Green Smoothies? Get Hooked on Phytonutrients!

Without specific knowledge of their cellular actions or mechanisms, phytochemicals have been considered as drugs for millennia. For example, Hippocrates may have prescribed willow tree leaves to abate fever. Salicin, having anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, was originally extracted from the bark of the white willow tree and later synthetically produced became the staple over-the-counter drug aspirin.

Have you ever tried a green smoothie ?

A few years ago, I tasted my first one. It was delicious! Around the same time, a friend bought me a book, called Green for Life, by Victoria Boutenko. I put the book on a shelf and did not pick it up again (or drink another green smoothie) until a few years later. I’m really glad I finally did!

I now make green smoothies a part of my plant based diet and healthy lifestyle. The source of this blog information is the book I read, Green for Life, and my personal experience.

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Our Cousin the Chimp

The animals most similar in genetic makeup to humans are chimpanzees, who share more than 99% of the same genes. So, it makes sense to consider what foods eat: 25-50 % greens and about 50 % fruit.

By contrast, more than half of the standard American diet is simple carbohydrates (e.g. bread and white rice) and animal-based foods (e.g.beef and chicken). Greens and fruit comprise less than 10% of the SAD, compared with 75 to nearly 100 % of the chimps diet

Does it make sense that we are so similar biologically, but our diets are so radically different? Absolutely not!

A Solution: Green Smoothies!

What is a green smoothie ? It is a blended drink containing green leafy vegetables and fruit.

Combining fruits and greens in a smoothie each day can help solve the problem of not getting in enough fruits and vegetables every day. It is a source of multiple servings of fruits and veggies every day that doesn’t force you to chew all day long! Why green leafy veggies and fruits? Because they are loaded with more nutrients, including fiber, than any other food on the planet! Contrary to popular belief, they are also a great source of protein !

Here are some of the experiences documented in the book, Green for Life, that people have felt after 30 days of green smoothies:

  • More energy
  • Less desire for other foods, including junk foods and animal based foods
  • Less cravings
  • Sleep better
  • Weight loss
  • More regular bowel movements

I have personally experienced several of these benefits within only a few weeks! I’m hooked because they are really delicious, and I have more energy and less junk food cravings when I drink them.

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Herbs That Help Heal

For anyone with type 2 diabetes, the goal of treatment is to control blood sugar levels. In many cases, exercise and diet is enough to regulate these levels, but when it is not, medicine is available. But even beyond traditional medicine, there are more options still.

As with many other ailments, people often look to natural remedies and herbs to assist with their treatment. Because of this, several botanical and herbal supplements have been studied as alternative treatments for type 2 diabetes, including ginseng, cinnamon and aloe vera. Read onto find out if trying them might work for you.

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• Milk thistle: This flowering herb is found near the Mediterranean Sea. It has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It is sometimes known by the name of its active component, silybinin. Milk thistle may reduce insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have liver disease.

• Fenugreek: This herb has been used as a medicine and as a spice for thousands of years in the Middle East. Benefits of fenugreek for diabetes have been demonstrated in both animal and human trials. In one study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, fenugreek was found to have a significant effect on controlling blood sugar.

• Psyllium: This plant fiber is found in common bulk laxatives and fiber supplements. Psyllium has also been used historically to treat diabetes. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes who take 10 grams of psyllium every day can improve their blood sugar and lower blood cholesterol.

• Cinnamon: Consuming about half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can result in significant improvement in blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

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• Holy basil: This herb is commonly used in India as a traditional medicine for diabetes. Studies in animals suggest that holy basil may increase the secretion of insulin. A controlled trial of holy basil in people with type 2 diabetes showed a positive effect on fasting blood sugar and on blood sugar following a meal.

• Ginseng: Ginseng has been used as a traditional medicine for more than 2,000 years. Studies suggest that both Asian and American ginseng may help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. One study found that extract from the ginseng berry was able to normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in mice that were bred to develop diabetes.

• Aloe vera: This plant has been used for thousands of years for its healing properties. Some studies suggest that the juice from the aloe vera plant can help lower blood sugar in people with types 2 diabetes. The dried sap of the aloe vera plant has traditionally been used in Arabia to treat diabetes.

• Bitter melon: This is a popular ingredient of Asian cooking and traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to relieve thirst and fatigue, which are possible symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that extract of bitter melon can reduce blood sugar.

ImageAccording to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there is still not enough good evidence to support the use of herbal supplements solely as effective type 2 diabetes treatments. While many of these supplements show promise, until results from additional studies come out, do not take herbal supplements without first consulting with your doctor, since many of them have side effects that may interfere with other medications or exacerbate the health condition.