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The Benefits of Green Smoothies for Women
A green smoothie is a smoothie made with a mix of fruit, water or yogurt, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Romaine lettuce. Although the combination may sound strange, green smoothies are considered by many people to be one of the most delicious "health foods" in the world and they offer many health benefits to people who drink them regularly because they combine two of the world's best "superfoods" - leafy green vegetables and fresh or frozen fruit - in a nutritious, filling, and low calorie treat.
In this hub, I'll explain some of the health benefits of green smoothies, with a focus on the benefits of green smoothies for women. If you want to skip the nutrition information and skip straight to the blending, please read my Getting Started With Green Smoothies hub.
Got Green Smoothie?
Green Smoothies Are High in Calcium
Leafy green vegetables are one of the world's best sources of calcium, one of the most important nutrients for women due to our higher risk of osteoporosis. In fact, many nutrition experts consider leafy greens to be a better source of calcium than dairy products, because the high levels of protein in dairy products can inhibit the absorption of calcium, and sometimes even cause the bones to lose calcium. Countries such as the United States, Finland, and Sweden where most calcium is consumed via dairy products typically have much higher rates of osteoporosis than countries where most calcium comes from other sources.
In addition to helping prevent osteoporosis, calcium is also associated with a lower risk of painful menstrual cramps, PMS, migraines, and several other conditions common in women.
Green Smoothies Are High in Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the most important yet underappreciated nutrients in leafy greens. As many as 80% of American adults may be deficient in magnesium, yet this nutrient is associated with lowered risks of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and many other serious conditions.
Like calcium, magnesium is also associated with decreased risk of painful menstrual cramps, PMS, osteoporosis, migraines, pre-eclampsia, and more.
Magnesium requires healthy gut flora to be absorbed by properly by the body, so it's a good idea to use plain yogurt with live cultures in your green smoothies sometimes if you are concerned about your levels of magnesium.
Green Smoothies Are High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Although the best known sources of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids are salmon and other coldwater fish, leafy green vegetables are also good sources of these important fats.
Omega 3 fats have anti-inflammatory qualities that are especially beneficial for women who suffer from menstrual cramps, migraines, endometriosis, menorrhagia (heavy periods), and PMS. They also reduce the risk or severity of many side effects of menopause, including joint pain, hot flashes, and heart disease.
You can increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in your smoothies even more by adding flax oil or ground flax seed to your smoothies.
Green Smoothies Are High in Fiber
Both leafy greens and most fruits contain extremely high levels of dietary fiber, which has no nutritional value but helps maintain the health of the digestive system. In addition to preventing constipation and other digestive problems, eating a high fiber diet substantially reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and many types of cancer.
The high fiber content of green smoothies is also beneficial for women because of the important role fiber plays in maintaining a healthy hormone balance. Excessive levels of the hormone estrogen are associated with many health problems affecting women, ranging from the mildly annoying (dry skin, night sweats) to the life threatening (breast cancer). Fiber binds to waste estrogen and removes it from the body, preventing it from being reabsorbed.
A high fiber diet is also an important part of any weight loss plan. Dietary fiber has no calories but is high in bulk, so foods that are high in fiber are nutritious and filling yet low calorie. One cup of fresh spinach, for example, contains just seven calories yet has more than 1000% of your daily value of vitamin K (which helps prevent excessively heavy periods) and nearly 400% of your daily value of vitamin A (an important antioxidant), as well as high levels of manganese, folic acid (especially important for pregnant women), magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin E, dietary fiber, copper, vitamin B1, protein, phosphorus, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B3, and selenium.
Green smoothies are especially beneficial sources of fiber because they contain large amounts in a liquefied form which is easier to digest, especially for people with digestive problems such as celiac disease.
These are just a few of the many health benefits of green smoothies. If you ready to start firing up your blender, please check out my Getting Started With Green Smoothies hub for my favorite green smoothie recipe and some green smoothie tips for beginners, or check out one or more of the following books: