fruit and vegetables in the top 10 leading causes of global mortality and, according to Queensland Health, a mere 9 per cent of Australians over the age of 18 are getting their recommended vegetable intake.
Read the facts about the raw food diet >>
SheKnows spoke to Delia McCabe of Delia Health, one of Australia’s leading nutritional researchers, to get the low down on these alarming statistics and how we can fight ageing from the inside out.
SheKnows: How can we fight ageing from the inside out?
Delia McCabe: Only 1 per cent of people take preventative measures for their lives in general, most people have short-term goals or wait until there is an actual problem before they take action. A healthy diet that focuses on leafy greens and essential fats and oils is the best way to fight a whole host of health issues including ageing, hormonal challenges and other physical disorders.
SK: Why are greens so important?
DM: Green leaves are a building block of life on Earth and should be for our body as well. Nutrition researcher Dr. Udo Erasmas claims that greens should make up the bottom layer of the food pyramid, they are so important. What’s more:
- Greens contain chlorophyll and essential fats which help oxygenate and regenerate cells throughout our body and brain — an essential component of maintaining healthy and youthful skin, mind and internal organs.
- They naturally reduce inflammation in the body.
- Greens contain fibre which flushes out the intestines and helps get rid of toxins in the body.
- They contain a high level of protein and individual amino acids.
- They are nutrient dense and contain vitamin C, beta carotine, the B vitamins as well as phytonutrients which have powerful antioxidants.
- Greens actually work as a deodoriser in the body, fighting against body odour and bad breath.
- According to Otto Warburg, a prominent cancer researcher in the 1950’s, a diet high in oxygen-promoting foods – which green leaves are – reduces the chances of getting cancer significantly.
SK: So what is the best way to include greens in our diet?
DM: While salads are good, most people don’t get the full nutritional benefits from the greens because they don’t chew them enough. Each mouthful should be chewed for about 30 seconds until it becomes a smooth, creamy pulp to enable the nutrients to be released. For this reason, green smoothies are a great way to up your intake of greens. Not only is it a quick and easy way to eat more serves of greens, in the blending process, the greens are broken down to the perfect consistency for our body to assimilate the nutrients straight away.
SK: It sounds like a lot of effort for something that doesn’t appear very palatable. Are there any tricks?
DM: Victoria Boutenko is known as the “Green Smoothie Queen” and I recommend her book, Green Smoothie Revolution, for lots of recipes and information. Surprisingly though, green smoothies are delicious, especially when blended with fruit and ice. Keep it as simple as possible and gradually add more greens as you get used to it. You will be amazed that as your body fills up on nutrients and your tastebuds change, you will stop craving sweet things and start craving green smoothies instead.
SK: Last but not least, do we need to buy organic greens to get the full benefit?
DM: In an ideal world, we would all buy organic. The next best thing though is to eat as fresh as possible, preferably out of your own garden. If your greens aren’t organic you should wash or spray them with a solution of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water then rinse before using them in your smoothie.
Green smoothie recipes to try
The SheKnows team took themselves to a mental happy place and tentatively downed a couple of green smoothie samples. We are pleasantly surprised to announce that not only are green smoothies palatable but they are downright enjoyable. Try for yourself; just combine the ingredients listed in a blender and pulse for 1-3 minutes, depending on the power of your machine.
Delia’s Green Smoothie
- 1 head of lettuce from garden (vary what type you use — kale, spinach, rocket etc)
- 1 medjool date
- 2 pears
- 1 cup ice
- 1 cup water
Victoria Boutenko’s Basic Balance Green Smoothie
- 1 mango
- 1 cup kale
- 1 cup water
SK Team Favourite Green Smoothie
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 cup ice