It’s been a while since I last wrote a post. I can put this down to having two small, very energetic boys to look after along with moving to a new part of the country. But I’ve also felt a bit uninspired and lacking in the mental energy needed for these things. Now my bigger boy is at school and my little one has a solid nap in the day I have a window of time! This has coincided with coming across a smoothie that is so good (and apt for this time of year) I felt obliged to share it. Sadly this amazing drink is not my creation but that of a very radiant-looking couple I met at my sister’s birthday party. They both swore a daily intake of this drink kept them healthy and devoid of illness last winter. It’s simple yet different from anything that I’ve seen before and incorporates a trio of immune fortifying ingredients: turmeric, ginger and lemon. The other plus is that it is extremely quick and easy to make and tastes lovely.
- 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric or 1 small knob of fresh turmeric.
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced.
- Juice from half a lemon.
- Small handful of fresh spinach.
- Pinch of ground pepper.
- 1 cup of apple juice, not from concentrate (can be diluted with water to reduce the sugar content).
Blend all the ingredients together. Serve at room temperature. This is important during the colder months. I wouldn’t recommend any chilled drinks at all when the weather starts to cool down. If, at room temperature, this smoothie is still too cold for your liking you can also warm the apple juice before adding to the mix. I think it’s also important to highlight that this is a nutritional drink, rather then a meal replacement. Since it’s lacking in the fat, protein and fibre needed to keep blood sugar levels stable and energy levels balanced. I tend to have this a little after my breakfast (which does contain all of the above food groups).
Turmeric – This is the perfect spice to see you through the cold, damp months of winter. Warming and sweet it’s active ingredient, curcumin, offers a powerful array of health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties. Known as the “healing spice” it has been used in wound healing, dealing with flu, sore throats and digestive issues.
Ginger – Spicy and warming, this has long been used to relieve digestive distress (calms and helps to relieve wind and spams). Coming from the same plant family as turmeric it also has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, which makes it an excellent support for the immune system.
Lemon – An ingredient that many of us will use in drinks when we’re suffering from colds and coughs and for good reason. It contains a batch of immune fortifying nutrients including vitamin C, flavonoids, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Like ginger and turmeric this is also good for digestion, which in turn helps to promote a healthy immune system.
Pepper – This may seem a curious ingredient but it is important in a variety of ways. The main one is that it enhances the bioavailability of turmeric. It’s understood that, once ingested, most of the curcumin in turmeric gets metabolized before it can be absorbed in the body. Studies have shown that the active ingredient in pepper helps to increase absorption. In addition it also has a range of nutrients (manganese, copper, magnesium and vitamin C) that support immune and digestive function.
Apple juice – Aim to get the best quality juice you can. If this means you’re juicing it yourself, that’s great (for me that’s a step too far at the moment). I tend to get the best fresh option at the supermarket. Avoid from concentrate. This is the ingredient that is the game changer for many. The sweetness masks the spinach and enhances all the flavours. Without it my husband wouldn’t go near it. While apples do have some fantastic nutrients, quercetin, vitamin c and potassium, the juice is high in fruit sugars. If this is an issue for you then reduce the juice content and add some water instead (or a vegetable-based juice). I think the benefits of the smoothie outweigh the sugar content. To ensure blood sugar levels are balanced I would recommend drinking this after a breakfast containing fibre, fat and protein (as mentioned above).
Spinach – A nutrient dense green leafy vegetable that is an excellent plant source of vitamin K, A, magnesium, zinc as well as a whole host of other micronutrients that support your immune health.
I tend to prepare as much of this in the evening as possible since I have very little time in the morning to pfaff around with peeling ginger and dealing with turmeric powder. I add ginger chunks, the turmeric, spinach, lemon juice and pepper to my nutribullet beaker and store in the fridge. Meaning I just need to add the apple juice and blend in the morning.
I hope you enjoy this smoothie as much as I do and it helps to propel you through winter with more vitality and less illness.