Digestion is the most energy-intensive process in the body.
I used to take digestion for granted, tossing food in one end and expecting it to come out the other without fail.
Foods that contain refined sugars, preservatives, or additives push our energy levels down to zero and leave us feeling like we’re trudging through molasses with a head full of fog.
The fact is, refined sugar has been stripped of its natural nutrients, causing it to steal other nutrients from the body so it can be digested. This is especially the case with B Vitamins, which are vital for stabilizing energy levels.
I already knew sugar was not doing me any health favors, but now I know sugar is a nutrient robber. How rude!
Preservatives and additives are chemicals that build up in the liver, affecting the way the whole body works, lending to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that zap our energy.
The extra energy required to process these ingredients is diverted to overtime work for the digestive system and translates to less energy available for living our lives.
So how do we keep our energy up?
Smoothies are inherently designed to give energy. A good recipe is rich in vitamins and minerals, yet free of toxins to allow the digestive system to stop working overtime and perform optimally on its essential functions.
Since they are liquid, it isn’t essential to chew smoothies, but I have found that some chewing enhances absorption and helps me feel full longer. This gives my digestive system a break and allows me extra energy to lovingly make meals from scratch instead of the go-to dining out or ordering in.
To take my smoothies to the next level, I focus on these four foods:
Arguably the most nutrient-dense food to include, greens are bursting at the seams with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Every cell in the body utilizes these nutrients, so we’re not running on empty. Plus, smoothies are the easiest way to ensure we get our daily serving in.
This sustainable, plant-based protein is my BFF. Hypoallergenic and fitting into any diet, hemp is my go-to protein source. The seeds are teeming with easily digested protein to give a slow release of steady energy. They are also rich in Iron, which is key for energy production.
Now that you’ve met my BFF, let me introduce you to my liver’s BFF. Beets are rich in betalains, the phytonutrients that give beets their deep red color. Betalains provide both antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory effect, supporting liver detoxification. This triple-whammy superfood provides the healthy energy levels that we all desire.
This whole food and natural sweetener saves the day by replacing the nutrient robber noted earlier. Medjool dates contain fiber and minerals that help stabilize blood sugar levels, which means our energy won’t crash by mid-afternoon.
Zero-to-Hero Smoothie Recipe:
Makes one serving.
>> 1 cup coconut water
>> 1 small beet, peeled, cooked, and diced
>> 1 red apple, diced
>> 3 tablespoons hemp hearts
>> 2 Medjool dates, pitted
>> 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
>> 1/4 cup cashews
>> 1-2 cups spinach
Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If you want to take your energy up another notch, add in a heaping tablespoon of beetroot crystals. This will also help those who want a green smoothie that isn’t green by turning it a shade of red.
Enjoy your energy!
Author: Jessica Stopard
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Danielle Beutell