The part can never be well unless the whole is well.Plato
There are days when I get up in the morning, and I’m just feeling flat-out sluggish, bloated, and sometimes, even depressed. Does that happen ever to you?
In these unusual times, it is easy to keep our focus on current events, work pressures, financial insecurity, our families, and other influences. When we do that too much, we often simply forget to take care of ourselves. Self-care has never been more important than it is right now for our physical and mental well-being.
Recently, I ran across a magazine article that enlightened me on gut health. The symptoms noted above were by-products of an unhealthy gut. OMG! Ewwww! Did I have that? I decided it was time to research a bit more, and make some conscious changes to improve my health and wellness.
“Gut health” may seem like just another health trend, though it’s one that’s here to stay and a topic to be taken seriously—especially as we age. Research is constantly shedding new light on just how important a healthy gut is. From managing our moods and immunity to supporting the entire nervous system, the gut is our biggest ally.
Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles and diets do little to keep our guts healthy and strong. In most cases, they weaken, irritate, and sabotage our gut health and overall well-being.
A healthy gut is the key to a healthy life. So, where better to start healing our gut health than…the gut itself? I want to share some of my basic research to help tranform our health from the inside out with these simple smoothie recipes for better gut health!
Key Considerations for Whipping Up Gut-Healthy Smoothies
Smoothies are one of the best ways to get lots of healthy vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber into your diet in one tall glass. To make it the healthiest smoothie it can be, consider some of these options:
Invite Probiotics & Pomegranate Juice to the Party.
Probiotics and prebiotics are the building blocks of a healthy digestive system. They help support the good bacteria of the gut and defend against the not-so-good bacteria. In addition to being present in certain foods (think fermented ingredients like miso, kefir, and kimchi), probiotics come in supplemental forms like pills or liquid drops.
To give any of these gut-healthy smoothies and added boost of gut health, consider pairing with snacks rich in probiotics or taking a daily probiotic supplement.
Pomegranate juice is another godsend for the gut. Not only is it loaded with antioxidants, it is a “pre-biotic,” which aids in helping beneficial bacteria thrive in your gut. Doctors have also recently discovered that the juice is super helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis. Kick up your smoothies a notch with a shot of this “juicy” juice.
To Freeze or Not to Freeze.
While the thought of an ice-cold frozen fruit smoothie may sound like the epitome of a healthy snack or meal, there is some question as to whether a frozen smoothie does more harm than good.
In traditional healing systems like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, a warm and active gut is the key to health. Eating lots of cold, icy, or raw foods can actually impair the gut’s ability to properly digest food and may even lead to digestive issues like abdominal pain, appetite changes, bloating, loose stools, and weight gain. This is especially important for those who suffer from fatigue, pain, or already experience gut issues or other health concerns.
For this reason, many holistic practitioners recommend that we enjoy our smoothies only slightly chilled or at room temperature to preserve our gut health.
Finding time for stress relief can be hard for those of us who like to go-go-go. But you can start by dedicating your snack time. After you blend up one of these gut-healthy smoothies, take the opportunity to enjoy your treat in peace. Sip your smoothie outside, away from the distractions of your phone or email. Turn on a 10-minute meditation or soothing music while you enjoy your smoothie. Or, invite a pal over for a smoothie date and reap the stress-relieving benefits of a belly laugh or two.
Optimal Smoothie Ingredients.
Not all smoothie ingredients are created equal. Here are some of the best – and worst – foods to include in your own gut health smoothie creations. And yes, even dark chocolate can be a good thing for your gut. Who knew?!
- Dark Chocolate
- Fiber-Rich Fruits & Vegetables, i.e., beans, oats
- Sugar (including protein powders with added sugar)
- Artificial Sweeteners
Now it’s time to get out that blender, whip up something green,and hear the whirrrr to good gut health!
Happy Belly Blueberry Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or oat or coconut milk)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 banana (or frozen cauliflower, thawed)
- 1 small beet grated
- 1/2 juice of lime, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 pitted Medjool date
- 1 pinch sea salt optional
- Combine all ingredients in blender until mixed together smooth.
Golden Days Mango Smoothie
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or oat or coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened kefir
- 1 orange segmented
- 1 large carrot grated
- 1/2 mango chunks thaw, if using frozen
- 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
- 1 very small pinch black pepper
- Place all ingredients in blender, and mix until smooth and well-incorporated.
Green & Lean Gut Health Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or oat or coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower thawed
- 1/2 cup kale coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 Medjool date pitted
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Place all ingredients in blend and mix until well-blended.