For many people, murky-looking concoctions resembling swamp water are what first come to mind when envisioning a ‘green’ smoothie. While I’ll be the first to admit that Krishn and I can be a bit hardcore with our smoothies and enjoy green combos that can send others running, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, a ‘green’ smoothie doesn’t need to actually look green at all.
If you’ve been wanting to incorporate more greens into your breakfast but just can’t wrap your head around gulping back a green drink in the morning, than this smoothie is for you. There are so many options for flavouring smoothies to your liking and while these nutrient-dense beverages shouldn’t typically contain a lot of fruit, you can absolutely use fruits that are lower in sugar to offset the bitterness of the greens and ‘hide’ the fact that they’re even in there.
This smoothie has a tangy, yet slightly sweet flavour – it contains berries loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats and a variety of nutrient-dense greens such as parsley, spinach and green tea. The ingredients have been selected for their ability to support the liver, digestive system, kidneys and bladder through its transition into spring and lighter fare. (Yes, it actually is edible… even our toddler approves!) Some of the beneficial ingredients include:
Spinach contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with antioxidants. It is also rich with blood-building iron, folate, B6 and Vitamin K.
The many benefits of spinach could be linked to its high concentration of glutathione. Considered the ‘master antioxidant’ and found within every cell of the body, glutathione is essential for protecting cells’ mitochondria against bacteria, viruses, toxins and more. Glutathione works to neutralize free radicals, enhance the immune system and detoxify the liver. While all antioxidants are important, the average antioxidant has a very short life span – glutathione has the ability to bring antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E back to life and also recharge itself!
Glutathione is found throughout the entire body but is concentrated in the primary detox organ, the liver. There are two phases of liver detoxification – in phase one, liver enzymes convert toxins into compounds that can be flushed out. In phase two, it’s glutathione which helps grab onto toxins and escort them out of the body through urine or bile. If there isn’t enough glutathione present, toxins begin to build up.
While the body naturally produces glutathione, it is easily depleted by stress, caffeine, tobacco, medications and other environmental factors. As a result, obtaining glutathione through diet is important. The body converts plant glutathione into its active form in order to replenish stores. Asparagus, spinach, avocado and squash are all good dietary sources of glutathione.
Parsley Root has high amounts of vitamins A, C and K that protect and support both the kidneys and bladder. Parsley also offers healing compounds that make it a diuretic, which increases urine flow and helps to remove bacteria and toxins through the urinary system. (Yes, this means you’ll likely have to pee more after consuming!) The diuretic effect helps to prevent kidney stones and various urinary tract problems and also helps to reduce excess edema and swelling, without depleting the body of potassium. The chlorophyll in parsley aids in alkalizing the body, forming new red blood cells and purifying the blood.
Green Tea is most commonly revered for its abundant supply of Polyphenols that help to detoxify the body through elimination of harmful free radicals. It is also loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been show to eliminate fat accumulation, speed up fat burning and promote proper liver function.
Green tea acts similar to water and can be very hydrating – this means it can help purify blood, flush out toxins and enhance digestive functions. Green tea also has the ability to switch on genes responsible for producing the master antioxidant, glutathione.
**Dandelion root tea can be used in place of green if avoiding caffeine. Although Dandelion offers wonderful liver support, it can have a slight laxative effect for some. Test out a cup of tea in the evening to see how you respond prior to making the smoothie.
Coconut Oil is largely comprised of medium-chain triglycerides which are sent immediately to the liver to be used for energy (rather than storage.) This type of fat is ideal for cleansing, given it can provide the energy needed at a time when less food or lighter foods are being consumed. Medium-chain triglycerides also play a crucial role in cleansing the body from toxins and fungal infections etc.
Berries are loaded with vitamins and minerals – they are also considered one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Berries offer a high concentration of water, making them low calorie. The high amounts of fiber they contain also helps to improve digestion. Berries are low-glycemic and don’t tend to spike blood sugar the way other more high-glycemic fruits do.
Lemons are one of the most well known cleansing foods. They are especially effective in helping support the liver and digestion through increased production of bile. (Bile is necessary for proper digestion, and proper digestion is required for eliminating waste from the body.) Lemons are also a natural diuretic, which increases urination and cleanses both the bladder and kidneys.
Avocado is often known for being a great source of healthy fat, but it is also rich in antioxidants that support detoxification. Avocados contain both insoluble and soluble fiber which can help to gently cleanse the colon and carry toxins out of the body.
Cleansing Berry-Green Smoothie
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup parsley
- 2 cups green tea
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cups mixed frozen berries
- 1/2 avocado
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 dates / or sweeten to liking with raw, unpasteurized honey
- Optional: protein powder and chia seeds
- The night before, steep green tea using two cups of water and two tea bags.
- Cover the tea and place the in the fridge over night.
- In the morning, add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
*Speak to your doctor if you are on medications or have a health condition that could be impacted by foods with diuretic-like properties.