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Green Smoothies for Colds & Flu


Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Updated: April 24, 2020 - - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links


Photo of brunette woman sitting in bed reading a book with an orange tonic drink beside her from "10 Green Smoothies To Beat Back Colds and Flu" by Green Smoothie Girl

Whether you’re already making your way through a box of tissues or you want to keep your immune system’s defenses up before germs, viruses, or other pathogens come your way, you can protect yourself through the gift of food.

Read on to learn how to get a delicious daily dose of immune-boosting foods with green smoothies for cold, flu, and other viruses.

In this article:

How Do We Get Colds and Viruses?

Though it’s most common during the fall and winter, you can catch a cold or come down with a virus like flu any time of the year. Here are a couple of ways it happens, especially if your immune system isn’t as strong as it could be:

  • Dehydration: Mucus membranes in the nose, mouth, eyelids, and throughout the body help defend us from bacteria that could make us sick. If we’re not drinking enough water, that protective mucus can dry out, leaving us more susceptible to illness.
  • Not washing hands: A cold or flu virus is spread through air droplets (from sneezing and coughing), which can be transferred to door knobs, water fountains, toys, etc. Not washing your hands, and subsequently touching your eyes, mouth, or nose can get you sick.

[Related: Health Benefits of Alkaline Water]

Photo of Green Smoothie Girl's 7 immune boosters opt in

[Related: What Are Probiotics Benefits? 11 Signs You’re Deficient, And What To Do]

10 Green Smoothie Recipes for Boosting Immunity

These green smoothie recipes are packed full of immune-strengthening nutrients. I wrote about the best foods and herbs for immunity on this other post; you’ll see them star in the recipes below Sip on these for any meal to amp up your natural defense system throughout the season.

  1. Cold Kicker Smoothie
    This recipe is named for its cold-busting abilities, primarily thanks to oranges. These citrus fruits are chock full of Vitamin C and have antiviral benefits, too. I like to zest the oranges first and put that in the blender, then peel and quarter them before adding the rest of the fruit. This smoothie also has pumpkin, which has Vitamin A, an important nutrient for mucus membrane health5.

    Ingredients:
    2 cups spinach
    2 navel oranges (see recipe notes)
    ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
    1 cup pureed pumpkin
    1 banana
    1 tbsp ground flax seed
    1 tbsp maple syrup
    1 ½ tsp ginger
    ½ tsp turmeric
    ¼ tsp cinnamon

    Directions:
    Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Remember to peel the oranges after zesting before putting into the blender.
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  1. Apple Cinnamon Smoothie
    Cinnamon is an important herb for improving your health via digestion6, and it makes for a really tasty breakfast when paired with apples and kiwi! Feel free to use whatever apples you like—I prefer Granny Smith because they’re perfectly tart and we can rely on the kiwis for sweetness instead.

    Ingredients:
    4 cups baby spinach
    2 cups unsweetened almond milk
    2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
    4 kiwis, quartered
    2 tbsp ground flax seed
    1 tsp cinnamon

    Directions:
    Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Gut-Loving Smoothie
    Since your immune system lives in the gut, good digestion is an indicator of good health, too. In this recipe, flax seeds and chia seeds provide a lot of the gut-loving benefits, with their mucilaginous fiber that is soothing to the digestive tract7. Along with hemp seeds, they also provide omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation.

    Ingredients:
    2 ½ cups cold water
    2 cups packed kale leaves
    ½ avocado
    1 frozen banana
    1 tbsp chia seeds
    2 tbsps ground flax seed
    ¼ cup hemp seeds
    2 tbsp raw honey

    Directions:
    Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Cool Cucumber Delight
    (From Readers’ Favorite Recipes: Volume 1)
    Cucumber is another great source of Vitamin C. It’s not one I like to prepare ahead, however. It’s best prepared fresh because Vitamin C content begins to diminish as soon as you cut into the cooling veggie and break the cellular structure8. Keeping the peel on adds extra fiber as well, which is helpful for keeping your digestive system running smoothly.

    Ingredients:
    1 cucumber with peel
    1 cup water
    1 ripe banana
    1 apple, quartered (seeds, skin, and stem included)
    5 chard leaves (any variety)
    1 handful ice

    Directions:
    Blend it all together for 30 seconds and enjoy!
Photo of two mason jars, one with cucumber and banana slices and one with a green smoothie from "10 Green Smoothies To Beat Back Colds And Flu" by Green Smoothie Girl
The Vitamin C in cucumbers is one of the reasons I love making my Cool Cucumber Delight smoothie when I start to feel ill.
  1. Flu Shot Smoothie
    (Adapted from Readers’ Favorite Recipes: Volume 1)
    Garlic is often called “nature’s antibiotic” for its potent medicinal benefits. But, as we know, colds and flu are viral infections, not bacterial. Garlic’s got that too! Its antiviral properties help make this smoothie a savory soother for your immune system, along with fiber-rich celery that supports the gut, and leafy greens and citrus that add vitamin C.

    Ingredients:
    2 cups cold water
    1 celery stalk (about ½ cup)
    1 handful spinach
    1 handful romaine lettuce
    Fresh parsley and cilantro, to taste
    1 clove garlic
    ½ lime or lemon
    Optional: ½ ripe avocado (if you want it thick)

    Directions:
    Blend in a high-powered blender. Delicious for lunch or dinner!

  2. Mums’ Magical Antiviral Hot LemonAid Tonic
    Though this isn’t a green smoothie, you can totally make it one. I’d add in a couple handfuls of spinach to get extra immune-supporting vitamins and minerals. It’s a mild leafy green, so you won’t taste too much of it, especially not over the lemon, ginger, and cayenne! Cayenne is great for increasing circulation in the body, so any nutrients you consume will get to where they need to go much more easily.

    Ingredients:
    4 cups hot (not boiling) water
    ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (or blend the entire flesh of the lemon)
    2 tbsp raw honey
    ½ – 1-inch fresh ginger root, peeled
    ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
    Cayenne pepper (as much as you can tolerate)
    Optional: 2 cloves fresh garlic

    Directions:
    Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Drink 1 cup at the first symptom of illness, and another cup every 2 hours, or as desired. Do not reheat the elixir, as this will damage enzymes and nutrients. Drink at room temperature or cold after you refrigerate the remaining portion. It will last a week in the fridge, but you can freeze portions in canning jars for future use.
Photo of lemon tea in glass cup with cut lemons honey and ginger surrounding from "Immune-Fuel Hot LemonAid"recipe by Green Smoothie Girl
My “Mums’ Magical Antiviral Hot LemonAid Tonic” recipe came from my own grandmother!
  1. Creamy Sunny Berry Smoothie
    (Adapted from Readers’ Favorite Recipes: Volume 1)
    This recipe is a great guide for making a health-supportive meal. I love that you can customize based on what you have in your freezer or what happens to be in season or on sale at the grocery store. Don’t skip out on the nuts and seeds at the end; they add more zinc to the mix to keep all the jobs of your immune system functioning well and make the smoothie more filling, too!

    Ingredients:
    1 large handful of your favorite dark leafy greens (spinach, collards, chard, etc.)
    2 kale stalks, with largest part of stalk on the end removed
    1 apple or pear (fresh or frozen)
    1 peach or mango (fresh or frozen)
    1-2 bananas (fresh or frozen)
    ⅓ cup frozen blueberries (or other berries)
    1 cup fresh pineapple or orange juice
    1 cup creamy coconut milk (1 cup hot water + 1 cup dry shredded coconut)
    2 tsp fresh lemon juice
    1 squirt liquid stevia (or 1 spoonful dry stevia)
    Sesame seeds, flax seeds, and/or cashews, as much as desired

    Directions:
    Combine and blend for 1-2 minutes.

  2. Mustard Greens Mambo
    Bitter greens are excellent for improving gut health because the taste stimulates enzyme and bile production — two things that are necessary for proper digestion9! We also get a big Vitamin C and selenium boost in this Mustard Greens Mambo with the greens, papaya, blackberries, and oranges, if you choose to add them.

    Ingredients:
    2 3/4 cups water/ice
    2 large leaves and stems mustard greens, coarsely chopped
    4 cups romaine, coarsely chopped
    Spinach, added until mixture reaches 6-cup line
    2/3 tsp powdered stevia
    2 bananas, frozen in chunks
    2 cups frozen blackberries
    1 small papaya, peeled with seeds
    2 apples, pears, or oranges

    Directions:
    Blend the first four ingredients until smooth, then add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving.
1001 Smoothie Recipes from Green Smoothie Girl
  1. Greenhouse Full Throttle Smoothie
    (Adapted from Big Book of Green Smoothies)
    This is a great, big recipe that’s good for the whole family! It’s also the perfect way to use up any vegetables you have left over in the fridge that you need to use up, like wilting greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, or bell peppers. If you’re new to lots of veggies in your smoothies, taste as you go and even out the flavor with more fruit until it’s to your liking.

    Ingredients:
    1 ½ cups water
    3/4-1 lb vegetables, cut into chunks
    1-3 large cucumbers, cut into chunks (skin and seeds intact)
    1-2 bananas, fresh or frozen
    1-2 medium apples (any except Red Delicious), quartered
    1-2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

    Directions:
    Add water and vegetables to a high-powered blender and puree for about 30-60 seconds, until well broken down. Add cucumbers, bananas, and apples separately, blending for about 30 seconds in between until well blended before moving onto the next one. Taste for sweetness and add optional maple syrup if needed.
  1. Green Oats Smoothie
    (Adapted from Big Book of Green Smoothies)
    Oats have lots of great benefits for a smoothie that helps beat cold and flu. They offer up fiber for your digestion, selenium to keep antibody production healthy, pantothenic acid to support the elimination of inflammatory substances from the body10. Oats also help thicken up the smoothie for a delicious, satisfying start to your day.

    Ingredients:
    ½ cup rolled oats, soaked in water overnight
    ½ avocado
    1 handful mixed greens
    1 cup almond, rice, or any nut or seed milk
    1 tbsp flaxseed oil
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    Water, as needed

    Directions:
    Blend everything together and enjoy getting a healthy portion of oats in your smoothie!

Read next: 10 Green Smoothies for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Photograph of Robyn Openshaw, founder of Green Smoothie GirlRobyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
Photo of brunette woman sitting in bed reading a book with an orange tonic drink beside her and post's title text overlay from "10 Green Smoothies To Beat Back Colds and Flu" by Green Smoothie Girl

Sources:

  1. Vighi, G. et al. “Allergy and the gastrointestinal system.” Clinical and Experimental Immunology. 2008 Sep; 153(Suppl 1): 3–6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x
  2. Carr, A.C.; Maggini, S. “Vitamin C and Immune Function.” Nutrients. 2017 Nov; 9(11): 1211. Published online 2017 Nov 3. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211
  3. Wessels, I. et al. “Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function.” Nutrients. 2017 Dec; 9(12): 1286. Published online 2017 Nov 25. doi: 10.3390/nu9121286
  4. Avery, J.C.; Hoffmann, P.R. “Selenium, Selenoproteins, and Immunity.” Nutrients. 2018 Sep; 10(9): 1203. Published online 2018 Sep 1. doi: 10.3390/nu10091203
  5. Yang, Y. et al. “Effects of vitamin A deficiency on mucosal immunity and response to intestinal infection in rats.” Nutrition. 2011 Feb;27(2):227-32. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.11.024. Epub 2010 Apr 3.
  6. Zhen Ou, J. et al. “Potential of in vivo real-time gastric gas profiling: a pilot evaluation of heat-stress and modulating dietary cinnamon effect in an animal model.” Scientific Reports. 6, Article number: 33387 (2016) 
  7. “Chia Seeds.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
  8. Grzelakowska, A. et al. “The dynamics of vitamin C content in fresh and processed cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.)” Chemistry-Didactics-Ecology-Metrology. 2013;18(1-2):97-102. DOI: 10.2478/cdem-2013-0022
  9. McMullen, M.K. et al. “Bitters: Time for a New Paradigm.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015; 2015: 670504. Published online 2015 May 14. doi: 10.1155/2015/670504
  10. “Oats.” The World’s Healthiest Foods. 
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

Posted in: Green Smoothies, Holistic Care, Natural Remedies, Recipes

3 thoughts on “Green Smoothies for Colds & Flu”

Leave a Comment
  1. gerda says:

    dear robin
    thank you so much for this information and the smoothies.

  2. Yolene says:

    Thank you for these recipes to beat the cold and flu. I’ve used the Mums’ Magical Antiviral Hot LemonAid Tonic. Let me tell you, it works for my family.

  3. Vacheslav says:

    i wash my hands after going big time, and i only got poisoned when i was in the hospital, so the place where you need to wash is there, otherwise, as Dr.Axe puts it: you are just nourishing your good pico friends.

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