Smoothies are not only delicious and fun to experiment with, they are nutritious too and can be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle to help reduce the risk and symptoms of some nasty disorders and diseases that you may develop.
Here’s 13 conditions that smoothies can help you deal with:
Diabetes is a metabolic condition that comes in two forms:
Type-2 – This is the most common and generally affects those who are overweight and have poor diet and means that sugar builds up in the bloodstream because the body’s natural insulin is not being used as well as it should.
Type-1 – This form of the disease can be developed by adults and children alike and attacks pancreatic cells so that no insulin can be produced. Those with this type generally have to use a pump or injections for regulation.
If left unchecked, diabetes can cause heart and kidney problems, blindness, increased cholesterol and blood pressure, stroke and amputation.
However, Diabetes UK suggest that eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity can prevent the effect of complications.
This is where smoothies come in. When associated with a healthy lifestyle and exercise, green smoothies can help you to lose weight, give you more energy and feel better about eating healthier which reduces the risk of being unable to control your sugar intake. The main thing to watch when making smoothies is the natural sugar content. Try to stick to green smoothies with vegetables and greens as they contain minimal sugar compared to fruits. Avoid fruit juices altogether and if you want to sweeten the taste, only use natural blended fruit to bulk them out by adding in superfoods.
The international diabetes federation suggest that over 8.5% of the worlds’ population is diabetic with as many as 25 million in the US & 2.9 million sufferers in the UK. Diabetes can cause serious health complications if left untreated, you should seek medical attention if you have recently experienced increased need to drink or eat (without a good reason, e.g. exercise) or if you find that you have to urinate more often.
Heart issues such as: coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, angina or heart related chest pains can all be signs of heart disease or failure for many patients. As many as 1 in 10 women and 1 in 6 men die per year from coronary heart disease and although women are generally more affected, those over 50 have the same chances of getting it. Many of the diseases relating to heart failure can be attributed to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes as well as obesity due to a lack of exercise and a poor diet. The buildup of fatty elements in the heart’s blood supply can cause blockages or furred artery walls which lead to inefficient heart pumping and eventually disease or failure.
Reducing obesity, losing weight, exercising regularly and improving your nutrition can help to reduce the lifestyle risk factors and even aid in the symptoms of heart problems. Smoothies containing berries such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries contain essential antioxidants and flavonoids (the natural red coloring) can have anti-inflammatory properties than can reduce the risk of heart diseases and improve overall cardiovascular health. Also, berries are high in antioxidants which aid the natural detoxification process to remove toxins and the built up of fatty deposits that can damage the heart.
Hair loss or alopecia has many causes and can affect men and women alike. Although in some cases there can be nothing done for hair loss, in many cases there can. Causes such as:
- A lack of vitamin A
- A lack of protein
- Thyroid problems
Are able to be managed and even reversed using a healthy diet boosted by superfood smoothies to aid in stimulating follicles and growth as well as strengthening the hair to avoid breakage if thinning is the issue. Smoothies that contain natural proteins such as avocado, hemp seeds and almonds can stop the body from shutting down hair growth in cases of poor nutrition. Also adding fruits and vegetables high in vitamin A such as:
Can help to boost the immune system, balance the thyroid and reduce deficiencies in the body which can lead to stimulated hair growth and thicker hair. Additionally, for those with anemia consuming iron rich ingredients for the smoothies such as; Kale, Spinach and Cacao can help naturally treat the condition and bulk out smoothies for essential nutrition.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is an increasing problem that can be the primary cause of heart diseases, stroke and kidney failure as well as create other health complications and put pressure on artery walls. High blood pressure can also cause us to feel increasing amounts of stress because more adrenaline and cortisol are released to combat the high blood pressure which can make you irritable and feel “jacked up” all the time.
Stress can already play a factor in increasing your blood pressure but not many people realize that it doesn’t create long lasting or continuous high blood pressure as it will be increased when you are feeling more stressed. Whereas too much salt, alcohol and takeaway foods can cause elevations in blood pressure that need to be rectified by nutrition, diet and in extreme cases medication.
Doctors suggest that low fat diets that include a lot of vitamins, minerals and fiber that cut out caffeine and alcohol can almost entirely lower blood pressure. Smoothies are one of the best options because they contain the natural fiber and pulses from the actual fruit in blending. This means you are getting the full effect (if not more) than eating the actual fruit. Potassium is one of the key ingredients in smoothies that can aid blood pressure so add these ingredients to a smoothie for high potassium content and swap your daily tea or coffee with a smoothie to see results:
Contrary to popular belief, sexual dysfunction not only affects or refers to men but to women too. Surveys suggest that as many as 50% of women deal with sexual dysfunction or problems and this increases with age. Sexual dysfunction can refer to many different aspects of a sexual relationship such as:
- Inability to orgasm
- Lack of sex drive
- Inability to get aroused
However it is only considered a dysfunction if it has been occurring for 6 months or longer because other factors can play a part (such as stress, hormone cycles etc. This type of dysfunction can lead to many psychological issues that lead to anxiety, further stress, guilt and over thinking the sexual process which can lead to more issues.
One of the causes of sexual dysfunction could be poor blood flow and high fat diets because they make you feel sluggish and tired. Therefore a smoothie containing zinc could be the answer you have been looking for. This mineral is an antioxidant which improves circulation and helps to aid the removal of toxins from your system as well as keeping sperm and testosterone production healthy. Those who drink a lot of alcohol who suffer from sexual dysfunction should incorporate zinc because alcohol depletes the stores in your system.
This respiratory condition is quite common among children and adults and has different levels of severity. Asthma symptoms can vary from patient to patient but generally the symptoms are:
- Tight feeling in the chest
And these are caused by the bronchi in your lungs becoming inflamed, irritated or sensitive. An “asthma attack” is a sudden onset of irritation that can cause the muscles around your airway to tighten and narrow and in some cases can be life threatening and require medical treatment at the hospital.
Smoothies containing anti-inflammatory properties are useful for reducing the likelihood of an attack and can even hinder or stop the onset of a coughing or wheezing fit. Also, smooth and creamy smoothies can also help to soothe the throat after an asthma attack which can leave it feeling sore and “scratchy”. Some ingredients that act as natural anti-inflammatories are:
- Bok Choy
Cancer comes in many forms and affects different areas of the body due to abnormal cell division that results in growths or tumors that can spread thorough the body. Treatment varies on a case by case basis but generally involves radiation or chemotherapy treatment (or both) which can lead to side effects such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
Unfortunately, smoothies can’t cure cancer (although they are doing studies on superfoods that might be able to help) but they can aid in recovery, reduce treatment symptoms and keep you healthy while you are dealing with it. The American Cancer Association suggest that eating a healthy balanced diet can help to take care of you while you are undergoing treatment.
Green smoothies and those with raw vegetables can be particularly helpful in boosting the immune system to avoid any other colds or viruses which can exacerbate the cancer. Additionally replenishing your nutrient and mineral stores while undergoing treatment is very important because they get depleted more rapidly due to the way treatment is performed. Smoothies can also be easier on the stomach and be some of the few foods that can be kept down (try to avoid citrus fruits in this case).
Digestive issues can be caused by a range of things and can even be precursors for more serious conditions so if your symptoms persist for more than 3-6 months after making some dietary changes seek the advice of a doctor. Some of the most common digestive issues that are dealt with are:
Which can cause; pain, embarrassment and a depletion of your natural mineral and vitamin stores as well as dehydration. This can be a result of many things such as; intolerances, stress, high fatty or salty diets, wheat or gluten allergies but most commonly it is down to poor nutrition and too many “ready meals” which contain a number of chemicals that can build up in the system.
Smoothies are very adaptable which means that you can substitute easily according to your dietary needs, for example removing dairy from your diet due to a lactose intolerance means you can use soy, almond milk, coconut water or milk and other options as the liquid base to your smoothie. Also, choosing smoothies that are high in anti-oxidants can help the natural detoxification processes and remove the fatty substances and chemicals that could be causing the discomfort. Additionally, smoothies that are high in soluble fiber and healthy fats using ingredients such as
Are easier to digest and can aid the digestion process and provide some relief from the discomfort. Try to avoid citrus fruits or some other vegetables that might cause bowel irritations.
Constipation is the inability to pass stools easily and be as little as three or less per week as well as having hard movements that are dry and it is a sign that your natural detoxification process from the liver and kidneys is slowing down. The most common causes of constipation are linked to lack of exercise and poor nutrition that contains a lot of junk food that’s high in fat. Dehydration and other intolerances such as gluten and dairy can also play an important role in constipation and ensuring we tailor our diet to our specific bodies’ needs are important in rectifying the problem.
Smoothies are particularly useful for constipation because most fresh fruit and vegetables are naturally high in soluble fiber which is easier to digest and promotes healthy bowel movements. Also adding ingredients such as coconut water to a smoothie can help loosen your stools due to the high amount of electrolytes it contains. If you are suffering from constipation, stay away from dairy liquid bases in your smoothies and try not to add yogurt unless it is probiotic otherwise it could aggravate the situation. Some natural laxative foods that you can add to your smoothies are:
- Chia Seeds
Obesity is now becoming a worldwide epidemic that is not just limited to the UK or US. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that obesity or being overweight is the 5th leading risk for deaths globally and as a result 2.8 million adults die each year from complications arising from obesity. Additionally, obesity has almost doubled from 1980 to over 1.4 billion adults being overweight or obese in 2008 alone.
The health implications that obesity can lead to or heavily increase the risk of, are;
- Respiratory problems
- Sleep apnea
- Gallstones or gallbladder diseases and complications
- High blood pressure
- Heart diseases
- Sexual dysfunction
These all arise primarily from eating too many fatty processed foods and not doing enough exercise. Smoothies are very useful for aiding weight loss and combating obesity because they boost the vitamins and mineral intake which aids in the detoxification process in your body which helps to remove toxins that are stored as fat. Additionally, some smoothies boost metabolism which is responsible for burning more calories and a high protein smoothie can promote more muscle growth which leads to a high calorie burn per hour as well. In addition to this, they can also provide you with energy and a boost in serotonin which is the “happy hormone” which means you are more likely to want (and have the energy to) exercise.
Ultimately smoothies can act as a healthy snack alternative to reduce overeating and leave you feeling fuller of natural fiber which is more filling and nutritious than other snacks or food.
Dehydration occurs when the body is lacking fluid and water faster than we are taking it in. This means the water in our cells is not being replaced effectively or quickly. A common misconception is that dehydration only involves severe dehydration that you see in those in the desert or other hot countries. This is actually not true and you can become dehydrated very easily at home by drinking too many sweet or processed drinks that do not contain much water or when you drink a lot of alcohol. A hangover is effectively dehydration because your body doesn’t have enough water to combat the toxins from the alcohol so they build up and you get some of the symptoms: headaches, nausea and aching muscles which as all signs of dehydration.
Signs that you could be dehydrated include:
- Being very thirsty
- Swollen tongue
- Feeling dizzy
- Dry mouth
- Feeling tired or sluggish
- Feeling faint or fainting
- Lack of sweating
- Lack of urination
- Heart palpitations
Smoothies can combat this by boosting your electrolytes and rehydrating you using natural water content from the smoothies so you don’t even have to water them down. Coconut water is especially useful to combat dehydration and has been recommended by nutritionists in many cases for those who are very active that need to replenish their water stores and minerals after exercise.
The Stroke Association define a stroke as an attack on the brain when your blood supply is cut off in part to the brain. This causes the cells to die or be permanently damaged as they lack the essential nutrients or oxygen that they need. It is not common knowledge that strokes come in different forms and these are:
Ischaemic Strokes – Blockages that cut off bloody supply to into the brain
Haemorrhagic Stroke – Bleeding in the brain or around causing a stroke
Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) – A mini-stroke that’s’ symptoms last up to 24 hours due to temporary brain blockages.
Strokes depend on the severity, type and specific situation to discuss symptoms and treatment but it is important to seek help as quickly as possible. Strokes can be life threatening and the Stroke Association figures show that 1 in 8 people will die within 30 days of a stroke.
Drinking smoothies that increase blood flow and incorporating white fruit and vegetables into the them such as:
Can reduce the risk of stroke in male and female adults over 20. Additionally, drinking smoothies high in antioxidants such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries can also help to reduce the risk of clots and blockages by aiding in the detoxification process.
The breakdown of the flexible cartilage and tissue in the joints that act as buffers or shock absorbers is what causes arthritis. Other forms of arthritis are caused by autoimmune disorders or injuries that can primarily start or exacerbate the condition. Those with arthritis will experience swelling of the joints as well as stiffness and pain due to inflammation and some can feel tired or a loss of appetite (although it is unclear whether it is the pain or the arthritis itself that causes a loss of appetite).
Luckily, smoothies can aid those who have arthritis in several ways. The key to green smoothies that can help relieve arthritis symptoms is anti-inflammatory ingredients that have a higher carotenoid content such as:
These act to reduce painful swelling in the joints and reduce the risk of developing disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to this, smoothies that are immune boosting and contain ingredients such as; citrus fruits, broccoli and red peppers can prevent colds and viruses making the deterioration worse.
Overall, smoothies should be a staple in your diet or meal plan and can both prevent and reduce side effects and cure many disorders. Give them a go and you definitely won’t go back!
What do you think? share your thoughts in the comments section
Disclaimer: You should always seek the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional before making changes to your diet or lifestyle if you have a medical condition or are taking medication because everyone is different and you can be affected differently.