extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 8 of 9]

Brewer’s (nutritional) yeast

Brewer’s or “nutritional” yeast is grown on barley, and it is often used as a supplement, especially for nursing mothers.   It is high in protein, and it is also extremely rich in B vitamins.   It has been linked to reduction of symptoms of diabetes, eczema, constipation, and hypoglycemia.

It is also one of very few plant sources of B12.   Vegetarian lifestyles are often criticized because of low Vitamin B12, and while vegetarians may not actually be suffering from low B12 (depending on which study you are looking at), using aloe vera and nutritional yeast are good ways to address that, if you are avoiding all red meat as many health-conscious vegetarians and vegans do.

Cayenne

Cayenne has long been used not only as a “heat” spice, but also for the medicinal purpose of opening the arteries and preventing cardiac events.   Cayenne is well known to herbalists for its ability to accelerate and intensify the effects of other herbs.   It will add heat and interesting flavor to your smoothies, and it will also open your blood vessels, improving blood flow.

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 6 of 8]

Raw wheat germ

Raw wheat germ is extremely high in Vitamin E and the B vitamins, so this is a great ingredient for women with PMS or menopausal symptoms, and eating it prevents some birth defects, according to research.   It will help you achieve glossy hair, pretty skin, and strong nails.   It adds a nutty flavor and thickness to the smoothie, so you’ll want to add extra water when using this ingredient.   It’s a great way to add fiber to your diet to promote colonic peristalsis and avoid constipation .

However, raw wheat germ goes rancid very quickly.   Buy it in bulk at your health food store if you trust that the store has good product turnover and buys fresh product oven.   Taste it before using, and if it has an even slightly rancid taste, don’t use it.   Store it in the fridge for no more than a couple of weeks, preferably in an airtight container to slow oxidation.

Avocado

This adds extremely nutritious fats to your smoothie, which aids the body in utilizing the minerals in greens.   I highly recommend adding it to smoothies for babies and children, too, or anyone who might need to gain weight.   (It is not a food that will promote weight gain, but because of its high monounsaturated fat content, it is higher in calories than most green smoothie ingredients.)   Avocado is one of the most perfect first foods for a baby.   It’s extraordinarily high in lutein, a phytonutrient that promotes strong eyesight and retards degenerative conditions of the eye.   Other research shows that even short-term avocado consumption decreases total and LDL cholesterol.

Maca root

Maca is a very trendy product from the ancient Peruvian food, from a root related to turnips and radishes, because it has been linked by research to endocrine health and a healthy libido.   It is also said to improve energy levels throughout the day.   So the aphrodisiac is used in South America to boost performance in a variety of areas.

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 4 of 7]

Goji berries

Goji berries are an interesting food because they are consumed regularly by the Earth’s longest-living people for at least 1,700 years, as well as used medicinally.   As scientists began to study their properties, they found that the fruit is 13 percent protein, which is unheard of for a fruit, and will increase the protein ratio of almost any green smoothie.

They also have several B vitamins and Vitamin E, also rare in fruits, 18 amino acids, and possibly more antioxidants than any other food ever studied (chocolate is a competitor).   Remember that antioxidants are scavenging free radicals, literally mopping up those little cancer-causing destroyers in the body.   Many of the compounds found in abundance in the goji berry are so newly researched that we are only just beginning to understand how these nutrients cause increased disease resistance.

Goji berries are very expensive, up to $20/lb.   I and some of my local readers have planted goji plants, which do well in cold winter climates, since the indigenous climates it originates in (such as Tibet) are cold and mountainous as well.   The bushes become fairly large and grow quickly.

Acai berries (pronounced “ah-sah-ee”)

Acai is a very trendy health product showing up in mostly overpriced pasteurized juices sold through network marketing channels.   It’s native to the Amazon rainforests and, like gojis, they are off the chart in antioxidants and anthocyanins that have been studied for their presence in red wine and their heart-protecting benefits (but without the attendant health problems caused by alcohol).   Like gojis, acai berries are also high in essential fatty acids, the omega-6’s and omega-9’s, and they are very expensive.

I would recommend, if you do want to spend the money, buying the whole berries rather than concentrated juices.   The juices are artificially high in sugars, even if they are natural sugars, and highly acidic as well.   The nutrients may be concentrated, but pasteurized juices have no enzymes and therefore draw on the body’s ability to manufacture them, and sugars are concentrated as well.   Wherever possible, use the whole food rather than a processed or reduced version of them.