Have your greens & enjoy them too!
Smoothies are one of my FAVORITE ways to sneak leafy greens into my diet! I will say, I love green leafies in the first place – spinach, kale, chard, collards… getting hungry just thinking about it. I definitely realize this is not a normal thing, especially after getting married to a picky eater who does not share the same love for greens and veggies as I do (I will say, he is always open to trying them, and for that I am eternally grateful!) If you are not a greens fanatic, this may be the perfect way to sneak some in! As an added bonus, this smoothie features cacao, which adds a rich & chocolatey taste with added health benefits!
Leafy greens include:
- Arugula (rocket)
- Bok choy
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Dandelion greens
- Beet greens
- Romaine lettuce
- … and many others!
Leafy greens have a myriad of nutrients and subsequent health benefits. They are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as a nice serving of fiber while also being low in calories. For example, 1 cup of kale has 2.5 grams of fiber, vitamin A, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin C, vitamin K,
There is research that shows us that leafy green vegetables are not only a great source of nutrients, but that they can also:
- Slow cognitive decline with aging 
- Protect against depressive symptoms 
- Preventative against
developmentof cancer 
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer 
Many research studies are also being done to show that leafy greens may be protective against type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases and cancers. Needless to say, leafy greens are something you should build into your daily routine. Dr. Michael Greger suggests getting 2 servings per day of leafy greens (60 grams raw, 90 grams cooked) and 1 serving per day of cruciferous greens/vegetables (30-80 grams chopped). Consider checking out his Daily Dozen and his website NutritionFacts.org.
Many people confuse cacao and cocoa powder. They are similar, but have some major differences. They both come from raw cacao beans, though cacao powder is made by cold-pressing un-roasted beans and cocoa is made by processing raw beans that have been roasted at high temperatures. This process kills the living enzymes in the cacao beans, so if you’re looking to get the most nutrients from your choice, I definitely recommend using cacao over cocoa. I have lined out many other differences in one of my other articles along with a recipe for Vegan Hot Cacao!
Cacao Greens Smoothie Bowl
- 2 frozen bananas
- 2 cups frozen spinach
- 1-2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp organic cacao powder
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Brandless dried fruit & nut salad topper (my favorite!)
- organic oats
- fresh berries
- Put all ingredients into your high-powered blender and blend until thick and creamy
- Pour into a bowl and top with muesli, granola, fresh fruit, cacao nibs, or other toppings of your choice
- Morris MC, Wang Y, Barnes LL, Bennett DA, Dawson-
hughesB, Booth SL. Nutrients and bioactivesin green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology. 2018;90(3):e214-e222. LINK
- Tsai AC, Chang TL, Chi SH. Frequent consumption of vegetables predicts
lowerrisk of depression in older Taiwanese – results of a prospective population-based study. Public Health Nutr. 2012;15(6):1087-92. LINK
- Woziwodzka A, Golunski G, Piosik J. Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines Heterocomplexation with Biologically Active Aromatic Compounds and Its Possible Role in Chemoprevention. ISRN Biophysics Volume 2013, Article ID 740821. LINK
- Kahlon TS, Chiu MC, Chapman MH. Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage. Nutr Res. 2008;28(6):351-7. LINK