extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 1 of 7]

Many health food nuts like me have a mental list of ingredients they know are nutritional powerhouses, and we want to get them in our diet but often fail to do so, because we don’t know how or don’t fit it into the day’s menu. Green smoothies are the perfect way to do that–just toss some stuff in! Be adventurous. Use those exotic, high-impact nutrition items if you can afford them. If not, please don’t worry about it–you’re getting tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from the simple greens and fruit combinations. Smoothies don’t have to contain expensive, exotic ingredients. But not all of the “other ingredients” discussed in this section are expensive.

Kelp and dulse

If you don’t mind the seaweedy taste of sea vegetables like kelp and dulse, use those high-impact foods in your blender. Just a little bit is enough, and they are more thyroid nourishing than any other food. So if you are hypothyroid (as about 25 percent of women are in America, many of them undiagnosed), consider getting one or both of these foods in your daily diet. Green smoothies are an easy way to do that. Those who suffer with low energy and slow metabolism often have low thyroid problems. (And diagnosing it can be difficult, involving full-panel blood testing done by a hormone clinic, examining the interplay of several different variables.) Taking a thyroid hormone causes disease risk and can burn out the thyroid even more over time, especially the synthetic drugs such as Synthroid and Cytomel. Sea vegetables nourish and support the thyroid rather than sort of jab and poke it to perform.

Flax oil

If you don’t know how to get flax oil in your diet, minerals from greens are absorbed better when eaten with some fats, so putting flax oil in your green smoothie is a great idea. You’ll never even notice it, used in this form. A tablespoon daily is a good dosage for an adult to avoid inflammatory ailments, and protect healthy cell membranes needed to keep toxic elements out but allow nutrients in. Flax oil has wide-ranging benefits uncovered in research in the past decade involving the immune, circulatory, reproductive, cardiovascular, and nervous system. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, including the rather rare omega-6 and omega-9 nutrients that your body cannot manufacture itself and must receive from outside sources.

Using flax oil, you can avoid taking fish oil with all its attendant risks (fish being tainted with mercury and other pollutants). Flax has more lignans by 80 times than the next-highest food, which cut your risk of breast and colon cancers dramatically. Research connects it to reduction of PMS symptoms, improvement in multiple sclerosis treatment, reduction in allergies and arthritis and diabetes, as well as eczema, asthsma, and loss of eyesight. It increases fat burning and allows you to recover from sprains and muscle fatigue more quickly.

You should never heat flax oil, which damages its nutritional properties, and you must purchase it refrigerated and use it very fresh, as it becomes rancid in only a month or two. This is one of the more expensive ingredients you can add to smoothies. If you prefer, you can grind a small amount of flaxseed instead. This is inexpensive, but the whole seed is mucilaginous, thereby making your smoothie thicker and bulkier, so if you add ground flaxseed instead of oil, you may want to add more water to compensate. Use freshly ground flaxseed, as it oxidizes and becomes rancid quickly once ground. You can use your BlendTec Total Blender, or a small $10 electric coffee grinder from any store like Target or Walmart.

If you add interesting things to your GS, let us know! I’ll be posting more of my additions over the next 6 days.