As a nutrition consultant, I’m often recommending that people eat more leafy greens. The health benefits are numerous from cancer protection to lowering cholesterol. They are packed with Vitamins A, C & K and good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. And the powerhouse of the greens is kale.
I enjoy kale almost anyway, but many people don’t. Or if they do like it, perhaps they can’t get their families to eat it – so it never makes it into a meal. I often remind people that as an adult, nutrition is a personal choice especially because everyone’s nutritional needs are individual. And since breakfast is often a personal meal, the morning is great time to prepare yourself a helping of leafy greens.
Today I made myself a delicious Kale & Blueberry Smoothie:
Toss all the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.
- 2 cups frozen kale
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 bannana
- 1 orange (peeled w/ some pith remaining)
- 1 inch ginger root peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup organic plain yogurt
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp flax seeds
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- handful of ice cubes
* Makes 2 servings. (If this is all that I’m having for breakfast I find I need to drink both servings myself to feel satisfied.)
In my kitchen, I love my freezer. And kale freezes like a champion. I buy giant bags of pre-washed organic kale at Costco. I use it fresh for a few days and then store what’s remaining in the freezer. Or if I have a bunch that I know will be going bad before I can get to it. I wash and dry it in my salad spinner and throw it in a Ziplock and freeze.
(Frozen kale has tons of applications. Use it in soups and stews, throw a handful or two into a rice dish, or a veggie lasagna plus it’s perfect for a smoothie! And smoothies are the perfect breakfast.)
The other ingredients in my smoothie are super healthy, too: Blueberries are famous for the antioxidants contained in the flavonoids in their skin. Pineapple provides fiber and sweetness. Banana is loaded with B Vitamins and potassium (which helps with muscle cramps including the monthly kind). Bananas also gives this drink a smooth creaminess that we all crave. I add the yogurt for the probiotic benefit, it needs to have live active cultures to promote a healthy gut. Also for gut health is the orange. I peel the orange with a knife leaving on quite a bit of the bitter pith because bitters signal your body to release gastric hormones that aid in digestion.
Ginger also helps with digestion and is an anti-inflammatory. Flaxseeds & Almond Milk for their omega-3’s. Finally, coconut oil has anti-viral properties and a bit of fat for energy.
*Note: leafy greens are high in oxalates, which can prevent the absorption of calcium. So it’s a good idea to eat calcium rich foods or take calcium supplements 2 or 3 hours after consuming them.
References: Van Duyn & Pivokna, (2000) Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 100, Issue 12, Pages 1511–1521.
Zelman, K. WebMD: The Truth About Kale. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale
The George Mateljan Foundation, Worlds’s Healthiest Foods: Bananas. Retrived from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7
Waler JM. “The Bitter Remedy.” The European Journal of Herbal Medicine. 6(2):28-33
Gunnars, K. Authority Nutrition:10 Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil. Retreived from: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/
Sienera R. (2006). Oxalate contents of species of the Polygonaceae, Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae families. Food Chemistry 98(2):220-224.