A Berry Gut-Happy Smoothie
Dearest Smoothie Sippers,
Do you ever wake up and think “Man, today would be a whole lot better if I got in two servings of fruits and veggies before 8 am…”?? If so, this smoothie concept is for you. If not, this is also for you–because let’s be honest, we could all benefit from squeezing a few extra plants into our morning routine.
My favorite way to sneak a few extra servings of good ole’ fruits and veggies into my day is to drink them–smoothie style. Smoothies are an especially great way to incorporate leafy greens into your diet if you don’t otherwise enjoy their taste or texture because, when blended and combined with fruit, they’re very ghost-like–ya can’t see ’em, ya can’t taste ’em, and if you don’t know they’re there, they won’t scare ya!
This smoothie not only contains the Ghost of the Leafy Green, but also Lifeway kefir and GoodBelly Probiotic Juice, which both contain probiotics. On that note, let’s dive into the nutritional highlight of this recipe:
Probiotics are living microorganisms intended to have health benefits for the human body. In fact, the word itself means “beneficial for life!” While it may seem natural to associate “bacteria” with “ew, gross” or “that doesn’t sound good,” many help our bodies to function normally. Interestingly enough, the number of bacterial cells in and on our bodies vastly outweigh the number of human cells by 10 to 1.
The “good” bacteria already present in the gut aids in:
- The proper digestion of food
- Protection from disease-causing microorganisms (similar to how your skin protects the outside of your body from harmful invaders, the gut-lining protects the inside of your body)
- Production and absorption of certain vitamins (like vitamin K and biotin!)
Probiotic microorganisms are similar to those naturally living in the intestines and may act as happy helpers in a variety of ways, such as:
- Stabilize + enhance the intestinal barrier–making it stronger and more effective in warding off the not-so-good bacteria
- Help the “good bacteria” return to normal more quickly and efficiently after being disturbed (by something like a disease or antibiotic use)
- Enhance + stimulate the immune response1
All the information I’ve presented here represents the “good” side of the research. However, it’s important to understand that, although the gut microbiome is a very hot and important topic, much more research is needed to determine how exactly probiotics are best used.
The thing that makes research so tough is that there’s not just one type of “good bacteria.” There are many, many types–some that *very likely* haven’t even been discovered yet! Most of the current knowledge on their safety and efficacy comes from research surrounding strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium–and, while these appear to have health benefits, not much else is known about other probiotics.
Kefir (a tart, tangy cultured milk) contains strains of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, while GoodBelly juice (the other probiotic ingredient in this recipe) contains a strain of Lactobacillus.
Long story long, probiotics are a complicated topic. To wrap things up, I’ll offer my professional opinion(s):
- This topic is huge, and more research needs to be done in order for us to more fully understand how exactly these little guys work + how much we need to consume daily in order to best reap their benefits.
- For most healthy individuals, probiotics can find a safe and likely beneficial place in the diet (starting with this smoothie!)
- For infants and individuals who are critically ill, have serious underlying medical issues, or those with weakened immune systems, probiotics may not be the safest choice.
- If you’re thinking this may be you, always be sure to consult your doctor before starting any new probiotic regimens.
Now…let’s get to the smoothie! Bone apple teeth, friends.
P.S. Although flowers are cute photo additions, they’re not cute additions to the diet. No flowers were consumed (or should be consumed) in the making of this smoothie–unless, of course, you have edible flowers. Then, by all means, munch away!
Sources + Continued Reading
- Probiotics: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm. Published February 22, 2018. Accessed June 20, 2018.