Smoothies have become all the rage among the health-conscious. Go into any shopping mall these days and among the fast food burger and pizza options you are also likely to find a smoothie stand. They are a quick and convenient way of getting nutrition on the go, and the market for them is booming. Market researcher Global Industry Analysts estimates that the world market for smoothies will reach $9 billion by the year 2015. It’s easy to pick one up at your local smoothie stand, but there is no reason you can’t easily make them at home yourself and begin enjoying the many health benefits that smoothies provide.
Helps You Get More Fruit and Vegetables
Of course, we all know that we should be eating about nine servings of fruit and vegetables each day, but this can be a daunting task for those who occasionally skip meals or have to grab a quick bite on the run. Even those of us who love fruit and vegetables sometimes have a difficult time coming up with enough to fulfill our daily requirement. Smoothies to the rescue!
Drinking a smoothie each day is an excellent way to get at least half your daily fruit and veg requirement met, in addition to helping keep you well hydrated. Smoothies are particularly good for those who are not overly fond of most vegetables. People who would normally be forced to choke down servings of spinach, kale and beets at the dinner table find themselves asking for more when these vegetables are combined with fruit such as peaches, bananas and strawberries in a smoothie. The taste of the vegetables can practically disappear, depending on what you choose to combine them with.
In order to get the same amount of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that you get in a smoothie you would have to eat something like a pear, a stalk of celery, two kiwis, a banana and a bunch of kale. Not that it would be impossible, but it would take quite a bit more time and effort than just downing a smoothie.
The Difference Between Smoothies and Juicing
Many people swear by their juicers and would never be without one. Juicing is also healthy because, like smoothies, it allows people to get vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that they would otherwise not get from the food they eat. The main difference between the two is that juicing removes the insoluble fiber from fruit and vegetables. Insoluble fiber is also important in our diet. Although it contributes nothing in the way of nutrition, insoluble fiber aids digestion by adding bulk and facilitating the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract, helping to prevent constipation.
Because the insoluble fiber remains in a smoothie, it will fill you up faster. A juicer will produce half the volume of liquid for the same amount of fruit and vegetables that go into a smoothie. This means that you can squeeze more nutrients into the same volume of juice that you could a smoothie, but you would not be getting the added benefit of the insoluble fiber.
Smoothies Are Easy on the Digestion
To get the optimal amount of nutrients from your food, it must first be broken down during the digestive process. Ideally, the chewing we do and the subsequent breakdown of food by our digestive juices should be sufficient to release the nutrients bound to the food we eat. However, many people have a problem at one point or another in the digestive process, so nutrient absorption begins to become an issue. This is particularly the case in the elderly, whose digestive enzymes are not as powerful as when they were younger. A smoothie does a great part of the breaking down of the plant’s cellulose for you, so your digestive system has an easier time absorbing all those important nutrients.
Other Smoothie Benefits
If you are still not convinced, following are a few added benefits of drinking smoothies:
- Promotes weight loss – The insoluble fiber in smoothies keeps you feeling fuller longer, so you are not tempted to snack on unhealthy foods full of fat, salt and sugar between meals. Over a few weeks, this can add up to a considerable number of pounds lost.
- Increases energy – The added nutrients you are receiving can make a significant difference in how energetic you feel. In addition, the body uses less energy for digestion because the food has already been broken down.
- Increases hydration – Most people are chronically dehydrated, but by drinking smoothies you can ensure that you are getting enough fluid in your diet. You will soon see the difference it makes when you look in the mirror and see your skin glowing with health!