What’s a Green Smoothie and Why Would I Want One?

This green smoothie looks brown.
This green smoothie looks brown. Click photo for Chocolate Banana Green Smoothie Recipe.

By Cynthia DeWitte

A smoothie is the same thing as a shake. It is a drink made in the blender. This covers a lot of territory from good for you to unhealthy junk. A green smoothie is named green for the leafy green vegetable in the smoothie. It is not named for color. In fact, many green smoothies look brown or orange. If you put strawberries in your smoothie, the red color from strawberries mixed with greens is likely to turn the smoothie brown. Even so, it’s still a green smoothie due to the presence of leafy green vegetables.

The name smoothie does not imply that a drink is healthy. Smoothies can be full of sugar and nothing more than gelato in a glass. Or they can be super healthy drinks made with fruits, vegetables or a combination of each. Some people call smoothies shakes. Shakes are not usually thought of as a health food, but they can be!

We want to drink green smoothies because it is a simple way to get vegetables into the diet. Adding a green smoothie to your daily food intake can bring increased energy and promote good health. More than any other dietary factor, eating lots of vegetables is associated with better health, longer life, less cancer risk as well as healthy: blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and more! When done well, a green smoothie is super nutrition in a glass.

Vegetables contain all sorts of nutrients that are essential for proper cell function. It all starts on the cellular level. If the cells are healthy, the body will be healthy. There is more to nutrition than vitamins and minerals. Phytonutrients in vegetables are crucial to healthy cells;  they bring huge health benefits to our bodies. Phytonutrients are the natural compounds found in plant foods many of which have important jobs in the human body.  Our bodies are made up of cells that need certain things in order to operate properly.  When the cells do not have the basic building and operating nutrients, they cannot perform their functions properly and sometimes not at all. This can lead to any number of problems ranging from lack of energy, sleep problems, lack of focus and to more serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and just about anything you can think of. If the body does not have what it needs to function properly, it won’t be able to do what it is designed to do. It’s like not putting gas in the car and expecting it to still run; or worse yet, expecting it to run on sugar instead of gas.


Green Cooler Smoothie: click photo for recipe.

How do green smoothies fit into this?

With all the evidence of how important it is to eat as many vegetables as we can, finding time in our fast paced lives or an interesting way to consume them, especially in the quantities necessary can be difficult. It is much easier and quicker to put a bunch of kale and other vegetables into a blender and drink it than to eat it whole. Even including the time to use and clean the blender, it is more time efficient to drink it than to eat it forkful by forkful. Smoothies are portable and easy to take with you to drink on the way to work or wherever you go. Smoothies can be eaten as a healthy breakfast shake. Smoothies won’t replace serving vegetables at meals and as snacks during the day. They are in addition to the vegetables you are already eating. My green smoothies cover at least half the daily requirement all at once, in fact, in one smoothie alone, I get a good two cups of leafy greens and another cup or two of sulfur vegetables, plus whatever else I add in such as fruit, parsley and ginger. Each of these is another gem full of nutrients. For a run-down of the number of vegetables needed and the groups, this article covers it. Click here. 

Not all Smoothies are Created Equal

Not all smoothies are the same and not all smoothies are healthy. Smoothie is a category, not a specific food. There are many types of smoothies being sold as health food, but many of them include additives that are not healthy and some have a ton of sugar. Making green smoothies at home makes it possible to include only ingredients that add to your health. It is possible to make a green smoothie with a mixture of vegetables, fruits and add-ins that will taste good and be excellent for increasing health and vitality of your cells and your entire body. Don’t assume that anything sold as a smoothie is good for you. Check the ingredients and decide if it is something you want to put into your body. Most commercially available smoothies are full of sugar and lack green vegetables. They may also contain questionable ingredients. The best smoothie is usually the smoothie you make yourself. You can fill it with ingredients that contribute to your health and well-being and skip anything that doesn’t belong in your body. 



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