We equate green smoothies with smoothies prepared with vegetables. Various researches have proved their benefits for human health. Earlier they were thought to resolve some of your problems in weight gain, blood pressure, cardiovascular issues and liver functioning. However, the latest researches have proved green smoothies as massive protection against cancers.
I am still looking for some quality evidence to prove the health dangers of vegetable and fruit smoothies. However, there are a few reported problems which can be solved easily with the help of training eating habits or your local grocery stores.
However, there is a lot of noise on social media regarding various harms of the green smoothies. Some of them are just non-proven, but a few carry a lot of weight. A few of them are noted here with easy to follow solutions to benefit from green smoothies.
Interestingly, very few people talk about this, but it is a real problem.
Conventional farming uses a lot of toxic pesticides of which residuals remain within vegetables. When you use these traditional vegetables in your green smoothies, you face more chances to develop cancers like 73% for non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, 21% for post-menopausal breast cancer, and 25% of various other types.
There is only one little solution. Always prefer organic vegetables and fruits for your smoothies. However, when you are limited to get organic fruits and vegetables, you should take the following measures before blending your smoothie.
• First, you should always wash your vegetables and fruits before consuming them. This precaution should be taken even in the case of organic vegetables because their surface may also contain some dirt, pest’s eggs, and even organic pesticide residual.
• Second, when you fail to get organic foods, you should still use vegetables and fruits. You should always peel off the vegetables and fruits before putting them in your green smoothie blender. This way you can minimize the risks being associated with conventional foods. Naturally, this solution will not work with leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.
Our stomachs have been working for centuries to release Peptine when we take sufficient foodstuff to be dissolved by various enzymes. However, when we go for green smoothies, the liquids and broken nutrients are supplied to our bodies quickly by leaving sufficient amount of stomach enzymes to be utilized for food absorption. This situation doesn’t allow the green smoothies to satiate us to reduce our solid intake.
World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) reports: “Drinks by their nature are generally high in water and so, compared to foods, have low energy density.”
“Energy consumed in drinks appears to be less easily recognized by appetite control systems than energy in foods.”
Not only this. One of the health studies shows 15% reduction of satiety on taking the whole apple and 1% when converted into a smoothie. Interestingly, the apple juice was found increasing satiety by 3% during the everyday meals.
The solution to this problem lies in taking more solid fruits and vegetables instead of going for processed junk food (page link) when green smoothies fail to satiate you.
When we see real risks for being overweight or obese, the satiety may not be a big issue for many people. During weight loss diet plans, we continuously add fibers to minimize our satiety. Similarly, religious people go for fasting while ignoring satiety. But most of the people gain more weight once the weight-reducing intervention is over.
Similar goes with the weight loss smoothies.
The WCRF also reports that the appetite control center needs months to normalize its operations, and short term interventions may not help the users to lose weight for a long time. The initial weight loss takes place due to fluctuations in body stored water. However, long term weight loss takes place with long term interventions. It suggests:
“The maintenance of energy balance involves various processes, including satiety responses, appetite control systems, and other homeostatic mechanisms. In the main, the control systems are most effective in responding to underfeeding, by increasing appetite, and are less effective at reducing intake with long-term overfeeding.”
In other words, when you consume green smoothies to reduce your weight for a while, they will backfire once you stop. You need to consume them as a life-long habit to avoid this limitation.
Note: This assertion doesn’t mean that green smoothies, when taken occasionally, don’t make positive impacts on your health. Even one green glass of smoothie does something useful to your overall health, however small that may be.
There is a lot of difference between green smoothies and vegetable juices. Juices may increase your hunger while acting as a starter. However, even green smoothies may not reduce your weight enough. The WCRF suggests to go for smoothies instead of juices of vegetables and fruits as, “Foods high in dietary fiber, such as wholegrain cereals and vegetables, promote satiety and therefore may influence weight regulation by improving appetite regulation and tending to constrain excess energy consumption.”
UK Heart Foundation suggests:
“We also need to eat high fiber and wholegrain carbohydrates, as well as some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, lean meat and other protein foods, as well as low-fat dairy products and small amounts of healthier, unsaturated fats.”
The most effective weight loss smoothies are prepared with green leave vegetables.
However, the WCRF proposes that the produces which cause cancer also cause obesity and vice versa, and promotes ‘plant-based’ diets which include both; vegetables and fruits to control obesity and cancer. It defines ‘plant-based’ foods which are “high in nutrients, high in dietary fiber (and so in nonstarch polysaccharides), and low in energy density.”
However, we not only add fruits to vegetables but also flavors, sugar, salts, and various additives to make weight loss smoothies tastier. WCRF warns:
“Altering the energy density of drinks, for instance by adding sugar, nevertheless does influence the overall amount of energy consumed, just as it does for foods, even though the absolute levels of energy density for drinks are lower than that for meals. “
The problem increases when we add creams and other high-fat additions. If you want to use plant-based fats, avocado is the best option. However, when you want to add some sweet, the best option is Stevia.
When you blend fruits with your green leaf smoothies, the natural sugars within the cell walls of the fruit are released and become “free sugars.” They act like cane sugar or honey to reduce effectiveness of the green smoothies for weight loss. However, some experts suggest using fruit and vegetable combination. But in that case, the green smoothies may not remain green anymore.
If you still want to use fruits in your smoothies, please ensure their ratio to vegetables is not more than 40%. Lesser is better to get the full benefits.
The WCRF suggest that non-starchy vegetables and fruits may protect against various cancers. The reason it suggests is that green leafy vegetables and fruits are low in energy density, so they are healthier than starchy produces. It says:
“Non-starchy vegetables include green, leafy vegetables, broccoli, okra, aubergine (eggplant), and bok choy, but not, for instance, potato, yam, sweet potato, or cassava. Nonstarchy roots and tubers include carrots, celeriac (celery root), swede (rutabaga), and turnips.”
While going with this list of WCRF, it is always better to go with nonstarchy vegetables to prepare your green smoothies.
here is a lot of fear about oxalates in green smoothies. Frankly speaking, fear is not unfounded. Oxalic acids are closed related to kidney stones. There are some vegetables like spinach and swiss chard which are higher in oxalate acids. There is every probability that when you take more such veggies which have more significant amounts of oxalic acids, you may enhance your problem of stones if you already been suffering.
Many other leafy vegetables like beets, peanuts, rhubarb, strawberries, soy, chocolate, and cashews also contain oxalic acids.
It is always better to consult your local physician before going for such vegetables. If you are clear from any stone problems, there is no better vegetable for green smoothies than spinach. You can use beet leaves, kale, cucumbers, and celery to get a variety of taste. When you add moringa in your smoothies, you get miraculous results.
The green smoothies may not work for the elderly and those already suffering from stomach problems. The raw vegetables contain solid, fibrous structure and require a lot of enzymes to be digested even when converted into green smoothies.
The experts suggest that if you steam your vegetables a bit, they become more comfortable to be digestive when converted into green smoothies. Another way to frequently test various green smoothies until you find ones which do not create digestive problems.
By: Saqib Ali Ateel