They’re quick, easy, nutritious and a great way to avoid food wastage, but smoothies can have many more benefits than the obvious. Here’s why a smoothie is your family’s best friend…
I’ve always been a big fan of the humble smoothie – even before I had my son, Maxwell. I love that my tired looking fruit gets a new run after freezing it and adding it to smoothies for a quick hunger pains fix. Not only does this save me time and money (less dishes to wash and avoiding throwing out fruit that has seen better days), but it’s an easy way to get my fruit and nutrient intake without having to eat a whole banana/apple/orange – which is something both myself and my son struggle with.
But my usual smoothie recipe, which consists of bananas, coconut yoghurt, berries and cow’s milk, no longer tickles the taste buds like it once did. And I know there are a lot more superfood ingredients out there that I could easily add to boost the health benefits of my daily smoothie – both for myself and my family.
It’s time to reinvent the health wheel and jazz things up a notch. Nutritionist and naturopath Emma Suthlerland is just the person for the job. Emma Sutherland is a successful mum, author, clinical naturopath and TV presenter. Also known as Wonder Woman. She has also taken on the role as spokesperson for O Superfood, one of the most impressive smoothie bars Sydney has to offer, using over 20 different varieties of superfoods throughout their menu.
Here, Emma reveals how smoothies can help your family’s gut health and the key ingredients for a super healthy nutrient fix.
Smoothies That Improve Your Family’s Gut Health
Digestion has long been an issue in my family. My dad has taken antacids after meals for as long as I can remember. And for me, who has a terrible habit of demolishing whole meals in under 10 seconds (particularly with my favourite ingredient, chilli), meal time can leave me feeling more uncomfortable that satisfied.
“Regardless of whether you have any digestion issues or not, it is always good to give your gut a little break from inflammatory foods, and hit the ‘reset’ button so to speak,” suggests Emma. “Made with the right ingredients, smoothies can be great for your digestive health and for improving the absorption of dietary nutrients.
Emma says the magic of smoothies is that they allow you to get maximum vitamins and minerals into your body without putting too much pressure on the digestive system. “They also provide the opportunity to get nutrients from ingredients that you don’t often cook with, which is another reason why smoothies are so great.”
Super Ingredients For Optimal Gut Health
My penchant for spicy foods causes more harm than good sometimes. So Emma suggests adding ingredients to a smoothie that reduce inflammation and/or promote digestion. Makes sense. “And steer clear of ingredients that may be difficult for your body to break down,” she warns.
“A rule of thumb is to try to stick to ingredients that have not been processed, or if you are using a packet, try to go for something with just the one or two ingredients in it. Take coconut water for example, read the back and just make sure there is only coconut water in the carton as you don’t want to add anything inflammatory into your smoothie.”
Organic fruits are an obvious choice, but if the price freaks you out, be selective.
“Berries soak up pesticides, so always try to buy them organic, whereas a banana has a thick skin to protect it so you don’t really need to buy them organic unless you want to,” Emma advises.
The Hit Super Food Shopping List
Here’s what to add to your shopping list…
To reduce inflammation: Turmeric, ginger, berries, chia seeds, kale and spinach.
To promote digestion and detoxify: Cucumber, peppermint, lemon, aloe vera, barley grass and fennel.
Other Tasty Stars
Blueberries: “Blueberries have a powerful antioxidant content and they are also great for your brain function, so I try to consume them most days.”
Kiwi fruit: “Kiwi fruit is full of vitamins C and K, so it is great for immunity and also blood circulation.”
Green apples: “Green apple, cucumber and chia seeds have a high fibre content which is great for digestion, as is lemon and ginger.”
Aloe vera: “Aloe vera is an amazing ingredient as it detoxifies your gut by increasing the tone of your colon.”
Camu camu: “Camu camu has a higher vitamin c content than any other food source. In addition, it is also high in beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, iron, protein and more.”
Liquid Ideas: Cow’s Milk? Almond? Soy? Coconut Water?
We all have our favourites, but if you really want to up the smoothie ante, Emma’s number one recommendation is coconut water.
“Coconut water helps the body hydrate itself and it is also a soft diuretic so it is good for cleansing,” she explains. “Furthermore, it has the ability to increase your metabolism as well.
“If you don’t want to use that, I recommend homemade nut milks such as almond or cashew. Store bought milks contain far more than simply nuts and water. They can include malt, additives and emulsifiers.”
The No: 1 Smoothie For Family Gut Health
If, like me, you can’t be bothered sifting through loads of recipes only to discover you don’t have half the ingredients, have one recipe on high-rotation until your taste buds protest and your families gut health is optimal.
“For gut health, I would generally go for a Purify Glo style recipe (inspired by O Superfood) that contains blueberries, kiwi, green apple, cucumber, ginger, coconut water, lemon juice, aloe vera, chia seeds and camu camu (a Brazillian superstar fruit high in antioxidants),” suggests Emma.
ABOUT Emma Sutherland is a leading clinical naturopath author, and a spokesperson for Bondi Junction smoothie bar, O Superfood, a healthy café that creates nutrient rich smoothies, juices and salads packed with the best superfoods sourced locally and from around the globe.