extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 2 of 7]
More green smoothie ingredients you should try:
Aloe vera is an inexpensive extra ingredient is something I would encourage everyone to use in green smoothies, except pregnant women until further testing is done for that population. I keep an aloe vera plant in my windowsill for quick and effective treatment of burns or scrapes. (You simply cut a spear from the plant, slice it in half, and rub the inner pulp on the sunburn or stovetop/curling iron burn for dramatic healing.) You can buy these plants in nurseries, and they grow wild in some climates, such as in Arizona.
Aloe vera has been extensively studied for its immune-stimulating effects, and hundreds of research papers have been published documenting some very interesting benefits. One I find most interesting is the fact that it contains Vitamin B12, one of the only plant-based sources of this nutrient, so adding this ingredient to smoothies can help vegans and vegetarians achieve complete nutrition. Additionally, the plant has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It heals ulcers and reduces asthma symptoms.
I often cut a large spear, wash it, and throw it in my green smoothie as well. Having your own plant is inexpensive, compared to the slightly processed and nutritionally inferior product you can buy in health food stores. (It’s still excellent nutrition, in the jug from the health food store, just not as powerful as a spear from the raw plant.) A small amount is best, as you can overdo with this ingredient and cause too much bowel stimulation, especially if you are new to green smoothies and transitioning from a fairly typical American diet.
Ginger is an ingredient I add to my smoothies almost daily. The most inexpensive place I find to buy it is Asian stores, and I always pick some up when I stop by the Asian market for my cases of young Thai coconuts. The unpeeled ginger “roots” last a few weeks in the fridge. (I also look through their interesting greens selection while I’m at the Asian market and take home some cabbages, for variety in green smoothies.) Fresh ginger is not actually a root, but rather an underground stem. You peel the brown outer layer off and add an inch or two, or more, to any smoothie. It adds a lovely flavor, but it also has powerful anti-inflammatory, digestive-function strengthening, and anti-nausea properties. It’s a great natural remedy for motion sickness, morning sickness, and intestinal gas. If someone struggles with feeling nauseous while starting a green-smoothie habit, I recommend adding as much ginger as you can. It is a warming herb and helps stimulate blood circulation and promotes decongestion, and it can help knock down a fever.