Citrus Flax Green Smoothie

This weekend I returned home from a two week vacation in the Southwest.  I did some amazing hiking, met some awesome people, and of course indulged in some incredible vegan food.  The first thing I scope out when planning a vacation is always the food scene.  Food plays a big role in my vacations, in fact sometimes I even find a cuisine or restaurant so enticing that it alter’s the course of my destination altogether!

While out west I spent two weeks in the glorious states of Utah and Arizona, feasting on ice cream, candy, treats, wine, and junk foods like mac and cheeze.  Oh and let’s not forget the soy lattes that were almost a daily occurrence  By the end of the trip my body was crying out for a break from the caffeine and sugar roller coaster, so I always look forward to detoxing a bit once I’m home.  In fact I’ve been craving fresh juices so I may even end up purchasing a juicer this week.  If you have a recommendation for one, please leave a comment below!

This smoothie was inspired by one of my favorite fruits for the Fall/Winter season: the clementine.  I picked up a big back of the cutest clementines this past weekend at my local Produce Junction, 30 for only $2! I was like a kid in a candy store.  Oftentimes thought of as an orange, the clementine is actually a cross between a Chinese mandarin and an orange, and are packed full of nutritional benefits. They are smaller than an orange and have a much thinner flesh that is a deeper orange color. They make a great snack, and kids absolutely love them!

These little super-foods aren’t just for kids though, and are packed full of benefits that even adults will appreciate.  Here are 7 health benefits you may not have known about these awesome little fruits:

  1. Low Sugar: One of the biggest #benefits of clementines is they are a low carbohydrate fruit, meaning they won’t spike your glycemic index. They have roughly 2 grams of fiber and only 8 total carbs per fruit. This makes them excellent to eat as a low glycemic snack, or you can even add them to your breakfast as a healthy low sugar fruit. They’re also delicious in a smoothie!
  2. Potassium: Like most fruit, clementines are high in potassium. They contain roughly 130 miligrams of potassium per serving. Potassium is essential for healthy blood pressure, healthy joints, for your arteries, and it helps battle bloating. It’s also wonderful for preventing headaches, aiding digestion, and for alleviating inflammation. Potassium and sodium are crucial to your body to help balance body fluids and prevent muscle cramps. Being sure you get enough of both from healthy sources will help keep your #body in tip top shape!
  3. Low Calorie: Per fruit, clementines are only 35 #calories, which is incredible for a source of concentrated sugar like fruit. They’re fat free like almost all fruits, and they’re rich in antioxidants. Even if you don’t eat a low calorie diet, it’s important to include low calorie fruits and vegetables into your day for vitamin, antioxidant, and mineral content.
  4. Calcium: Though clementines aren’t a top source of calcium, they do contain 22 milligrams. Calcium is another essential mineral to help lower your blood pressure and calm your nerves. It also helps build healthy bones as most of you know, and it can even help quell chronic anxiety when eaten regularly. Try to get your calcium from plant-based foods when possible, such as clementines. Other sources include almonds, #chia seeds, and leafy greens.
  5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is found in rich amounts throughout all the citrus fruits, and clementines are a great source. Per fruit, clementines have 36 milligrams. Vitamin C is essential to your skin, hair, and #weight, along with your immune system. It’s also one of the best vitamins you can consume for your digestive tract, which many #people don’t know. Vitamin C can help regulate your bowels, along with enhance nutrient absorption from other foods. Be sure to get your Vitamin C through foods, and not tablets, which are made of chemical versions of Vitamin C and can prevent nutrient absorption from other foods. Berries, cherries, pineapple, all citrus fruits, strawberries, and leafy greens are your best plant-based sources.
  6. Beta-Carotene: Clementines also contain beta-carotene, as all orange colored pieces of produce do. Beta-carotene is a form of Vitamin A that is wonderful for your #eyes, skin, and heart. It’s one of the most beneficial antioxidants you can consume, and rich in most all plant-based foods, but more so in orange and yellow hued produce. My favorite sources outside of clementines include papaya, winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and oranges. Having a clementine or orange per day can help you reach your daily Vitamin A in a delicious healthy way.
  7. Versatile: One benefit of clementines is they’re incredibly versatile in the kitchen. You can add one chopped to hot oatmeal or cold overnight oats with a few nuts or flaxseeds. Another great option is to have one with with some yogurt and nuts or seeds, or slice one up with some apple slices for a fun, light snack. For a fun meal option, you could even serve them over brown rice or quinoa at dinner for an Asian style meal. Other ways to include using them into your day include smoothies or shakes, juicing with them, or having them over a salad. They’re a very versatile fruit that’s delicious to enjoy throughout winter. Sadly, they are only available in winter, so enjoy them while you can!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 5 small clementines or 2 medium ones
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseeds
  • 1 cup cold water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to high speed blender and blend until completely emulsified.