Welcome back to the Smoothie Spotlight! Today’s post is about the highly acclaimed Empowermint. It’s no wonder it is one of our most popular smoothies – a refreshing and creamy dairy-free take on mint chocolate chip heaven, with a sprinkle of cacao nibs for the crunch factor. As the summer heats up, we are geared up and ready to go with the influx of Empowermint requests. Read on for the health benefits and unique facts about each ingredient.
Remember what we said about a banana a day? Back on our Queen Bee blog, the benefits of bananas were peeled back. Peek back at that blog for a little refresher!
Like most ingredients we use, avocado needs no introduction or primer to entice its consumption. But avocado has quite the resume. The average serving size of an avocado, about one-half, provides nearly 20% of our daily recommendation for dietary fiber. This fruit is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, C, E, K and the B vitamins.
The term “healthy fats” gets thrown around quite a bit these days. What does that really mean? Our body relies on fat for a multitude of functions, from building cell membranes to blood clotting to brain health. Fun fact, our brains are made up of about 60% fat. So, you are what you eat! Fat soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, also rely on dietary fat. Consumption of dietary fat increases the bioavailability of these vitamins, as well as phytochemicals.
Mustard, turnips, cabbage, broccoli and maca? Yep, you read that correctly. Maca belongs to the brassica family and is a low growing plant with a large underground rooting system. Commonly grown in the Andes, maca can withstand inhospitable conditions, like altitude, extreme temperature, soil conditions and strong winds. The superfood form we consume today comes from the dried and ground root.
Although maca has been consumed for many years, modern research gives us a better understanding of the nutrient density. Maca is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins A, B, C and D, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium, calcium, fatty acids and nearly all the essential amino acids. Traditionally, fertility was the main focus of maca’s use. However, clinical trials examine the effect of maca on sexual dysfunction, sperm count, stamina and energy. Beyond these physiological benefits, maca is deemed an adaptogen. Adaptogens aid in maintaining a sense of homeostasis and enhance the body’s resistance to disease, especially within the adrenal and endocrine systems.
No, no, no not BBQ! Remember we are 99% vegan?? Although mesquite wood is used in barbecue, the powdered form of mesquite comes from the pods. Mesquite trees are drought-tolerant members of the legume family and are commonly grown in South America and the Southwestern U.S. Once ground, mesquite offers a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, resembling caramel or molasses.
Mesquite is rich in protein and fiber. Fiber helps slow the digestion of carbohydrates and absorption of blood sugar, thus preventing blood sugar spikes (read: quick energy then crash). Thus, mesquite is a low glycemic ingredient, making it a great alternative to regular sweeteners in baked goods.
Thanks to Jonas and the crew at Firefly Chocolate, we can celebrate chocolate every day! Cacao boosts with magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber and polyphenols. As we learned from our research, it is a pharmacologically complex plant substance, with 300-1,200 constituents.
Cacao is a natural mood enhancer, stimulant and anti-inflammatory food. Many components in cacao act as neurotransmitters in the body, inducing the feel-good state or mood improvement. These molecules include anandamide (similar to THC, but non-psychoactive), theobromine (similar to caffeine, but weaker), norepinephrine (the joy molecule), dopamine (motivation and pleasure), serotonin (feel good chemical), phenethylamine (improves libido) and flavanols. Flavanols are the most abundant molecule in cacao, offering many anti- and pro- inflammatory responses.
Used as an alternative sweetener, coconut nectar comes straight from the coconut tree. When the tree is tapped, sap seeps out from the blossoms. The sap is slightly evaporated to concentrate the liquid, thus becoming coconut nectar. Although it’s used in small quantities, coconut nectar is rich in nutrients and is low glycemic.
As if the other ingreidnets didn’t already pack a powerful punch, we decided to add in the ultimate super greens. Sunwarrior combines whole leaf and juice blends to create their Ormus Supergreens. Alfalfa, barley, wheatgrass, moringa and oat grass compose both blends. In a cold-drying process, the bioactive components and phytonutrients remain preserved, thus increasing its bioavailability. Ginger and peppermint are added to aid in digestive and anti-inflammatory responses. A touch of probiotics helps to increase the availability of all the nutrients.
Wildly grown throughout Europe and North American, peppermint is the offspring of water mint and spearmint. If you’re not careful, peppermint becomes a weed, infiltrating your entire yard. With the health benefits of peppermint, it may not actually be a bad thing. Well, depends on who maintains your yard!
Most of the research examining peppermint focuses on its relationship with IBS management. As a supplement, peppermint oil can relieve bloating, gas, distension as well as the common cold, headaches and muscle aches. Peppermint oil can improve mental clarity, ease tension and improve concentration. As its most basic function, peppermint can stimulate opening of the airways. Our food grade peppermint oil is from Floracopeia, a sustainable, grass roots health care promoter working with the highest quality ingredients for ultimate body rejuvenation.
Homemade Pumpkin Seed Mylk
In a world full of nut mylks, we’ve got a standout for you: pumpkin seed mylk. Sprouted, raw pumpkin seeds are blended with filtered water and a touch of yacon, mesquite, vanilla extract and salt. Perfect for those who have to avoid nuts or simply want a change of pace.
Small but mighty accurately describes pumpkin seeds. They are a great source of protein, health fats, iron, selenium, B vitamins and beta carotene, the precursor for vitamin A. One tablespoon of pumpkin seeds provides roughly 10% of our daily needs for magnesium. With regard to health benefits, pumpkin seeds have been examined for their relationship with diabetes management, blood pressure health and bladder function.
That’s a wrap on our third installment of the Smoothie Spotlight Series. All this sunshine and warm weather sure does have us craving an Empowermint, but who are we kidding, we could have one year round!
In Good Health,
With gratitude, we get by with a little help from our friends
Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The Nectary does not provide medical advice or treatment nor it is a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before consuming anything mentioned within these posts.