Are Sensational Green Smoothies Good for You?
Plant-based diets are attractive because most fruits and vegetables pack lots of nutrients. But are the vegan meals on your plate as healthy as they are on paper? Unfortunately, they lose much of their vitamins and minerals during washing and cooking. Raw plant-based foods like green smoothies help stop this nutrient loss.
How bad is this nutrient loss? For example, chopped fruits and vegetables lose vitamin C when washed, cooked, or left out in the open air. Boiling and soaking also transfer vitamin B and vitamin C to the water, which most of the time we throw away. Other minerals like sodium and potassium also dissolve in water. Foods rich in vitamin A, like spinach and carrots, lose their vitamins when fried or processed in oils and fats. Plant-based proteins also tend to coagulate when heated, making them difficult to digest.
Dr. Bircher-Benner popularised the raw food diet in 1905. According to Dr. Bircher, heated food and unbalanced eating habits cause most diseases. Some nutrition professionals, researchers, and the health-conscious public still recommend this diet today. The idea is to avoid blanching, peeling, boiling, milling, drying, or heating your food above 63°C.
The raw diet isn't limited to munching on raw carrots all the time. You can whip up easy fruit and vegetable salads, fresh juices, and smoothies. You can also drink warm lemon water or warm tea. You can also google for creative but simple green smoothie recipes for beginners.
Reclaiming Nutrients in Our Food
Keeping our food raw improves your daily nutritional intake. It gives you more value for your money, too. But there are even bigger benefits to increasing your raw food intake.
1. Detox with a Raw Vegetable Smoothie Diet
Every day, you absorb toxins from the food you eat, the products you use, and even the air you breathe. Eventually, harmful chemicals and heavy metals in your body will cause illnesses and discomforts. Raw food nutrients will fortify the organs that move these toxins out of your body. You don't have to be on a permanent raw diet for this. Regular 3 to 7 day cleanses can boost your liver, digestive tract, and lymphatic system to get rid of toxins.
Raw plant-based detoxes usually include cleansing juices like celery early in the morning. Breakfast can consist of fresh fruit or green smoothies. Raw foods that are great for detox meals include avocados, watermelon, cranberries, beets, turmeric, leafy greens, lemon, pineapple, cucumber, apples, herbs and spices, and seaweeds.
Even if your focus is cleansing, it is still important to balance your diet. Include a variety of other vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, beans, and cold-pressed oils in your meals. If you are new to raw and plant-based diets, research the food groups and seek advice before you complete the cleanse. That way, you can plan appropriate combinations for your meals and smoothies.
2. Help Your Body Heal
When Dr. Bircher-Benner first used the raw plant-based diet, it was to heal jaundice. Other people have since shared stories of healing autoimmune and chronic diseases. If you increase your raw food intake for the long-term instead of only a few days, your body gets more minerals, enzymes, and vitamins to support its daily functions. You also lower the free radicals and heavy metals that you get from certain meats and junk foods. This balances your hormones, improves cellular health, and enhances your organ functions.
Physicians agree that unhealthy food choices contribute to diabetes, heart problems, and obesity. They recommend plant-based diets to effectively manage some disease factors. Given the cost of healthcare, a healthy raw diet fast-tracks your healing process without astronomic costs.
3. Reach Your Target Weight
Weight loss is almost an inevitable outcome when you switch to raw foods. Studies link raw plant-based diets to lower levels of body fat and lower body mass index (BMI). Following this eating regimen also tends to sustain weight loss, compared to the seesaw effect of other diets. Blood lipids for cholesterol are also in the healthier ranges among those who stick to raw foods.
Green smoothies for weight loss are quite popular. What may surprise you is that the same diet of smoothies and fruits can also help you gain weight if you want to. The general recommendation is to eat fruits and vegetables with high water content or have high-fibre smoothies to help you gain muscle mass instead of fat. You can also work with a nutrition adviser to create meal plans customised for your weight goals.
Caveats in Increasing Raw Foods in Your Diet
At this point, we've established that the benefits of smoothies and other raw plant-based foods are massive. But there are things to consider before you say goodbye to cooked food forever. Some of it may seem to fly in the face of everything we just said.
Some foods are healthier when cooked. These are exceptions to the rule. For instance, boiling at 88 °C increases the level of carotenoids in tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini. At the same time, they lose other vitamins and minerals. So, some nutrient loss is inevitable. You'll need to weigh which nutrients to prioritise in your food.
Eating only raw foods for a long time could also lead to unwanted results. In some research, the raw diet is linked to irregular menstrual cycles in women, excessive weight loss, and some protein deficiency.
You need a good understanding of food groups, nutrient content, and proper food preparation. Listening to your body is also important for long-term success. These are two reasons why very few people are on a 100% raw diet. A small portion of selected cooked food can give you even better health results.
You might have to do more food prep. If you're not familiar with plant-based food preparation, you might be taken aback by the time and effort required. And it's not fun when you're hungry and need to dice a dozen fruits and veggies before you can eat. You can get around the tedium by cutting and portioning your ingredients ahead of time. Seal them in airtight containers to keep their water and nutrient content. You can also find pre-packaged smoothies, juices, and raw vegan meals from shops that sell or deliver to your area.
Yes, Green Smoothies and Raw Foods are Great for You
Whether you feel healthy or are dealing with some chronic issues, going raw can give you so many benefits. Remember to seek professional advice though, before you start on your journey to better health. Start with a green smoothie diet for a few days. That's a great way to dip your toes into a full raw plant diet before you plunge head-on.