I've been drinking this for breakfast every day. In fact, I even replaced coffee with this chocolaty delicious breakfast smoothie. I've been feeling great and had to know (exactly) what these ingredients are doing for my body. The recipe began in a simpler fashion, coming from a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook when I was in desperate need of nutritious smoothies after a phase of TMJ. I added the parsley and avocado trying to incorporate more healthy ingredients without compromising the taste too much. I find myself trying to lick the glass clean and feel full for a few hours. Now, let's break it down to what we've got going on here. (I put this collage together for the added visual)
About 3 oz of Freshly Frozen Organic Blueberries According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, new studies show blueberries can be frozen for 3-6 months without damaging the precious antioxidants. Not only do the antioxidants assist the nervous system and brain health, but evidence shows 12 weeks of servings improve memory too! Blueberries also have a low glycemic index (GI) helping to regulate blood sugar levels. If you can't get fresh berries, grab some from the freezer section.
One Frozen Organic Banana According to NaturalNews.com organic bananas are a powerful energy boost. Bananas fight depression, cure hangovers, protect against diabetes, kidney cancer, and osteoporosis. Bananas are high in fiber, vitamin B-6, pectin, and potassium, aiding the digestive system while also stabilizing blood sugar. Peel the banana, break into chunks, and freeze in an airtight container. This is a great way to use up those really ripe bananas you didn't get around to eating.
Handful of Fresh Spinach Doctor Robin Wasserman, a writer for the LiveStrong website, says adding spinach to smoothies increases your intake of carotenoid compounds which self-destruct and prevent prostate cancer cells. Due to other compounds in spinach, you'll also reduce the risk of ovarian, bladder, liver, and lung cancer. Furthermore, the folate, vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium in spinach will aid bone health, blood pressure and heart health!
Tablespoon of Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley A health advocate from the GreenMuze website states "parsley is high in vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C," and a good choice for bone health with vitamin K. The vitamin C is necessary for collagen, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and strengthens the body's immune system. Just one tablespoon is packed with nutrition, but it's best to avoid if you are pregnant.
Almond Milk This is my alternative to dairy because we suspected an allergy in the family and have been trying alternatives. The brand pictured here happens to be my favorite, but you can use whatever you want - even cow's milk. However, almond milk is low in calories (if you're counting) and rich in calcium plus vitamin's A, D, and E. Again, the calcium is great for bones and teeth. Use as much as you need to get a drinking consistency of your liking.
Quarter Piece of Haas Avocado Full of monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, avocado will help reduce inflammation and assist your body in absorbing all those A, D, and E vitamins. According to Oprah's blog, these are key elements in keeping your skin looking great! Avocado also has potassium, something your heart will be thankful for. I suggest blending the avocado in at the very end to avoid creating an extra thick smoothie.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Can you believe this ingredient has benefits too?! I have to admit, this is the main ingredient that pulls this smoothie together and almost makes you feel like you're indulging in a chocolate milkshake. I'm sure you've heard about health benefits of dark chocolate. Well, guess what? According to Leslie Beck's Body Science website, those benefits actually come from the cocoa powder. Although cocoa powder comes with added calories and fat, it is full of concentrated antioxidants offering a hefty dose of disease fighting compounds. In fact, the antioxidants are so rich, cocoa beats red wine and green tea in comparison! I use 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in my smoothie.
Lastly, if you find you're missing one of the fruits or another ingredient, don't sweat it! Just substitute for the day or leave it out all together. I've used strawberries as a substitute and a half of an avocado before. Kale can be substituted for the spinach. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Cheers!