Warning: When fruit is dangerous (+ a green smoothie recipe)

Fruit can be a problem. It wilts in the refrigerator. It can go bad within a few days of buying it. And sometimes it’s just plain inconvenient to eat!

BUT… all that being said, fruit is an absolutely crucial part of a healthy diet.

And you should always make sure you’re getting about 4-5 servings of fresh fruit in your diet each day.

Fruit contains essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and folic acid… plus it’s naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories.

And get this: A major study of more than 12,000 adults even shows a link between eating fruits and vegetables… and increased feelings of happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being!1

So healthwise, there isn’t much of a “downside” to fruit. But, like I mentioned, it’s not always the most convenient food to eat.

So it’s no wonder many people find it easier to drink their daily servings, either as juice, or in smoothie form.

And that’s totally fine…

But fruit smoothies and fruit juices are NOT created equal… And I strongly suggest you always choose smoothies.

Why?

Because while they may seem similar, there’s one major difference between juices and smoothies: fiber.

Most juices have had all the pulp removed, which makes the sugar or “fructose” much more concentrated. And when the fructose content is highly concentrated, it can “spike” your blood sugar when you drink it. Over time, these blood sugar spikes can do serious damage — they’ve even been linked to increased body weight, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular problems.3

But with a blended whole-fruit smoothie, all the plant fiber is included — and that fiber slows down sugar absorption in your body.

The more slowly the fructose is absorbed, the less it will spike your blood sugar. 4

And there’s another big reason fiber is good for you — it actually serves as food to the healthy bacteria in your gut— nourishing them and helping them increase in number. 5

And the more healthy bacteria you have in your system, the more likely you are to be regular, and have less gas and bloating.

Plus… you’ll be less likely to crave unhealthy foods like sugary snacks, pastries, and soda.

So fiber is the way to go… and the reason smoothies are the much better option!

If you’re new to smoothies, don’t sweat it –– they’re actually really easy to make. All you need is a blender, a few healthy ingredients, and about 5-10 minutes.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes. I call it:

Fruit | Probiotic America

“Dr. Nelson’s Sweet and Spicy Green Smoothie”

Ingredients
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled
2 cups kale
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 carrot
1 orange, peeled
1 cup water or unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons flax meal

Instructions
Add everything to your blender, with greens and ginger at the bottom.
Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little extra water. If it’s too thin, blend with ½ a frozen banana or ½ an avocado.

Benefits – My Sweet and Spicy Green Smoothie is packed with vegetables and fruit: It contains 2 full servings of fruit, and 3 servings of vegetables. So when you drink this in the morning, you’re getting half of your daily recommended values – in one go!

It’s rich in fiber, which is crucial for blood sugar regulation and good for your gut health.

It tastes amazing! And when fruits and vegetables taste like a tropical drink, it’s that much easier to eat more of them each day. So try it out, and let me know what you think. And if you have a favorite smoothie recipe of your own, let me know – I may just try it myself.

After all, I’m always on the lookout for healthy new recipes to try in my “home health lab” (otherwise known as my kitchen)!

For your health,

 

Dr. Cary Nelson

P.S. If the taste of kale is a little too strong for you, try using spinach instead. It’s just as healthy as kale, but has a milder flavor… It can be easier to find at the grocery store, too.

For more health tips and advice, keep reading:

How Stress is Destroying Your Microbiome (+ 3 stress-busting tips)

Why Your Immune System Depends on Your Gut Health

Sources:

1 Mujcic, Redzo and Andrew J.Oswald. “Evolution Of Well-Being And Happiness After Increases In Consumption Of Fruit And Vegetables”. Am J Public Health 106.8 (2016): 1504-1510. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

2 Livesey G, Taylor R. Fructose consumption and consequences for gly-cation, plasmid triacylglycerol, and body weight: meta-analyses and meta-regression models of intervention studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;
88:1419–37.

3 Tappy, L. and K.-A. Le. “Metabolic Effects Of Fructose And The Worldwide Increase In Obesity”. Physiological Reviews 90.1 (2010): 23-46. Web.

4 “Improving Your Health With Fiber”. My.clevelandclinic.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

5 Holscher, H. D. et al. “Fiber Supplementation Influences Phylogenetic Structure And Functional Capacity Of The Human Intestinal Microbiome: Follow-Up Of A Randomized Controlled Trial”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 101.1 (2014): 55-64. Web.