Increase antioxidant intake and fight inflammation with this superfood berry smoothie.
This triple-decker berry smoothie is a triple threat. It packs a punch with three powerhouse berries: blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. We are exposed to free radicals every day. However, the high antioxidant content of berries can provide protection. In high amounts, these free radicals can result in oxidative stress, a process that plays a role in the development of several chronic diseases.
Anthocyanins are the phytonutrients in berries that give them their beautiful blue, red and purple colors. Multiple studies have shown that anthocyanins can reduce hypertension and the risk of heart attack in women. They may also decrease inflammation and age-related diseases, like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Berries for PCOS
The high fibre content of berries, along with a low glycemic load, makes them beneficial for balancing blood sugar and insulin levels which are important steps in managing PCOS. In addition, berries have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Evidence suggests up to 70% of women with PCOS may have elevated LDL and decreased HDL cholesterol levels. Increasing antioxidant intake may help decrease anxiety and depression which are associated with PCOS.
Berries for Fertility
Antioxidant intake can influence both female and male infertility. While research is limited, consuming high-antioxidant foods, like berries, may improve egg and sperm quality. In addition, anthocyanin has been shown to support the uterine lining increasing the chance of implantation. To benefit from these antioxidant properties of berries, it is important to buy organic berries. One study found that men who ate more produce with a high concentration of pesticides had lower sperm counts than those with the least pesticide intake.
frozen blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries (organic)
Blend the bottom layer first by combining blueberries, nut milk and protein powder. Limit the liquid for a thick layer that will support the following layers easily. Pour into a tall glass and pop into the freezer to firm up before adding the next layer.
Clean blender and begin next layer by combing raspberries and nut milk. Pour this layer carefully over the first layer. You can use a spoon to dip into the raspberry layer in order to straighten out the line separating the two layers. Pop into freezer again.
Clean blender and begin final layer by combining blackberries, nut milk and protein powder. Pour final layer carefully into your glass.
Berries are great sources of antioxidants, flavonoids, resveratrol, ellagic acid, fibre and a low glycemic fruit.
Hemp protein powder is a source of plant protein and essential amino acids omega-6 and omega-3 (in a 3:1 ratio). While animal proteins may increase insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), plant proteins have been shown to decrease IGF-1. In addition, the risk of infertility may be decreased when animal proteins are replaced with plant proteins.
Dairy-free meals are important for PCOS for several reasons, especially if acne is a symptom. Dairy may increase insulin levels which contribute to increased cellular growth and acne. High insulin levels may also increase androgen production. Milk hormones like IGF-1 and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) both increase androgens. In addition, dairy contains casein which, when consumed with berries, can counteract the beneficial antioxidant effects of berries.
Six reasons why I aim to drink one green smoothie a day, plus my go-to recipe.
Why I LOVE green smoothies:
There are countless reasons why incorporating more vegetables, especially leafy greens, in our diets can positively influence our health. I find the simplest and quickest way to increase my vegetable intake is by blending greens and taking them with me on-the-go. Here are some of the reasons I aim for one green smoothie a day:
1) Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption (leafy greens in particular) helps prevent heart disease.
2) Green vegetables contain compounds that support our immune system.
3) Greater leafy green consumption has been associated with lower rates of type 2 diabetes.
spinach = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, anti-cancer effects, excellent source of iron, magnesium, & calcium, avoid large amounts if prone to kidney stones or taking blood thinners
fresh ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose and HbA1c
avocado = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, high in fiber, may help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain normal serum total cholesterol levels, contains glutathione which has anti-carcinogenic properties and may boost immunity
spirulina = anti-inflammatory, strengthens immunity, detoxifies liver, source of protein, beta-carotene, iron, selenium and zinc, may lower glucose levels and help manage diabetes
maca = source of B12, calcium, and iron, may increase well-being, decrease anxiety and depression, increase libido, and reduce symptoms of menopause
moringa = small studies have shown a minor decrease in postprandial glucose and HbA1c, may reduce inflammation, may help lower cholesterol
Learn why beets and ginger are staples in my medicine cabinet.
Last week I pleasantly surprised my senses with this spur-of-the-moment, disease-fighting smoothie. Read on to learn why beets and ginger are staples in my medicine cabinet.
Beets offer many health benefits due to their numerous antioxidants. For starters, they contain betalains which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, therefore, promoting cardiovascular and metabolic health. Betalains have even been shown to help suppress tumor growth in studies on multiple cancer cell lines and animal models. Other antioxidants found in beets include manganese, which helps regulate glucose metabolism, and vitamin C (in the greens). Beet greens also contain lutein which is known for maintaining eye health. For women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, beets’ folate, vitamin B and iron content makes this vegetable a worthy smoothie addition. Finally, betaine, an amino acid found in beets, can act as an antidepressant.
Ginger has been used as a herbal medicine for years and is currently one of the most researched spices. Last year a study reported that daily ginger consumption lowered fasting blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. Previously, a randomized controlled trial demonstrated that ginger decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These promising results demonstrate how beneficial ginger may be for women with PCOS.
3 small fresh beets (steamed or raw) or 6 small canned beets (I store prepped beets in the freezer for a thicker smoothie)
Add all ingredients to blender and go for a whirl! If it is not blending easily add more coconut water or water.
beets = good source of folate, anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood pressure, may help lower cholesterol, shown to reduce cancerous tumors in various animal models, beet leaves are high in iron (eat in moderation due to high oxalate content which can worsen gout and kidney stones)
ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol and triglycerides
hemp protein = helps decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass