Over the past four years, there’s one trend we’ve noticed: the popularity of the Funky Monkey. Year after year, it is our top selling smoothie. It is kid tested, mother approved and down right, delicious. Whether you go with strawberries, blueberries or a little bit of both, you cannot go wrong with some funk in your life!
The remaining Smoothie Spotlight Series feature bananas. From time to time, we’ll include a refresher of the health benefits of bananas.
If asked about the benefits of bananas, one might say it’s a good source of potassium; good for muscle cramps. And they are absolutely right! In fact, a banana a day would provide you with nearly a quarter of your daily value for potassium. Bananas are rich sources of vitamin A, B, C and D, which aid in healthy immune function, bone and tissue growth, and the absorption of calcium.
Not only are bananas nutrient dense, they are an excellent support food for digestive health. Banana’s non-digestible fibers help normalize the colon’s function (read: healthy bowel activity). Better yet, bananas contain prebiotics, food for the healthy bacteria in our gut. So aside from making your smoothie creamy and delicious, you are helping your second brain, your gut!
In Sonoma County, juicy, ripe berries signal summer’s arrival. The Nectary rejoices with our creamy, delicious Strawberry Nectar, that tastes exactly like the strawberry milk many of us remember as kids. Thanks to modern technology and freezers, we celebrate the bounty of berries all year round with our beloved Funky Monkey.
Berries’ nutrient density is just as sweet as their flavor. One cup of blueberries contains roughly 25% of the RDA for vitamin C, over 30% of the RDA for vitamin K, and in smaller quantities, manganese, vitamin E, B vitamins and copper. While copper does not receive the same attention as vitamin C, copper has an essential role in the body. In order for iron to be transported within the body, the preceding reactions require copper. So, a deficiency in copper not only affects copper status, but prevents efficient iron transportation. One cup of blueberries also contains 4 grams of fiber, which accounts for nearly 20% of the RDA. If we take a look at one cup of strawberries, we will find similar statistics. One cup of strawberries contains 3 grams of fiber, nearly 150% of the RDA for vitamin C, roughly 30% of the RDA for manganese, 9% of the RDA for folate and 7% of the RDA for potassium. Compared to other fruits, strawberries and blueberries contain less sugar, classifying them as a low glycemic fruit.
Most notably, berries are known for their antioxidant and phytonutrient richness. In research studies, strawberries and blueberries have provided benefits for cardiovascular heath, anticancer effects, anti-inflammation, and digestive health. Strawberries, in particular, have been shown to decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. In regard to digestive health, berries contain fiber, which aid in keeping us fuller, longer and our digestive system moving. Berries’ low glycemic index provide stable energy through blood sugar regulation.
Cha, cha, cha, chia! Before chia seeds stepped into the superfood spotlight, they were once known for their ability to grow hair on your favorite public figure. Thankfully, we can honor chia seeds for their real benefits.
Chia seeds originated in Central and South America. Interestingly, chia seeds come from a plant in the mint family, known as Salvia hispanica L. For many years, chia seeds were a staple in the Mexican and Guatemalan diets. Today, their popularity appeals to individuals with dietary restrictions. Chia seeds are a great alternative to nuts for those with nut allergies and can be made into an egg substitute for those who are vegan or have an egg allergy.
Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 10 grams of fiber, which accounts for roughly 30% of the daily recommendation. If there’s one thing to remember about fiber, it’s fiber = full. In the Standard American Diet, the ratio of omega 6s to omega 3 is 7:1 and up, which radically differs from the recommendation of 4:1. Foods rich in omega 3s, like chia seeds, help correct the imbalance. Recent studies show a correlation between chia seed consumption and cardiovascular health. According to the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, rats who consumed chia seeds experienced reductions in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides as well as increases in HDL cholesterol. While human clinical trials resulted in similar findings, the research is still in its infancy and requires more trials to be performed.
Grown on the date palm tree, date production thrives in dry, sandy conditions, typically in the Middle East. The two most common varieties are Deglet and Medjool. At the Nectary, we use deglet dates for our smoothies and vegan desserts.
We can all agree upon the richness and sweetness of a date. Stuffed with raw almond butter and you’ve got yourself the perfect after dinner treat. Sugar isn’t the only thing dates are boosting. Dates contain an abundance of amino acids, carbohydrates, B vitamins and to a lesser extent, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese.
Dates contain various classes of phytochemicals, including flavonoids, carotenoids, polyphenols, phytoestrogens and sterols. Phytochemicals are biologically active compounds found in plants. In research studies, these compounds have shown positive benefits on cardiovascular health, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, digestive health (relieves constipation) and neuroprotective health, to name a few.
In 2011, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published an article on the potential relationship between date consumption and labor and delivery. Basically, the study was divided into two groups: Group 1 consumed 6 dates for 4 weeks prior to their delivery date and Group 2 did not consume any. At the end of the study, patients in group 1 experienced improved cervical dilation, less damage to membranes and shorter labor. The researcher identified the positive benefits and concluded that in a randomized controlled trial was necessary to firm their hypothesis and findings.
Almond Mylk & Raw Almond Butter
If you’ve been keeping up with our blogs, you’ll notice a theme among our ingredients: nutrient density. Almonds are no stranger to this category. Almonds contain unsaturated fats, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They are rich in protein and fiber, and naturally contain no sugar.
The Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that one serving of nuts per day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. These magnesium rich nuts can help to decrease blood pressure and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. While you keep your heart healthy, you can also keep your belly happy. The rich fiber content helps to keep you fuller, longer. The fiber also provides prebiotics, food for the healthy bacteria in your gut. Keeping your gut bacteria happy and in balance leads to overall healthy digestive functions. We choose to use raw almond butter and almonds for a couple reasons: 1. Raw almonds are in their natural form and we prefer to use unprocessed, true to the source ingredients. 2. Raw almonds maintain all the beneficial nutrients that would otherwise be diminished with the roasting process. Food is medicine in action right there!
Now to add the icing on the cake … almonds are the perfect example of reduce, reuse and recycle. Our juicers make almond mylk fresh, each day. Once they have pressed the mylk from the pulp, the pulp is transferred to our kitchen. In the kitchen, the chefs dehydrate the almond pulp and utilize it in our food.
And that’s a wrap on today’s Smoothie Spotlight. We hope you’ve been enlightened and worked up an appetite for your take on the Funky Monkey!
In Good Health,
With gratitude, we get by with a little help from our friends ..