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Superfood Immune Boosting Smoothie Recipe

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Superfood Immune Boosting Smoothie Recipe

During the winter, our immune system is more vulnerable to microbes and infections, in part due to the cold weather, but also due to less sun exposure and spending more time inside, in confined spaces. The best way to support your immune system is through healthy lifestyle choices, such as nutritious foods, good sleep, and regular movement. For most of us with busy lives, it might be complicated to find time to do all of these, and especially to buy and prepare “complicated” immune-supporting meals. This is when smoothies can come in handy.

Smoothies in the winter? Yes, smoothies can be refreshing but also warm, and smoothies help you achieve excellent nutrition with little effort and time. Even better, you can turn your smoothies into immune-boosting elixirs! This is how you can heal your body naturally with food and help your immune system become stronger.

What are smoothies?

Smoothies are a very versatile beverage and easy to make at home since you only need one piece of equipment, a blender. Smoothies are usually thick and creamy, which results from pureeing the ingredients. You can blend things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, nut milk, juices, etc. They can be enjoyed by almost everyone, since the possible flavor combinations are infinite, and they are easy to consume and digest.

The Importance of Green Smoothies for Immunity

Green smoothies are especially good because they contain green vegetables that provide essential nutrients and are easy to digest. Greens will provide plenty of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, and by including them you can make some of the best smoothies for your immune system!

Get Your Healthy Fats, Activate Your Immune System

Dr. Thomas Lodi always says, “Smoothies are the best vehicle for fat.” Besides greens, smoothies are an exceptional way to include healthy fats in your daily diet.

Healthy fats are essential to build healthy new cells. Your body is comprised of around 30 trillion cells, and each and every single one of them contains a cell membrane. That cell membrane consists of a lipid bilayer (a double layer of fatty compounds), made up of two layers of phospholipids (a type of lipid molecule) with cholesterol interspersed between them. I hear phospholipids and cholesterol, all fatty compounds… and some people think fat is not important! Including healthy fats in your smoothies will make you feel better and will help you support your immune system during these cold months.

Easy to Digest and Rich in Fiber – Less Energy for Digestion, More for Immunity

The blending of green vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats will break down these nutritious foods into smaller molecules, releasing valuable nutrients that can then be easily digested and absorbed in the digestive system.

The blending process makes it easier to deliver greens, fats, and protein (contained in green vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc.) while maintaining the valuable nutrients and fiber naturally present in those foods. This is the main difference between a juice and a smoothie. While the juice contains almost no fat, and the fiber is removed during the juicing process, smoothies can be great sources of both fat and fiber.

Dietary fiber is often forgotten in the group of essential nutrients. Fiber is a carbohydrate that your body cannot digest. It has many health benefits, and one of the most fascinating ones is the role that short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) play in our overall health. SCFAs are metabolites (the intermediate or product of metabolism) produced by intestinal bacteria that ferment prebiotics, such as dietary fiber. These SCFAs are at the forefront of research for their multiple health benefits related to metabolism, gut health, and function, innate and adaptive immune system1, immune tolerance, and autoimmunity2.

How to Build an Immune-Boosting Smoothie

The two essential parts of a smoothie are:

  • Base – solid ingredients
  • Liquid

The possible combinations are almost limitless! When thinking of a smoothie to help your immune system, however, there are some ingredients that you should prioritize.

Vegetables and Fruits

A balanced ratio of vegetables and fruits is:

  • 80% to 90% organic green vegetables
  • 10 to 20% organic fresh (or frozen) fruit

Green vegetables provide rich phytochemicals and antioxidants. The fruit provides sweetness and flavor. We recommend low glycemic index fruits, such as berries, that are also super rich in antioxidants and won’t cause a big spike in your blood sugar. This ratio, with more emphasis on green vegetables, is also good because the greens and fiber will slow down the assimilation of the natural sugars found in fruits, helping to lower the glycemic index of your smoothie!

Nutrient-Dense Foods

Besides your vegetables and fruit, you want to add other nutrient-rich foods that can support your immune system. These include:

  • Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, nut and seed butter, nut milk, coconut, and avocados.
  • Fiber-rich foods, such as chia and flax seeds, avocados, vegetables, fruits, sprouted oats, and sprouted quinoa.
  • Whole protein sources, including leafy greens, nuts and seeds, almond butter, and hemp seeds.
  • Superfoods such as sprouts, microgreens, turmeric, ginger, mushrooms (powder), microalgae (spirulina or chlorella powder), cacao powder, or matcha (green tea) powder.
  • Low-sugar fruits, such as berries and avocados.
  • Adaptogens (such as ashwagandha, ginseng, moringa, maca, reishi, or turmeric).
  • Spices and natural extracts, like cinnamon or vanilla.

Immune Supporting Foods

To make an immune system-boosting smoothie, it is crucial to introduce some of the best foods that naturally support our immune system.

An Oasis of Healing has a blog on 5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System, which are:

  • Mushrooms
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Green Tea

Some of this may sound a little weird on a smoothie! Let’s break them down and find out within each category what are some good options for a smoothie!

Mushrooms

While fresh mushrooms may not be the most suitable for smoothies (and they need to be cooked), fortunately, there are many mushroom powder options on the market that you can choose from. These mushroom powders are made with dried mushrooms that are pulverized into powder. They usually have a mild taste and can be easily incorporated into your immune-boosting smoothies without changing the flavor profile (usually the recommended portion is half a teaspoon, a quantity of powder that will hardly affect the quality of your smoothie in terms of taste and consistency).

Some of the best mushrooms for your immune system are:

  • Reishi
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Chaga
  • Shiitake
  • Turkey Tail
  • Cordyceps

Another great option is a mushroom blend, which combines several of these mushrooms into one and can bring compounded health benefits. To learn more about mushrooms and their health benefits, read our blog Medicinal Mushrooms The Fantastic Fungi World.

Cruciferous Vegetables

This is a family of vegetables called Brassica that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, Brussel sprouts, arugula, etc. These vegetables contain compounds with high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potency and are high in vitamin C and phytochemicals. The many beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables on human health have been associated with the abundant phytochemicals and antioxidants.

  • Phytochemicals – prevent oxidative stress, induce detoxification enzymes, stimulate the immune system, decrease the risk of cancers, inhibit malignant transformation and carcinogenic mutations, and reduce proliferation of cancer cells3.
  • Vitamins C and E, carotenoids and antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase are excellent antioxidant compounds3.
  • Glucosinolates (unstable compounds that undergo degradation into biologically active indoles and isothiocyanates under the influence of the plant enzyme myrosinase) – their action may affect the elimination and neutralization of carcinogenic and mutagenic factors. This effect may contribute to inhibiting DNA methylation and cancer development3.
  • Polyphenols and sulfur compounds – exert antimutagenic action. These sulfur compounds include sulforaphane, one of the most potent anti-cancer agents you can get from food3.

However, these sulfur compounds also give the cruciferous vegetables their characteristic taste and smell, especially when cooked, which sometimes is compared to “rotten eggs.” When making your immune-boosting smoothie you want to include strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, however, you do not want your smoothie to smell or taste horrible, so be careful with the cruciferous you choose!

Using raw cruciferous will highly reduce the risk of a “stinky smoothie” since cooking increases the release of sulfur compounds. However, blending may also contribute to an increase in unwanted smell and taste. Therefore, from our experience, the best way to introduce cruciferous into your foods is by using “baby” plants, meaning sprouts and microgreens. Sprouts and microgreens contain more nutrition than the full-grown plant and have a milder taste. Read our blog Sprouts: A Nutritional Powerhouse to understand why the microplants are the most “nutrient-dense, enzymatically rich, healing foods on the planet!” At An Oasis of Healing, we like to use broccoli sprouts for their supreme sulforaphane content and also for their milder taste, but you can use other sprouts and microgreens that are equally nutritious, like arugula, cabbage, and mustard. Some of these microgreens may have a more “peppery taste,” so try a small portion at first to make sure you can still enjoy your smoothie. To learn more about Brassica vegetable sprouts read What Seeds Can You Sprout.

Onions and Garlic

Wow, this is a tough one! There are some hard-core garlic lovers out there who might be willing to add garlic directly to their smoothies! But we believe that is not the majority of us. Garlic and onions have very strong flavors, both fresh and in dried powder form. Therefore, we recommend caution if you want to try adding them to a smoothie, start with a very small portion. A better idea to introduce these vegetables from the allium family would be to make our Lemon Garlic Immune Activator Shot! You can make this shot when you are making your smoothie, and then have it before enjoying your immune-boosting smoothie!

Turmeric

Turmeric is a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune booster food that may help protect you from viruses and cancer. Curcumin is the main bioactive compound found in turmeric and is a potent modulator of your immune system. It can modulate the activation of different cells of your immune system, like macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells, and downregulate the expression of inflammatory factors.

We have some great posts on An Oasis of Healing blog about Curcumin and Cancer:

Back to your immunity smoothie.

Turmeric can be added fresh, as turmeric root, or in powder form. It has a very unique flavor, so if you are not used to using it, start with half an inch (fresh) or half a teaspoon (powder), and then adjust according to your preference, ideally up to one inch of fresh turmeric or one teaspoon of powder. Here is an approximate equivalent between different forms of using turmeric: 1 inch fresh turmeric = 1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric = 1 teaspoon ground turmeric.

When using turmeric in your kitchen, it is a good idea to combine it with black pepper. Curcumin, the main beneficial compound present in turmeric, has a very low bioavailability. But if you combine curcumin with piperine, the major active component of black pepper, this complex has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%4! The ratio of black pepper to curcumin: ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper can be taken with 1 tsp turmeric powder5.

To add more curcumin to your day, you can also try our Red Beet Turmeric Anti-Tumor Shot, from our Immune Booster Shots series. This series also includes another recipe that uses a highly anti-inflammatory root, GINGER.  Use ginger in your smoothies to increase their healing power. And try the Carrot Ginger Anti-Inflammatory Shot! Powerfully healing and delicious!

Green Tea

Last on our list but certainly not least, we have green tea. Green tea has been shown to help your immune system and is especially powerful against chronically fermenting cells (aka cancer). Green tea is rich in flavonoids, and powerful antioxidants, and studies show that it contains both antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties6.

To use green tea in your smoothies you have two options:

Freshly Brewed Green Tea

  • Buy organic green tea leaves.
  • Brew your green tea leaves: per one cup of spring or filtered water, you can use two to three grams or two teaspoons of green tea leaves. Ideally, the water is hot but not boiling (176-185°F is ideal) and you can steep the leaves for one to three minutes.
  • Use your freshly brewed tea as the liquid component of your smoothie (if you like a warm smoothie this is a great way to make one).


Matcha Powder

  • Matcha is finely ground green tea leaves.
  • One to two teaspoons (2-4 grams) of matcha daily is the recommended dose to reap the benefits of matcha.
  • Add the desired quantity of matcha to your smoothie.

Choose the option that best suits you. Brewed green tea might have a milder taste than matcha powder but is very dependent on your flavor preferences. Try both, make changes, use one or the other, but have your green tea daily!

Warning: both green tea and matcha contain caffeine, so try to consume them in the morning or early afternoon, and don’t overuse them!

Recipe: Superfood Immune Boosting Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1/4 cup kale microgreens
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp spirulina
  • 1/4 tsp E3live
  • 1/4 tsp chaga mushroom powder
  • 1/4 tsp cordyceps mushrooms powder
  • 1/2 tsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 drops vanilla crème stevia (optional)
  • 1 tsp monk fruit granules (optional)

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Conclusion:

This Superfood Immune Boosting Smoothie offers a powerhouse of nutrients to support your immune system during the winter months. With a delicious blend of superfoods and greens, it’s a convenient and tasty way to fortify your body against seasonal challenges.

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