It’s only been a month since the New Year and you can already see your fitness motivation slowly reducing. The pledge to reduce sugar lies forgotten with the swanky workout gear you got for the new you. But even if you haven’t joined that Soul Cycle class or planned a new low-carb diet, you can still get on the health wagon by whizzing up a simple smoothie. They’re the easiest way to get your five-a-day, and you can even add essential fatty acids via nuts, fibre with oats, and protein with sprouted lentils. The trick with smoothies is not to look at it as a flavoursome beverage, but a health drink that will give you a million nutrients in a glass. While it all sounds easy enough, there is so much scope for mistakes. We got Munmun Ganeriwal, Mumbai-based nutritionist and fitness consultant, Yuktahaar, to talk us through the right way to blend your smoothie.
You’re drinking packaged smoothies
“Despite them being super simple to make, people still go for commercial smoothies that are jam packed with sugars.” While a home-made smoothie will fill you up with essential nutrients, packaged drinks have the opposite effect—they’ll make you put on instead of losing weight.
You’re skipping on actually eating fruits and vegetables
“The act of blending destroys 85-90 per cent of the nutrients because the ingredients get oxidised when the blender sucks in oxygen.” While smoothies are a great way to add more fruits and vegetables in your diet, think of them as a convenience. Swap a smoothie few days a week with whole fruits and vegetables so you can get complete nutrients from your food.
You’re loading up on sugar
“People are just blindly mixing fruit, and can consume four-five in one glass.” Ganeriwal explains that you shouldn’t overdo fruits because they contain fructose, which loads up the liver. “If you’re having too many, they increase triglycerides that in turn increase body fat.” Choose one or two fruits maximum, and let the rest be vegetables along with nuts and seeds.
You’re using the same ingredients all year round
“The simplest and most important rule of staying healthy is to eat seasonal and local produce.” So instead of blindly adding avocado and strawberries all year, find out what’s in season and add those fruits and vegetables. “This will help you cope with changes in the location and weather.”
You’re lacking on nutrition
“People usually think that once they drink a smoothie, their daily vegetable quota is done, however this could not be further from the truth.” She explains that when you cook vegetables, you break down the plant cell walls. “This is why traditionally we always cook our vegetables, because that releases more nutrients that are bound to cell walls.” She gives the example of raw spinach, which is immensely popular in smoothies. “The oxalic acid binds with calcium so it’s unavailable when raw, however cooking breaks down this bond so that calcium is available to you.”
You’re drinking too much protein
“First of all, everyone’s requirement of protein is different, depending on the age, health and workout style,” she says. “Therefore, the amount cannot be generalised and must only be taken in consultation with an expert.” She also recommends taking whey protein with water instead of mixing into smoothies because it’s better digested and assimilated by your body.
Vasudha Rai is a certified yoga teacher and has been writing on beauty, health and wellness for 15 years. Find her at Vbeauty.co
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