Mint Matcha Mocha Madness Smoothie

Get creative with your smoothies by adding two PCOS-fighting teas: matcha and spearmint.

Mounting evidence of tea’s health benefits inspired me to replace lackluster water in my smoothies with tea! This smoothie fights PCOS with a one-two punch from spearmint and matcha tea. In a randomized controlled trial, 41 women with PCOS drank either 2 cups of spearmint or herbal tea (placebo) a day. After 30 days, free and total testosterone levels of the spearmint tea drinkers were significantly decreased (with a slight reported decrease in hirsutism). Previously, the same antiandrogenic effect was shown in an animal study. Although the literature is limited, the potential benefits of drinking spearmint tea likely outweigh the risks.

Why Matcha?

Some benefits of sipping green tea include stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing high blood pressureMatcha tea is a powdered form of green tea reported to have a much greater antioxidant content. Last month a study conducted in rats demonstrated that matcha may prevent blood glucose and lipid accumulation. Unfortunately, matcha has yet to be studied in humans.

Dr. Wajihah Mughal, a good friend and fellow scientist, wrote about the matcha tea trend on her blog Re-Spect Science. Our conversations about its promised health benefits (including the likely false claims) stirred us to take a closer look at the research. Read her post about the matcha hype, then give my recipe a shot!

Mint Matcha Mocha Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spearmint tea
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 handfuls spinach, organic if possible
  • 1/2 tsp matcha tea
  • 1/2 frozen banana (optional, adds sweetness)
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1/2 tsp raw cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
  • 1 scoop hemp protein powder

Mint Matcha Mocha Smoothie

How to:

  1. Steep spearmint tea bag in hot water for 5-10 min and then let cool in fridge.
  2. Pour cooled tea into blender and add spinach, oats, matcha, banana and ice cubes.
  3. Blend and serve topped with cocoa powder.

PCOS Powers:

  • spearmint tea = may decrease androgen levels and increase FSH & LH in women with PCOS (avoid consuming large amounts if you are pregnant, anemic, have a kidney disorder, or liver disease)
  • matcha tea = very high in catechins which are antioxidants that help remove free radicals from the body preventing disease, may prevent blood glucose and lipid accumulation, contains L-theanine which may relieve stress and improve cognitive function
  • cocoa = high in antioxidants, may lower LDL cholesterol, can reduce high blood pressure, and may act as an antidepressant
  • spinach = high in calcium which helps alkalize acidity caused by inflammation and impaired glucose tolerance, high in magnesium which some women with PCOS are deficient in
  • rolled oats = low glycemic load, high in fiber, contains tryptophan which boosts serotonin levels for better sleep and a stable mood

Mint Matcha Mocha Smoothie

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Shake

A frosty smoothie packed with antioxidants.

There is something sweet and elegant about the combination of raspberries and chocolate. I love drinking this protein shake after hitting the gym. Although the jury is still out on whether timing protein intake around resistance training in fact leads to greater strength gains, evidence does suggest that our overall daily protein intake plays an important role in building muscle and strength (1, 2). My experience with plant-based protein powders has confirmed they aren’t the most appealing supplement (so gritty!). Over time I have mastered masking the unpleasant flavor and texture by making shakes like this one. Simply toss all the ingredients in a blender and you are done!

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop plant-based protein powder (organic, non-GMO)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries, organic if possible
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • handful of ice cubes

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Shake

PCOS Powers:

  • raspberries = low glycemic load, high in antioxidants, high in fibre, may help lower inflammation and prevent cancer
  • cocoa = high in antioxidants, may lower LDL cholesterol, can reduce high blood pressure, and may act as an antidepressant
  • plant-based protein = helps decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass

References:

  1. Saris, W. H. M., et al. “Protein Supplementation Augments the Adaptive Response of Skeletal Muscle to Resistance-Type Exercise Training: A Meta-Analysis.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 96.6 (2012): 1454-64.
  2. Schoenfeld, Brad Jon, Alan Albert Aragon, and James W. Krieger. “The Effect of Protein Timing on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10.1 (2013): 53-65.

Kale Ginger Smoothie with Flax Seeds

Sneak your veggies in, any time of day.

Green smoothies deserve a high five for their ability to provide your daily veggies as painlessly as possible. Adding a banana can mask the taste of greens like kale and spinach. I make sure my bananas are covered with brown spots before using as they are easier to digest than unripe and even yellow bananas. This ripening process allows resistant starch to be converted to simple sugars. For PCOS this is a bit of a catch-22 because spotty bananas will cause less bloating and have greater cancer fighting properties, however they are also higher in glycemic load than yellow bananas. Having said this, a very ripe banana is still considered low on the glycemic index.

Avo Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 very ripe banana (pre-frozen)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 handfuls of kale or spinach, organic if possible
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 chunk of ginger
  • 1 scoop plant-based protein powder
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water (depending how strong your blender is)

Avo Smoothie top

How to:

  1. Throw all ingredients in blender for a quick and easy breakfast or snack.

PCOS Powers:

  • ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose and HbA1c
  • flax seeds = contain lignans which may increase sex hormone-binding globulin therefore lower blood testosterone levels, may lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals
  • spinach/kale = high in calcium which helps alkalize acidity caused by inflammation and impaired glucose tolerance, high in magnesium which helps maintain insulin and glucose levels and can relieve painful periods (more kale benefits here)
  • avocado = helps lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, low on the glycemic index, high in fiber, & high in B-complex vitamins which combat stress

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Green Ginger Smoothie with Kale and Flax Seeds (vegan, Low-glycemic)