The sweet, sweet summertime has got us on a tropical kick with our smoothie spotlight series. Interestingly enough, this week’s smoothie has quite the digestive power, from enzymes naturally found in pineapple, to the non-digestible fibers in bananas, to the soothing qualities of spearmint. Without further a due, we introduce to you .. the Mojo Rising!
Mojo Rising: Pineapple, banana, avocado, coconut butter,
kale, lime juice, coconut nectar, mint, coconut water,
cashew mylk, vanilla-infused salt, jalapeno
Once a staple in Central & South American diets, pineapple is now the third most widely produced fruit in the world. Pineapple is well known for its refreshing, tropical flavor as well as its immune and digestive health benefits.
One cup of pineapple contains 131% of the RDA for Vitamin C. Vitamin C is highly regarded for its efforts in fighting bacterial and viral infections. Obviously, this function is extremely important for our health; however, it’s not Vitamin C’s only role. Vitamin C participates in collagen synthesis. Collagen is the most abundant, structural protein in our bodies, found in our skin, bones, dentine, tendons and cartilage. In collagen synthesis, vitamin C is supports the efficacy of enzymes, or catalysts that drive reactions forward.
Pineapple naturally contains bromelin, a protein digesting enzyme. While bromelin is found in both the stems and skin, it is most concentrated in the stems and therefore, sold as a dietary supplement. In addition to its digestive health benefits, bromelin has been used for anti-inflammatory, circulatory improving and wound healing effects.
For this segment on bananas, we’re going to hone in on the benefits of potassium. One medium banana provides 450 mg of potassium, roughly 10% of the RDA for this mineral. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, less than 2% of Americans meet their daily potassium recommendation. While 10% may seem low, incorporating whole fruits, like bananas, can aid in increasing the overall daily intake.
Potassium functions in acid-base balance, nerve stimulation and muscle contractions. It is an important electrolyte that offsets the effects of sodium, specifically with regards to blood pressure. High sodium and low potassium intake are associated with high blood pressure and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. According to this data analysis, individuals who consumed close to the RDA for potassium experienced a 37% reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, as compared to those who consumed a fraction of the RDA.
So far, we’ve learned that bananas aid in digestive health, mood enhancement, cardiovascular disease prevention and nutrient absorption. Safe to say that’s one sure sign of a superfood!
Would you ever say avocado was your favorite fruit? Yep, avocados are fruits, not vegetables. Unlike most fruits, avocados are low in sugar and carbohydrates and rich in fat and calories. Don’t let the notion of calories or fats concern you! Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, which when replacing saturated fats, can help improve blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats also help improve the absorption of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
In this data analysis, avocados were associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake. The participants regularly consuming avocados showed decreased BMIs, increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and reduced risks for metabolic syndrome.
As we all know, coconut butter is a source of healthy fats. It contains some MCTs which do not require digestion and are readily absorbed for quick energy. Let’s step back and look at the role of fats in our diet. Vitamins are categorized into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins require fat as a carrier from our stomach into our intestinal tract. Take Vitamin A for example. When we consume foods with vitamin A, it is bound to proteins and fatty esters. Vitamin A require digestion prior to absorption. Proteases and lipases separate the vitamin from its bound protein or fatty ester. Once digested, the vitamin A compounds join back up with fats to form a molecule, known as a micelle, to be transported into the intestinal cell. Absorption of vitamin A is most efficient when there is adequate fat in the diet. Fats not only provide benefits on their own, but they increase the absorption of our fat-soluble vitamins, which are vital to a myriad of processes!
Eat your vegetables! We’ve been hearing this saying for years, from our grandparents and parents. Research backs up this age old saying. Increased consumption of vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, is associated with increased intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and much more. The cruciferous veg, kale, is rich in folate, vitamin K, A, C, fiber and phytonutrients. Other compounds, known as isothiocyanates, provide detoxification and anti-cancer effects.
Like most other citrus, limes are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and phytonutrients. In our smoothie spotlight on the 808, we mentioned limes were partially responsible for curing the scurvy outbreak back in the 1600-1700s. More recently, the antioxidant properties of limes have been evaluated with regard to cancerous cells. Researchers at Texas A&M University concluded lime extracts inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.
In addition to the immune influencing effects, Vitamin C also increases the absorption of non-heme iron. Iron is divided into two categories: heme from animal sources and non-heme from plant-based sources. Non-heme iron is less bioavailable but when paired with vitamin C, it is converted to a form that is more readily absorbed by the body. So, when consuming anything that contains iron, say kale in this smoothie, add some vitamin C to ensure you are absorbing all that good stuff.
You might be wondering if coconuts are our favorite food .. it’s pretty high up there! Coconut nectar is derived from the sap that seeps out of the coconut 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.
Added in small quantities, mint contributes a refreshing flavor and aids in digestion. Mint has long been known for its function in reducing nausea, indigestion and gas. The Mojo Rising includes spearmint, which compared to peppermint contains less menthol and is slightly sweeter.
With these 90+ degree days lingering around, it can be challenging to stay hydrated. Enter, nature’s form of Gatorade: coconut water. During long periods of intense exercise or sickness that causes dehydration, our bodies utilize mineral stores that require repletion. These minerals include sodium, potassium and calcium, all of which are critical for homeostasis. Coconut water offers electrolyte balancing by providing these minerals in every ounce. We love coconut water for the subtle sweetness and refreshing quality it brings to smoothies.
Day in and day out, we are constantly making homemade cashew mylk. Cashew mylk adds creaminess, sweetness and flavor to any smoothie or hot tonic. Beyond flavor and texture, cashews are nutritionally important. In general, nuts are one of the richest sources of plant-based fats, after vegetable oils. Cashews are nutrient dense, fiber rich and filled with healthy unsaturated fats. They also contain vitamins, such as folate and minerals, such as selenium and magnesium.
Vanilla-infused Salt & Jalapeno
A depth of flavor is added by both the vanilla-infused salt & jalapeno. Salt is one of the basic tastes. When added to food, it can balance out the other tastes, such as sweetness, bitterness or sourness. Salt can affect texture, flavor and aromatics. We add a touch of vanilla-infused salt to round out the flavors of this luscious smoothie.
Along with salt in a smoothie, you might be inclined to pass on the jalapeno. In this smoothie, the jalapeno adds depth of flavor. The heat is concentrated in the membrane and seeds, which we remove before it makes its way into your smoothie.
Well, there you have it! We’ll see you next month for our feature on the Matcha Made in Heaven. But before we get to the matcha madness, we will be posting a buying guide for our wellness shots! We are often asked for recommendations for our wellness shots when it comes to digestion, inflammation, energy, immunity and much more. So over the course of a few blog posts, we will be discussing each category and listing applicable wellness shots.
Send us an email if there is anything you’d like to see more of! Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Good Health,
With gratitude, we get by with a little help from our friends …
Mojo Rising - Carmen Fowler
Pineapple - NBC News
Avocado - Food52
Limes - The Daily Beast
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.