green smoothie

Top 10 Vegetables for Smoothies

Now, fruits get lots of love in the smoothie world. Their sweetness always make them a delicious addition and the health benefits of our favorite fruits are truly extraordinary.

But today, we're here to give a little extra love to their dear cousins, veggies!

Eating a diet high in vegetables protects against chronic diseases and provides vital nutrients that help keep your body healthy and strong. Vegetables have many of the same health benefits as fruit. They protect against certain types of cancers, help reduce your risk of heart disease, promote lower calorie intake, and increase your consumption of important nutrients, such as potassium and fiber.

Our smoothie guide makes smoothies an easy breezy way to pack loads of nutrients into one convenient serving. And adding supplement enhancers to your smoothie will target benefits that are difficult to achieve with foods alone.

Many vegetables are high in vitamin C, a necessary component our bodies need to process collagen. Mixing Healthful Seasons Collagen Peptides to any smoothie may offer you the most efficient way of digesting and utilizing collagen. And collagen provides women with loads of health benefits. In fact, it's essential for healthy skin, hair, nails, and joints.

 Healthful tip: The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends blanching vegetables (i.e. partially cooking) before freezing. Boil vegetables and then rapidly chill them. Always freeze vegetables as soon as possible so that you maintain its quality. You can store vegetables approximately 8-12 months. 

 Beets (Red or Purple)

Okay…We know what you’re thinking! Beets in a smoothie???? But you can’t beet it! And once you try it, you’ll be hooked! Wait ‘till you see the colors you can make with these beets.

Health benefits: Beets are a low-calorie food that contain almost all the daily vitamins and minerals you need with additional plant compounds that offer an array of health benefits. This unique vegetable belongs to the same family as spinach, is an antioxidant and provides anti-inflammatory support. But the Beet goes on—studies also show that they balance flora by removing toxins from our bodies. They are high in folate, manganese, copper, and fiber with good sources of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B6 (1,2,3)  

How to prepare for a smoothie: Cut the bottom root and top stem. Peel skin. Clean with cold water. Steam or boil until tender. Let cool. Cut beets into chunks. Cool and store in ‘fridge or freeze.

Healthful tip: Beets are low-calorie and rich in fiber. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that detox and protect against free radicals.

Broccoli

Health benefits: Broccoli is rich in glucosinolate and sulforaphane. These components are shown to have a protective effect against breast cancer. Broccoli is also high in vitamin K, vitamin C, folate(B9), chromium, and fiber. In addition, this veggie is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin B2, omega-3 fats, protein, zinc, potassium, copper and iron. Broccoli also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants (4,5).

How to prepare for a smoothie: Blending raw broccoli will make your smoothie taste bitter. We suggest you cut broccoli into florets. Lightly steam. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then add to smoothie. Or, add frozen florets. If you want to use fresh broccoli: lightly steam, cool, and freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You can divide out by the cups and freeze in bags.

Healthful tip: Broccoli is an excellent source of folate, which protects against brain defects in growing fetuses. It’s a good source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A) and the antioxidants in broccoli may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Plus, it makes a bright green smoothie!

Carrot

Health benefits: Carrots are packed with vitamin A and antioxidants (beta-carotene and others). Plus, they are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin E, biotin, fiber, copper, manganese, and potassium.

How to prepare for a smoothie: You can add slices of raw carrots to your smoothie or steam until soft, remove from heat and allow to cool. Then add to smoothie. Or freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and divide out by the cups and freeze in bags. You can also puree carrots and freeze.

Healthful tip: Carrot juice is pricey at smoothie bars across the country. The news is out that these orange wonders can boost your metabolism, help blood sugar levels, strengthen bones and the antioxidants in them may support heart health and lower your risk of cancer (6). Plus, carrots offer a sweet taste!

Cauliflower

Health benefits: Cauliflower is high in antioxidants (beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and more), vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and choline. Not to mention, it's a great source of fiber, omega-3 fats, manganese, phosphorus and biotin, and a good source of vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, potassium, vitamin B3 and magnesium. Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower have been studied for lowering risk factors in certain types of cancer (7,8).

How to prepare for a smoothie: Steaming cauliflower before you add it to a smoothie is best. You can also grind chunks in a food processor and broil. Cool cauliflower in ‘fridge or freeze. It’s a good idea to allow frozen cauliflower to soften before adding it to the blender.  

Healthful tip: Cauliflower is high in fiber and antioxidants that protect your body from harmful free radicals and contains almost every essential vitamin and mineral.

Celery

Health benefits: Celery contains high levels of vitamin K and is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium, and calcium. Studies have shown that celery has powerful antioxidants that protect our bodies against free radicals and has been studied for two possible compounds that could protect the body against cancer. The stalk of celery contains diverse compounds and have been researched for a variety of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing brain inflammation,  reducing pain and supporting digestive health (9).

How to prepare for a smoothie: Cut the tops and bottoms of the stalk. Organic celery can be rinsed in cold water. Rub away any dirt. Non-organic celery should be rinsed and cleaned, and then soaked in a bowl of cold water with a teaspoon of baking soda. You can also use white vinegar. Keep cleaned celery stalks in the fridge and add a stalk or two to a desired smoothie.

Healthful tip: Celery is an important addition to your diet that offers a variety of health benefits.

Cucumber

Health benefits: Cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin K, molybdenum, pantothenic acid and a good source of copper, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, biotin, and vitamin B1. Cucumbers contain phytonutrients that have the potential to lower inflammation and stress in the body. Mostly made of water, cucumbers hydrate and refresh skin. There are also studies on the positive anti-aging effects cucumbers have on skin (10,11)! 

How to prepare for a smoothie: Clean under cold water, working away any dirt. You can choose to peel or not to peel—that is your decision! Unpeeled cucumbers have more fiber and nutrients, but you will still get plenty of freshness and nutrients without the peel.

Healthful tip: Cucumbers are a refreshing addition to any drink or smoothie! They are low in calories, high in fiber and important nutrients.

Kale

Health benefits: This leafy green is high in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and copper. Kale is also a great source of vitamin B6, calcium, fiber and a good source of iron, vitamin E, vitamin B2, magnesium, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, protein, omega 3 fats, folate and vitamin B3. Kale is a prebiotic, super high in lutein content (the highest among the lutein-packed foods), a powerful antioxidant and contains anti-inflammatory properties (12).

How to prepare for a smoothie: Wash in cold water and drain. Inspect leaves. Add 1 to 2 handfuls to smoothie.

Healthful tip: Kale is a healthful powerhouse! It’s considered one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.  

Spinach

Health benefits: Spinach is high in antioxidants (beta-carotene & lutein). It rates among the highest vegetables in sources of iron, magnesium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, calcium, and potassium. It is also a source of vitamin C and phosphorus. It truly is a superfood(12).

How to prepare for a smoothie: Wash in cold water and drain. Inspect leaves. Add 1 to 2 handfuls of raw spinach to smoothie or puree larger amounts, freeze in ice cube trays and add 1 or 2 cubes to smoothie.

Healthful tip: Spinach is incredibly healthy and offers the highest source of iron and magnesium.

Summer Squash

Health benefits: Summer squash (yellow/zucchini) is high in copper and manganese, a great source of vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin K and a good source of vitamin B1, zinc, omega-3 fats, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, choline, and protein(13,14) .  

How to prepare for a smoothie: Cut squash in slices/cubes and add fresh or place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for later or puree larger amounts, freeze in ice cube trays and add 1 or 2 cubes to smoothie.

Healthful tip: Squash adds a creamy texture to your smoothie, which makes it feel heavier and more satisfying.

Winter Squash (acorn/pumpkin)

Health benefits: Winter squash is rich in antioxidants and potassium, high in vitamin A, and is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, vitamin B2, potassium, folate, vitamin K, omega-3 fats, magnesium, and vitamin B3(15).

How to prepare for a smoothie: Cut squash in slices/cubes and add fresh or place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for later or puree larger amounts, freeze in ice cube trays and add 1 or 2 cubes to smoothie.

Healthful tip: Squash adds a creamy texture to your smoothie, which makes it feel heavier and more satisfying.

 

Research

  1. Clifford, Tom et al. “The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease.” Nutrients vol. 7,4 2801-22. 14 Apr. 2015, doi:10.3390/nu7042801
  2. Hodges, Romilly E, and Deanna M Minich. “Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism vol. 2015 (2015): 760689. doi:10.1155/2015/760689
  3. Clifford, Tom et al. “The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease.” Nutrients vol. 7,4 2801-22. 14 Apr. 2015, doi:10.3390/nu7042801
  4. Li Y, Zhang T, Korkaya H, Liu S, Lee HF, Newman B, Yu Y, Clouthier SG, Schwartz SJ, Wicha MS, Sun D. Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli/broccoli sprouts, inhibits breast cancer stem cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;16(9):2580-90. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2937. Epub 2010 Apr 13. PMID: 20388854; PMCID: PMC2862133.
  5. Abbaoui, Besma et al. “Cruciferous Vegetables, Isothiocyanates, and Bladder Cancer Prevention.” Molecular nutrition & food research vol. 62,18 (2018): e1800079. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201800079
  6. “Vitamin A Fact Sheet.” Office of Dietary Supplements , National Institute of Health, 26 Mar. 2021, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/. 
  7. McManus, Hallie et al. “Usual Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Ovarian Cancer: A Case-Control Study.” Nutrition and cancer vol. 70,4 (2018): 678-683. doi:10.1080/01635581.2018.1464346
  8. Morrison MEW, Joseph JM, McCann SE, Tang L, Almohanna HM, Moysich KB. Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Stomach Cancer: A Case-Control Study. Nutr Cancer. 2020;72(1):52-61. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2019.1615100. Epub 2019 May 16. PMID: 31094219; PMCID: PMC7717081.
  9. Branch, Jessica. “8 Vegetables That Are Healthier Cooked.” Consumer Reports, 27 Sept. 2019, www.consumerreports.org/fruits-vegetables/vegetables-that-are-healthier-cooked/. 
  10. Mukherjee PK, Nema NK, Maity N, Sarkar BK. Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber. Fitoterapia. 2013 Jan;84:227-36. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2012.10.003. Epub 2012 Oct 23. PMID: 23098877.
  11. Admin. “Dehydrated? These 7 Foods Will Satisfy Your Thirst and Hunger.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 30 Dec. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/dehydrated-these-7-foods-will-satisfy-your-thirst-and-hunger/#:~:text=Cucumbers,wrinkling%20and%20anti%2Daging%20activity. 
  12. Team, Heart and Vascular. “Kale vs. Spinach: Which Is Heart-Healthier?” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 12 Nov. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/kale-vs-spinach-which-is-heart-healthier/. 
  13. Vollmer, David L et al. “Enhancing Skin Health: By Oral Administration of Natural Compounds and Minerals with Implications to the Dermal Microbiome.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19,10 3059. 7 Oct. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijms19103059
  14. Martínez-Valdivieso, Damián et al. “Role of Zucchini and Its Distinctive Components in the Modulation of Degenerative Processes: Genotoxicity, Anti-Genotoxicity, Cytotoxicity and Apoptotic Effects.” Nutrients vol. 9,7 755. 14 Jul. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9070755
  15. Saavedra, M J et al. “Evaluation of the potential of squash pumpkin by-products (seeds and shell) as sources of antioxidant and bioactive compounds.” Journal of food science and technology vol. 52,2 (2015): 1008-15. doi:10.1007/s13197-013-1089-5

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