I’ve been pretty fortunate this year. While everyone around me has gotten sick, I’ve managed to stay above the weather with not so much as a sniffle. Up till now, that is.
This past week, fate caught up to me with one of the worst colds I’ve had in a long time. For three days, I moved around the house like a slug: from the bed, to the couch, to the patch of sun coming in on the rug, all the while dragging around a box of tissues like it was my teddy bear. I cuddled that thing to sleep at night.
Mornings are always the worst for me when I get sick. However bad I felt the night before, eight hours of rest only seems to amplify it. And somehow, forcing some fluids and a multivitamin down a raging sore throat is the last thing I want to do when I wake up.
Enter, this beauty. A mean, green, cold-fighting machine… this smoothie is like drinking a multivitamin, but I promise it doesn’t taste like one. It has all the nutrients you need, hiding beneath the sweet, tropical taste of pineapple and kiwi (with just a touch of heat from some ginger, to really wake you up).
I’ll take one of these over a pill any day, thank you very much.
Getting plenty of fluids is crucial when you’re under the weather, and for me, smoothies are the perfect way to do it. They’re easy on the stomach, packed with nutrients, and are tasty to boot.
If you prefer hot liquids when you’re sick (like I do, especially in the mornings), you can drink a cup of tea to soothe your throat, first. Then grab a straw, and get sippin’ on this smoothie. Your body will thank you.
Citrus – oranges and grapefruit make the base of this smoothie, but they aren’t just there for flavor. Besides being packed with vitamin C, they also contain potassium, vitamin A, folate, and B Vitamins, as well as help to keep you hydrated, aid digestion, and cleanse the liver. Be sure to use fresh squeezed juice, or else you could be missing out on some of these benefits!
Kale – dark, leafy greens are full of vitamin K, A, B, C, and most of the rest of the alphabet, too. They are also high in Iron, calcium, antioxidants, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Basically, it’s the most underrated superfood of all time. If you aren’t a fan of eating your greens, drinking them is definitely the way to go. (If you’re a green-smoothie skeptic, try reducing the kale by 1/2, and adding half a banana for a bit more sweetness.)
Pineapple and Kiwi – are both big vitamin C fruits, and are also high in Manganese, Copper, B-vitamins, and Fiber. Kiwi are especially high in phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamin K, while fresh pineapple contains a compound called Bromelain, which can help reduce inflammation, aid digestion, and boost the immune system. It’s important to use fresh pineapple (not canned or frozen), to get the most of what it has to offer.
Hemp Seeds – hemp seeds are a great source of complete protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids our bodies need), and have a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which support immune, cardiovascular, and nervous system health. These healthy fats are also necessary in order to absorb and process many of the other vitamins and minerals found in this smoothie. Hemp seeds are also high in fiber and antioxidants (containing more antioxidants than fresh blueberries), help reduce inflammation, and are easy on the digestion.
Chia Seeds – Like hemp seeds, chia seeds are also high in protein, omega-3’s, fiber, and antioxidants. They also contain tons of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese.
Ginger – the use of ginger as a cold remedy dates back thousands of years. It’s most famous for it’s tummy-soothing, sinus-clearing, and anti-inflamatory properties, but some studies also show that it can help aid in the absorption of other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. A small chunk of fresh ginger gives a little kick to this smoothie, without being overpowering. (If you have a vitamix or other high-speed blender, you can throw the ginger in whole (peeled), otherwise, you may want to grate the ginger first, to ensure it gets pureed smoothly.)
Raw Honey – raw honey sweetens the deal, and is full of healthy enzymes. For centuries honey has been used to fight infections and illness because of its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. It can also calm a cough, soothe a sore throat, and help boost the immune system. Just be sure to use 100% raw, organic honey to get these benefits, though, as the heat of pasteurization kills off the honey’s enzymes. Better yet, use manuka honey, if you can find it. (For a vegan alternative, you can replace the honey with a handful of pitted dates, or a drizzle of pure maple syrup.)
Cold symptoms? Hulk juice SMASH! I’m not saying this smoothie will cure you, but it will definitely give you a leg-up this cold season. And if you aren’t sick, well, drinking one of these might just give you superpowers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
(Please note that I am not a certified nutritionist. The information provided here is a combination of my own research, experience, and opinion. That is all.)
Cold Buster Green Smoothie
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
1/2 cup fresh red grapefruit juice (about 1/2 grapefruit)
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 kiwi, peeled
3-4 leaves dinosaur/lacinato kale, stems removed (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
2 TBSP raw hulled hemp seeds
1 TBSP raw chia seeds (or more hemp seeds)
2-3 TBSP raw honey, to taste
1 small grape-sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (or about 1 tsp., grated)
5-10 ice cubes, as needed
1. Combine all ingredients in your blender. Process well, until completely smooth. Taste, and add additional honey if necessary.
Notes: If you aren’t a fan of green smoothies and want something a little milder, reduce the kale by 1/2, and add half a banana for extra sweetness.
For a vegan alternative, replace the honey with a handful of pitted dates, or a drizzle of pure maple syrup, to taste.
If you find the smoothie too much to drink in one sitting, leftovers can be poured into an ice-cube tray and frozen, then added to future smoothies.