Nutritional update – are you getting enough fruit and veg and could juices and smoothies help?

We all know of the recommended “5 a day” but there has been lots in the press that we should have 7 or even 10 portions of fruit and veg per day. Searching for research on it brings up hundreds of results so here is one that sits fairly in the middle from the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine which recommends we should have at least:

  • Four servings of vegetables per day
  • Three servings of fruit per day

The way I think about is surely our planet wouldn’t have lots of fruit and veg abundantly available for us to just pick and eat if it wasn’t really good for us to have lots of it! If you can, fresh raw organic (especially for the dirty dozen) fruit and veg is the best choice as it will give you the most nutrients. As nutrients are always damaged to some extent when you cook food. But a good mix of a few raw along with some cooked is always 100% better than not getting enough!

If you’re struggling to think of enough variety of fruit and veg to be able to get enough in, here’s some ideas from the World’s Healthiest Foods website to get you started (note the ones in bold are often heavily affected by pesticides so ideally you would by these from organic sources only):

World healthiest food fruit and veg

I eat a lot of fruit and veg and one thing in particular I have a lot of is juices and smoothies. If you think you don’t have time to eat enough fruit and veg this could be a great way to help you get a bit more in! But first things first, what’s the difference between smoothies and juices?

In short a juice is just the liquid of the fruit/veg with all the fibre removed while a smoothie is all the fruit/veg, including the fibre blended into a liquid form.

A slightly more in-depth explanation being:

  • Juices have all the fibre removed, which means you do also lose some of the protein content. However, your body doesn’t have to do any digestive work to get the vitamins and minerals from the fruit/veg as they can just be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. This is why they can be considered “healing” drinks or used by people when they want to cleanse their bodies. As you don’t have to waste energy towards digestion and it can be concentrated on ridding the body of any built up waste and toxins.
  • Smoothies is the whole food broken down into liquid form, so it’s still easier for your body to digest than eating the whole fruit or veg and you also keep all the fibre. This makes them great for a quick meal on the go or recovery after a workout as you’re already stressed body by the effort of the workout, won’t need to work too hard to digest the nutrients. They will also help cleanse your colon as the fibre “sweeps” out the intestines by binding to toxins and passing them through your system.

green juice

So next question, what do you need to make a juice or a smoothie?

May sound simple but to make a juice you need a juicer! There are several options, from the cheaper end of the scale using centrifugal juicers which have a blade/disk that spins at high speeds, grating your fruits and veggies, and then straining them through a fine sieve in order to extract the juice. Or the often more expensive option of a masticating juicer which uses a slower pressing action to extract your juice. Meaning you can juice greens (leaves) and often gets you more nutrients extracted due to the slower process and less heat (as no heat being produced from any spinning blades). A great source to buy juicers from is UK Juicers and one I would recommend (if money isn’t such a consideration) is the Omega VERT slow juicer.

Then to make smoothies you need a blender and the higher the speed of the blender the better. As it will break down the fibres quicker, leaving you with the most nutritious smoothie possible. As the longer it’s blending the more oxygen is being mixed causing oxidative damage to your fruit and veg. There are a wide range of blenders but I personally love the Nutribullet. It so easy to use and clean and for a 600 watt motor creating 20,000 RMP, it’s very affordable for what you are getting.

Now when I first started out I was chucking anything into the juicer or blender and while I made some delicious ones, I certainty made some disgusting ones too! So to help you not make the same mistake here are some recipes to try. Also one thing to note is it’s best for your body to not juice too much fruit. As fruit is best processed in our bodies when it comes with all its natural fibres as otherwise the good sugars in the fruit can be released into your blood stream too quickly, causing your liver to work extra hard to filter them. So while fruit helps to make the juice taste good, it’s best to keep it mainly veg and just one or two fruit.

smoothie collection

Juice ideas:

  • Beetroot, carrot and apple – bursting with waste-flushing nutrients this is a good  detoxifier:
    • 3 small beetroot, 2 large carrot and 2 apples
  • Cucumber, celery and broccoli – green is always goodness and this one is particularly cleaning:
    • 1 cucumber, 3 celery sticks and 2 medium broccoli florets
  • Cucumber, celery and kiwi fruit – all the green goodness with a bit of a sweeter taste and a great one for calming your digestive system:
    • 1 cucumber, 4 celery sticks and 2 kiwi fruit
  • Celery, carrot and lemon – this tangy one is great for helping to fight infections:
    • 6 celery sticks, 2 large carrots and 2 lemons

Smoothie ideas:

  • Apple, pear, avocado and spinach – a great detox smoothie:
    • 2 apples, 1 pear, 1 small avocado, large handful of spinach
    • Optional extras to sweeten it is 1 teaspoon of manuka honey and to thicken it add 1 teaspoon of chia seeds and/or flax seeds
  • Cacao (raw chocolate) banana and avocado – ultimate healthy sweet fix:
    • 200ml of almond milk (or any non-dairy milk), 1 really ripe banana, ½ avocado, 4 medjool dates, 2 teaspoons of cacao powder, 1 teaspoon almond butter (or any nut butter) and a few ice cubes.
  • Blueberry and banana – great for your skin with all the antioxidants in the blueberries:
    • 1 ripe banana, large handful of blueberries, ½ cup of ice cold water (or normal water and several ice cubes), 1 tablespoon of almond butter and 2 medjool dates.
    • Again you can make it thicker to be more of a meal by adding 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of flax seeds or even a tablespoon of oats (ideally gluten free ones!)
  • Cinnamon, date and banana – another delicious mix of goodness:
    • 1 large banana, 200ml of hemp milk (or any non-dairy milk), 2 medjool dates, tablespoon of peanut butter and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Chocolate orange – delicious and a good vitamin C hit
    • 200ml of Oatly chocolate drink (if you just have plain non-diary milk, just add more cacao powder), 2 oranges and a teaspoon of cacao powder.

chocolate orange smoothiecinammon smmothie

So there is a few to get you started and a quick search will find you loads more! Experimenting is always fun so don’t be scared to do that also. Just start with a few fruit/veg you like and then mix in something new. Adding fruit/dates always sweetens it up and adding a citrus fruit such a lemon, lime, oranges or grapefruit will give it a nice zing! But overall, I just wanted to say please make sure you are getting enough fruit and veg!

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