Are you always opting for a green juice or smoothie to accompany or replace your meal instead of ingesting the vegetables itself? If you are a wellness champion doing this regularly, you must read on to ensure that you are drinking the right greens for your long term health!
Drinking green juices and smoothies is becoming an uptrend among health aficionados, who believe that drinking them every day or a few times each week is healthy and helps in alkalising the body. This is also especially so with numerous celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Blake Lively who swear by this special diet that makes them feel energised, enjoy glowing skin and shed pounds effortlessly.
“Kale, celery, apple, cucumber and a squeeze of lemon. I make my own juice every day at home. It really makes a difference. I can feel my body – everything’s going to way it should and I then I don’t feel guilty if I don’t get to eat my five a day of vegetables.” – Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
“A few years ago, I had a juice that changed it all for me—a mix that’s better than any po’ boy you’ll ever eat,” Lively says. “Vegetables in their purest form are refreshing and palate-cleansing, while the sweet notes of the fruits and mint make this both quenching and intoxicating. Now I can get my dose of veggies in a delicious way.” Her detox drink is made up of a combination of kale, swiss chard leaves, parsley, small beet, pineapple, green apples, fresh mint and lemon.  – Blake Lively
Besides the usual recommendation of eating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day according to health experts, it is also believed that juicing removes the indigestible fiber that is present in raw vegetables, making it easier to digest while allowing for better absorption of the nutrients by the body as compared to eating the whole vegetable. In addition, vegetables also have phytochemicals, that have the ability to alter body processes and protect against heart disease, cancer, and many other chronic diseases.[4 ]
However, is it true that drinking green juices and smoothies reap only health benefits?
Thanks to our friends at The Wellness Insider, we put things into perspective for a greater insight into the truth behind drinking green juices and smoothies.
As with any health trend, there is also some controversy over drinking green juices and smoothies. Green juices and smoothies are usually made by blending copious amounts of raw and leafy cruciferous vegetables such as Kale, Spinach and Swiss Chard.
Controversy 1: Cruciferous Vegetables & Thyroid Function
According to this article by WebMD, cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that are important for health and one key benefit is its anti-cancer properties. A review of research published in the October 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that 70% or more of the studies found a link between cruciferous vegetables and its anti-cancer properties in terms of lowered cancer risk. This is mainly attributed to sulforaphane, one of the phytochemicals that can stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before damaging cells. Cruciferous vegetables also help to protect against cancer by reducing oxidative stress. Reducing these free radicals may reduce the risk of cancer.
While nutritious with the provision of dietary fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals that may offer protection against diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other health problems, cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which form goitron, a hormone that interferes with the synthesis of thyroid hormone when they are metabolized. When animals eat large amounts of cruciferous vegetables, they develop hypothyroidism, which has caused speculation that humans might be similarly affected. However, detailed research shows that this may not hold true for humans! Unlike animals, humans only develop hypothyroidism when there is also an iodine insufficiency.
Hence, it is best to consume cruciferous vegetables, no matter its form, in moderate amounts so as to enjoy its host of health benefits while simultaneously consuming adequate amounts of iodine so that its giotrogenic properties can be minimised. Some iodine-rich foods comprise of sea vegetables such as kelp and wakame, cranberries and strawberries, which are best organic. Do note that it is also important to not take too much iodine as over-consumption of iodine can lead to an overactive thyroid in the form of hyperthyroidism.
Controversy 2 – Green Juices & Oxalic Acid
Another common concern is that the common cruciferous vegetables such as kale and spinach that are used in green smoothies tend to have oxalic acid in it, which is a toxin made from a mixture of fungus and yeast. Over time, a high oxalate diet can contribute to serious health problems such as gout, kidney stones or oxalate stones in any parts of the body, and muscle weakness.  This is aggravated for people who are oxalate-sensitive or already naturally produce oxalate or have health conditions that interact with oxalates.
What can you do to lower your Green juice or smoothie’s oxalic acid content so as to reduce the detrimental effects on your health?
You can consider mixing magnesium into your blender as these minerals bind to the oxalic acid so that you don’t absorb so much of it. According to the Journey of Endourology by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Magnesium is thought to be an inhibitor for calcium oxalate stone formation as the presence of Magnesium tends to destabilize calcium oxalate ion pairs and reduce the average size of the calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate aggregates. This effect has been found to be Magnesium concentration-dependent.
You can consider substituting with other alternative leafy greens in the green smoothie that are low-oxalate types such as any type of lettuce such as romaine lettuce, celery, bok choy and other members of the cabbage family, cilantro, mint, spirulina, avocado and wheatgrass.
Controversy 3: Blending of Smoothies & Loss of Nutrients
Is it good to blend smoothies and are we able to optimise our nutrients intake by doing so? While there will definitely be some nutrient loss during the blending process, there are several advantages for blending such as the intake of more fibre from the vegetables, the ability to add more types of ingredients for balanced nutrition and having a green smoothie is also more filling, allowing it to act as a meal replacement at times. Moreover, both the preparation and clean-up process is easy and hassle-free.
However, despite these advantages, it is important to ensure that a high-speed blender is used so as to keep optimal nutrient levels from the faster blending process. A weaker blender that utilises longer blend times can generate heating in the blender, causing heat-sensitive nutrients such as panthothenic acid and vitamin C to be destroyed in the process, which inevitably results in lesser nutrient yield.
In addition, more attention also must be paid to the composition of vegetables that make up the smoothie as there is a possibility of consuming far more servings than you normally would when eating. This makes it even easier to intake more calories and may cause weight gain or prevent weight loss.
In conclusion, despite the controversies centred on the drinking of green juices and smoothies, it is recommended to drink green juices and smoothies in moderation as the benefits of green juices and smoothies outweigh the downside for most people except for those with underlying health conditions. Instead of fully relying on green juices and smoothies, you can include fruit juices, such as those from berries and cherries (low Glycemic Index), apples (high in pectin), grapes and eat whole vegetables and fruits for a well-balanced diet.
You can check out one of our favourite green smoothie recipes that we drink daily over here or if you prefer green vegetable juices, you can check out this recipe here , while making sure to rotate the dark leafy greens every day.
Also, if you are investing so much in having a healthy diet, an effective way to help your cells absorb nutrients better is to complement it with a high density of negative ions such as wearing Negative Ion Clothes. Negative ions have been researched to open up our cell membrane to allow for more nutrients to enter, therefore affecting the Kreb’s cycle and how our body produces energy (ATP). You can read more about that here.
About our writer, Harper Lee
Harper Lee is a health aficionado who is always on the constant look-out for health hacks and news to build up her wealth of knowledge on holistic health. She hopes that her articles will inspire others to achieve health via natural remedies and live life centered on the pillars of good health and wellness.
Feature Photo Credit: The Wellness Insider
1.“11 models and celebrities share their green juice and smoothie receipes” by Vogue Australia http://www.vogue.com.au/beauty/wellbeing/galleries/11+models+and+celebrities+share+their+green+juice+and+smoothie+recipes,33461
2. “Star-Worthy Juice Recipes” http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes/5-delicious-juice-recipes-celebrities-love
3. “Benefits of Juicing vs. Eating Your Vegetables” http://www.livestrong.com/article/251138-benefits-of-juicing-vs-eating-your-vegetables/
4. “Easy Ways to Incorporate More Phytochemicals Into Your Diet” https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/11/easy-ways-to-incorporate-more-phytochemicals-into-your-diet/249012/
5. “The Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables” http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/super-veggies-cruciferous-vegetables#1
6. “Cruciferous Vegetables & Thyroid Control” http://www.livestrong.com/article/491733-cruciferous-vegetables-thyroid-control/
7. “7 Foods rich in Iodine” https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/iodine-foods/
8. “The Kale Shake is Awesome – So Upgrade It” https://blog.bulletproof.com/the-kale-shake-is-awesome-so-upgrade-it/
9. “Journal of Endourology – Effect of Magnesium on Calcium and Oxalate Ion Binding” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3883082/
10. “Oxalate Risks with Green Smoothies” http://vegetarian.lovetoknow.com/Green_Smoothie_Oxalate
11. “Juicing vs. Blending: Which is Better for Nutrition and Weight Loss?” http://blenderauthority.com/juicing-vs-blending-which-is-better-for-nutrition-and-weight-loss
12. “Does Fruit Lose Its Nutritional Value When It’s Blended?” http://www.livestrong.com/article/548978-does-fruit-lose-its-nutritional-value-when-its-blended
13. “Juice or Smoothie: Which One is Healthier?” http://www.health.com/nutrition/juice-vs-smoothie
The information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by health care professionals. Readers are therefore encouraged to consult with a licensed health care professional concerning the information presented, which has been received from sources deemed reliable, but no guarantees, expressed or implied, can be made regarding the accuracy of same. Therefore, readers are also encouraged to verify for themselves and to their own satisfaction the accuracy of all reports, recommendations, conclusions, comments, opinions, or anything else published herein before making any kind of decision based upon what they have read.