News Desk |
Very few foods are as controversial as smoothies. Yes, they are delicious and full of fruit. But they have also been criticized for having a sugar content, wrecking our teeth and even making us gain weight. So what is the truth? Should all of us start slurping down a daily dose of blended fruits or limit ourselves to eating fruits whole?
It may surprise you to read this, but public-health nutritionists actually believe that smoothies have had a rough time in the press. They provide a portable and convenient source of fruit and are a useful way to top up our fruit and vegetable intakes.
Increased dietary fibre has been linked to a lower risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
Government nutrition guidelines state that a 150 ml smoothie counts as one of our recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. For example, less than a third of adults and just eight percent of teenagers in the UK meet the 5-a-day target for fruit and vegetables – most manage just two or three portions. Hence, a smoothie at breakfast or lunchtime can easily help more people add an extra fruit portion to their day.
Indeed, smoothies contain a host of valuable nutrients – including folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc – that many people don’t get enough of. For example, 75 percent of women and girls have low levels of folate, a vitamin vital for normal cell division and the prevention of birth defects; while a fifth of adults has low intakes of potassium, a mineral crucial for muscle and nerve function, and the maintenance of normal blood pressure. Not only that, but there is now increasing evidence that smoothies have been unfairly maligned for various reasons.
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Here, is some of the latest research to clarify common misconceptions. Smoothies are often unfairly lumped with fruit juices, but they actually have a completely different structure. In fact, studies looking closely at the structure of a well-known commercially available brand of smoothies – innocent – found their cell structure is just like chewed fruit. And that makes sense, as no one swallows an apple whole!
Many smoothies provide 2-to-4g of fibre in a 250 ml serving, which is far higher than 100 per cent fruit juice which contains just 0.5g per 250 ml. This is important because a lack of fibre is one of the most overlooked dietary gaps – a staggering 90 per cent of us do not get enough. Dietary fibre is important for a range of health reasons extending far beyond digestion.
It can regulate our blood glucose response, lower cholesterol levels and new evidence shows it could have a positive effect on gut microbiota as well. Alongside this, increased dietary fibre has been linked to a lower risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
There are several recipes, available online, for seasonal fruit smoothies that are way healthier than an average person’s daily beverage intake. It should also be noted that some smoothies also contain yoghurt, which further participates in increasing the nutritional value of the drink – yoghurt’s great for skin, regular bowel movements etc. So I say, grab a blender and smart smoothing!