Welcome back to another Smoothie Spotlight. For all you matcha lovers, you will surely enjoy this post. This week we are featuring the Matcha Made in Heaven. This superfood smoothie packs an antioxidant rich punch, thanks to strawberries, goji berries, matcha and pumpkin seeds. Read on to learn more about each ingredient!
Matcha Made in Heaven: Strawberries, banana, coconut butter,
matcha, goji berries, ginger, honey, EPIC green protein powder,
citrus essence, pumpkin seed mylk
We just cannot get enough of the luscious strawberries. Fortunately, our friends at Live Oak bring us a fresh delivery every week so we can incorporate these nutritious fruits into our summer seasonal favorites.
Strawberries are often praised for their high vitamin C content, and rightfully so! One cup of strawberries contains nearly 150% of the RDA for vitamin C. While oranges are great immune boosters, don’t forget about strawberries as a preventative measure for colds. Vitamin C plays a role in cold prevention and treatment by increasing the activity of immune cells that fight off infection or provide immune support. Studies have shown that regular consumption of vitamin C can reduce the incidence of colds by 50%. Moral of the story, ensure you are regularly intaking vitamin C rather than waiting until you are half way through a box of tissues to up the ante.
Today, we’re going to approach bananas with yet another nutrient angle: fiber. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and seeds. Basically, all plant foods contain fiber. It can be classified based on its solubility, ability to hold water, ability to form gels or fermentability in the body. Fiber has been examined for its health benefits in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, appetite regulation and gastrointestinal distress. Evidence continues to build for the relationship between increased fruit and vegetable intake and decreased risk for heart attack and stroke. Fiber aids in cholesterol absorption and bile reabsorption. Gel-like fibers can bind to cholesterol, increasing their rate of excretion thus balancing total cholesterol levels. Diets rich in fiber also show decreased blood pressure readings. Fiber is just as important in heart health as it is in digestive health!
Many of our smoothies contain coconut butter, including the Queen Bee, 808, Mojo Rising and now the Matcha Made in Heaven. Coconut butter adds a creamy, thick texture, thanks to its high fat content. In previous posts, we’ve touched on the benefits of fat, whether its quick energy from MCTs that don’t require digestion or the essential nature of fat for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. These benefits deem coconut butter a nutrient dense superfood. And we aren’t ashamed to admit we often eat it by the spoonful!
One of our very first blog posts discussed the history and benefits of matcha. Matcha’s history is rooted in Zen Buddhism. It was an integral component of tea ceremonies and meditation, where it was believed to provide a state of alertness and calmness.
Matcha’s benefits stem from the growing process. The leaves are shaded from sunlight, which increases the chlorophyll and amino acid content. One particular amino acid, L-Theanine, functions to balance caffeine intake, creating a calm state without drowsiness. L-Theanine also stimulates brain activity, increasing focus and concentration. Research has shown that matcha contains the highest concentration of antioxidants, which are protective and anti-inflammatory. One antioxidant, catechin, has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are native to Asia, specifically the Chinese region of Ningxia Hui. Today they are commercially grown in various parts of China, Taiwan and Japan.
Goji berries’ nutritional resume certainly deems them a superfood. Goji berries contain amino acids, fiber, unsaturated fats, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B2, calcium, zinc, selenium, iron and potassium. They also contain highly bioactive phenols, polysaccharides and phytochemicals.
Traditionally, goji berries were incorporated into Chinese Medicine as a cancer treatment. Current research confirms the immunostimulatory effects of goji berries on cancer cell activity. The antioxidant content provides free radical scavenging effects, which aid in reducing inflammation and disease risk factors. While goji berries contain high levels of antioxidants, a staggering amount of research focuses on its polysaccharide content. This research looks at how polysaccharide fraction affects blood glucose levels and total cholesterol. So far, the research looks promising.
Ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae family and its relatives include turmeric and cardamom. It is a flowering, perennial plant whose roots are utilized for their culinary and therapeutic benefits.
In many cuisines, ginger is used for its spicy-slightly sweet flavor and pungent aromatics. It’s quite versatile too – from a pickled accompaniment in sushi to a staple spice in savory dishes to the main ingredient in traditional gingerbread. In the culinary realm, ginger complements cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, mustard seed, parsley, turmeric and vanilla, to name a few.
The diversity continues with ginger’s therapeutic benefits. Ginger is often used to alleviate digestive discomfort from bloating and nausea as well as stimulate digestion. It provides immune support through the heating up effect. Internal heat can translate to external sweat, providing detoxification through the skin. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory agent.
While honey is used as a sweetener, it brings some powerful benefits to the table. Local honey provides immune stimulating properties, that are helpful for seasonal changes and simply adapting to the environment. Honey can be soothing for a sore throat or calming for morning sickness. It also contains anti-microbial properties due to its low water content.
EPIC Green Protein Powder
The ingredients in our protein powders are just as important as the ingredients in our smoothies. They’ve got to be nutrient dense, superfood containing blends or else we cannot stand behind them. Fortunately, we hit the jackpot with Sprout Living’s Epic Protein Powder. In the Matcha Made in Heaven, we use their Green Kingdom blend. The standard EPIC blend is made up of yellow pea, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, sacha inchi and cranberry seed. Then they amp up the plant-based power with the Green Kingdom blend: red banana, lucuma, oat grass, chlorella, spirulina, kale, moringa, and spinach.
This protein blend supplies ample protein, vitamins A, K, B and C. It contains a complete amino acid profile and is, of course, completely plant based!
A touch of citrus bliss not only adds flavor but provides cleansing properties. doTerra’s Citrus Bliss is a combination of wild orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, tangerine, clementine and a hint of vanilla. This blend can help reduce stress, uplift mood and increase energy.
Pumpkin Seed Mylk
Have you ever tried pumpkin seed mylk? Sprouted, raw pumpkin seeds are blended with filtered water and a touch of yacon, mesquite, vanilla extract and salt. This mylk is the perfect complement for any of our green smoothies and an excellent alternative for someone steering clear of nut mylk.
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.
What smoothie would you like to see featured next month? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Good Health,
With gratitude, we get by with a little help from our friends ..
Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. (2016). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism.(7th ed.).
Boston,MA: Cengage Learning.
Matcha Made in Heaven - Carmen Fowler
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.