Healthy Fruit Smoothies Are Packed With Antioxidants
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my new venture into making gluten/dairy/egg free snacks that are healthy, delicious and satisfying.
Chia Seed Coconut “Tapioca” Pudding is one of the snacks I’ve come up with that meets all of my son’s needs – nutritious, delicious, and satisfying. He also enjoys rice crackers or carrot sticks with hummus or nut butter, an occasional gluten-free scone or muffin with sunflower seed butter, and fruit smoothies (his daily treat).
Although I’ve been advised to limit the amount of sugar in my son’s diet even from fruits (due to possible yeast overgrowth in his gut), I have decided for now that I will allow a fruit smoothie in his diet once a day, with no added sweetener. After all, fruits are naturally sweet (compared to processed sugars), and contain so many healthy antioxidants and nutrients that I feel I would be depriving him if I didn’t include any fruits in his diet.
As I mentioned in a recent post, Chia seeds are amazingly high in fiber and calcium, and are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. They’re actually very easy to incorporate into everyday meals. Some people like to sprinkle Chia seeds on their breakfast cereal (hot or cold), over yogurt, in baked goods (as a substitute for eggs or for added nutritional value), or in smoothies as I have done here.
Another ingredient I started adding to smoothies is aloe vera juice as aloe vera juice is supposed to serve as a digestive aid and is sometimes used to relieve digestive issues such as heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome. Preliminary studies have also suggested that aloe vera juice may reduce symptoms and inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis. I recently read about aloe vera juice in Kris Carr’s latest book, The Crazy Sexy Diet. I have to say I was skeptical at first about using aloe vera juice since the only context I had seen aloe vera used was in sunburn gels and lotions. I found a bottle of aloe vera juice at our local supermarket, but after reading the ingredient label, found that it included some chemicals and preservatives, so I decided to buy a fresh aloe vera leaf and make my own aloe vera juice.
A Fresh Aloe Vera Leaf I Found At The Supermarket In The Ethnic Section
I was a definitely a bit intimidated at first by this cactus looking leaf. I brought the aloe leaf home and left it on the counter for a while before asking one of my kids to look on YouTube to figure out how to make aloe vera juice. It really isn’t hard at all.
The Inside Of An Aloe Vera Leaf Is Gelatinous and Bit Slimey
You just peel it with a knife and blend the gelatinous interior in a blender until it turns into a liquidy gel.
Fresh Aloe Vera Juice
I refrigerated the aloe vera juice and used it all week and it seemed to do the trick. After adding it to a smoothie one night, my son asked me the next morning what I had put in his smoothie the night before. Apparently it worked! I’ve been adding just a bit of aloe juice to his daily smoothie, and it seems to be doing the trick. No constipation in the morning, and a much happier child!
In addition to chia seeds and aloi juice, I’ve been very selective about which fruits I’ve included in the smoothies I make for my son. All fruits have their own unique nutritional profile. The nice thing about smoothies is that you can incorporate a variety of healthy fruits in one serving. For the smoothies I’ve been making, I have been using a variety of fruits:
Blackberries, which are high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese
Pineapple, which are high in vitamin C, manganese, and bromelain (digestive enzyme)
Blueberries, which are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and ellagic acid, which promotes good digestive health
Mango, which is high in vitamin A and vitamin C, and contains digestive enzymes
Papaya, which is high in vitamin A and vitamin C, and papain, a digestive enzyme
Kiwi, which is high in vitamin C (1 kiwi provides 95% of daily value), an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals that can lead to inflammation and cancer, and contains digestive enzymes
The chia seeds add extra fiber and calcium, and the aloe vera juice seems to help “move things along.” Normally, I would throw a banana in, but since bananas are so high in sugar, I have decided to use a quarter of a banana in my son’s smoothies for now. My son doesn’t seem to miss the sweetness, and has been just thrilled to be able to have a cold, icy treat.
A Healthy Healing Fruit Smoothie:
“Puffin,” Another One Of My Son’s Favorite Friends, Enjoys A Healthy Smoothie
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon fresh aloe vera juice
- 1 cup frozen fruit of your choice
- 1 cup almond or other nut milk
- 2 tablespoons light coconut milk, optional (for a tropical flavor)