In honor of February, National Heart Health month, I wanted to feature a heart healthy smoothie for my blog. Plan to serve the love of your life this smoothie on Valentines Day this Saturday as well!
This heart smart smoothie features a favorite red valentine fruit, raspberries. Raspberries are so delicious and juicy, yet low in calorie content and very high in dietary fiber.Raspberries and other berries such as strawberries, blackberries and blueberries contain antioxidants which help to protect our bodies by neutralizing free radicals.Free radicals can cause cell damage and contribute to disease. Several scientific studies have shown that the antioxidant compounds in berries may help to prevent disease such as cancer, reduce inflammation and delay aging. Raspberries are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamins A and C. They also are provide quercetin in the diet, which works both as an anti-carcinogen and an antioxidant, protecting against cancer and heart disease.
This smoothie recipe also calls for fresh spinach and you may substitute kale if you would prefer this. The dark green color of spinach and kale leaves indicates that they contain ligh levels of chlorophyll, and health promoting carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin). These phyto (plant) chemicals fight both inflammation and cancer and are very beneficial for eyesight, since they help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. If you are around my age, you may remember Popeye, the cartoon character ate lots of spinach to keep him strong. It must have been the iron in his spinach that kept him so strong. Spinach is also an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, K and folic acid.
Yogurt and milk are both excellent sources of protein, calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium and Vitamin D are beneficial for bone health and calcium has also been shown to be helpful for controlling blood pressure levels as well. If you prefer to use almond or soy milk in the recipe, check the label well and purchase a brand that if fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.
Our heart healthy smoothie also contains ground flaxseed. Choose ground flaxseed, rather than whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier for your body to digest.Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestines undigested and you will not be able to reap the benefit of the flaxseed that way. Flaxseed is also a good source of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains only 30 calories and provides 2 grams of dietary fiber as well as 3 grams of protein. It has a very filling effect is beneficial for preventing and relieving constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, which can help prevent coronary artery disease. Flaxseed also contains lignins which bind with circulating substances that might promote unchecked cell growth. According to Dr. Andrew Weils’s Lowering Breast Cancer Risk website, lignins contained in flax may have a protective effect against breast cancer. Flaxseed have a nutty taste and can be added to cereals, smoothies, yogurt and baked goods such as quick breads.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and be good to your heart!
- 8 ounces non-fat yogurt (substitute Greek yogurt if desired)
- 4 ounces skim milk
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 TB ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup chopped fresh spinach or kale
- 2 packets Stevia
- Combine all ingredients in a blender, nutri-bullet or food processor. and process until well blender.
- Garnish with fresh berries and serve immediately.
Nutritional information was calculated using Spark People Recipe Calculator.