Spring Clean from the Inside Out
The beginning of Spring is the ideal time to concentrate on nourishing your body to give you a ‘spring clean’ feeling from the inside out. Incorporating a daily smoothie is a simple way to include fresh ingredients to support your health naturally. Here are three super smoothies designed to spring clean your body by aiding digestion, healing and repairing the gut, and boosting your liver function.
1. Cleanse with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are known to protect the gut lining, which is particularly important for those who suffer with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (1). New research also suggests that irritable bowel syndrome is also marked by raised levels of inflammation in the digestive tract (2).
Antioxidants also help to support healthy levels of beneficial bowel flora, making them an essential consideration for anyone looking to support digestive health.
Super Antioxidant Chocolate Mint Smoothie
If you’ve overindulged on Easter chocolates, then this Chocolate Mint smoothie is the perfect detox remedy. Black beans, cacao and fresh mint have particularly powerful antioxidant properties, while bananas boost levels of healthy bacteria in the gut. Peppermint relaxes digestive spasms, easing symptoms of indigestion and IBS. This smoothie also packs in a whopping 20 grams of fibre, making it the ultimate digestive cleanser.
If you’d like to sweeten it further, then a couple of medjool dates are the best fibre-rich sweetener available.
- 2 tsp cacao powder (you can use plain cocoa powder, but raw cacao has greater antioxidant capacity)
- 1 banana
- ½ cup black beans
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3 tbsp fresh mint
Superboost your smoothie: add a teaspoon of acai powder for a powerful antioxidant boost.
2. Soothe and Repair with Demulcents
Certain plant foods provide special demulcent fibres. These fibres form a gel with water and coat the gut lining, forming a soothing and protective layer. Smoothies with demulcent ingredients are perfect for soothing irritated or inflamed tissue, making them valuable digestive ‘cleansers’.
Gut Healing Apple Pie Smoothie (Serves 2)
The ingredients in this smoothie all have properties that support and repair the gut lining and help to protect against infection. Apple pectin, oat beta-glucans and chia are special ‘demulcent’ fibres which soothe and protect the gut lining. Cinnamon, ginger, manuka honey and coconut milk each have antibacterial properties. In studies, glutamine has been found to protect the intestinal lining, effectively healing a ‘leaky gut’ (3).
- 2 apples seeded, peeled and diced
- 1 medium avocado
- ½ coconut milk
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp manuka honey
Superboost your smoothie: add a teaspoon of glutamine powder to nourish the intestinal lining.
3. Boost Digestion with Bitters
Bitters have long been valued for their unique ability to cleanse the body. This is because bitters or ‘cholagogues’ stimulate the liver to produce digestive enzymes, improving overall digestion and the absorption of fats. They also provide essential balance to the Western sweet and salty diet.
Liver Cleansing Green Smoothie
The best green smoothies are packed with detoxifying ‘bitters’ or ‘cholagogues’. Try this super cleansing green smoothie for a refreshing digestive boost . Leafy greens, citrus and almond butter also provide a combination of Vitamins A, C and E for antioxidant support.
- 1 cup water
- 2 handfuls of kale
- ½ avocado
- ½ lime
- ½ lemon
- large handful of frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 tbsp almond butter
Superboost your smoothie: add a couple of teaspoons of supergreens powder – a simple way of including more ‘bitters’ and phytonutrients from greens such as kale, broccoli and artichoke.
1. Miller et al (2001) Dietary antioxidants protect gut epithelial cells from oxidant-induced apoptosis. BMC Complement Altern Med 1: 11.
2. Barbara G et al (2015) A role for inflammation in irritable bowel syndrome. Gut 51:1
3 RadhaKrishna Rao and Geetha Samak. (2012) Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions. J Epithel Biol Pharmacol. 5(Suppl 1-M7): 47–54.