So as you know from the blog here I’m a fan of Green Smoothies as a way to boost my fruit, vegetable, vitamin and mineral intake whilst ensuring I have something for breakfast to sustain me; I’ve been a nightmare for choosing extra time in bed over breakfast so this healthy on-the-go alternative works for me!
But a lot of the fun with smoothies is that it’s totally up to you to pick and mix ingredients to suit your nutrition requirements and to make your taste buds happy too! When looking at smoothie recipes for inspiration you will notice a variety of supplements and minerals that get added to give your smoothies an extra health kick – but what are they and what do they mean to you and your PCOS? Well let’s take a look at some of the popular extras:
Almonds: You’ve no doubt heard of the benefits of snacking on Almonds throughout the day, so it makes sense that including them in your smoothie recipes would be just as good for you! Rich in protein and minerals (including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper), they are also high in fibre which will make you feel satisfied and sustain you throughout the day. Almonds also have high levels of antioxidants as well as Vitamin B6 (which supports the immune system) and Vitamin E which helps the skin maintain elasticity and firmness.
Linseed: One of the richest sources of Omega 3 fatty acids and an important source of lignans which not only act as antioxidants but also help oestrogen levels – super helpful for our whacked out PCOS hormones! It is important to note that when looking at Linseeds, in order to get the multitude of benefits the seed shouldn’t be allowed to pass through the body whole. So when including these in your smoothies be sure to whizz them up and ground before being added to the blender mix.
Sesame Seeds: Another go-to snack and smoothie savior sesame seeds can give you 3g of protein, 2g of fibre and a quarter of your daily need for calcium and iron! So much in such little seeds… There is also high levels of copper – important in the anti-inflammatory system and two obscure ingredients called sesamin and sesamolin both of which are lignans (which will help as antioxidants and help oestrogen levels too).
Cashews: It’s all about those nuts and seeds – these yummy nuts are rich in iron (helpful for the circulation system) and zinc (key for supporting the immune system). Most of the fat in cashews is oleic acid, a heart healthy substance also found in olive oil. Cashews also have high levels of magnesium which aids digestion which can be useful if you experience any IBS type symptoms as part of your PCOS.
Hemp Seed: Called the “perfect” protein source hemp seeds contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals, and also contain all 20 amino acids as well as being rich in gamma linolenic acid an essential omega-6 fatty acid (which is important for hormone balance – JACKPOT!). With a high fibre content they are said to be appetite suppressants, which can help to make your smoothie nutritious and filling to sustain you throughout the day.
Another one of my favourite seeds to snack on, sunflower seeds are a noted source of Vitamin E (a key anti-oxidant which is important for combating free radicals and protecting cell membranes). They are also a good source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium and are rich in the B complex group of vitamins including folic acid which is vital for DNA synthesis and creating red blood cells. Check out the vitamin breakdowns here
and see how they can help…
Walnuts: Not just reserved for the top of Walnut Whips, these nuts are great additions to your smoothie recipes – Regular consumption of walnuts improves memory, powers of concentration and brain speed. As well as containing calcium, iron, zinc and Vitamin B6 they have high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids especially alpha-linolenic acid which is linked to both heart and brain health. They are also rich in anti-oxidants. What more could you ask for?
Chia Seeds: Confession time – I’ve become a Chia Seed convert, I love these little guys in my morning smoothies and they are just so good for you too! Just two tablespoons contain a third of your daily fibre requirement and 10 per cent of your protein requirement. They also have calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphoruous. They are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and contain tryptophan which modulates mood, sleep and appetite.
Pumpkin Seeds: Especially rich in mono-unsaturated fats which help reduce “bad” cholesterol and boost the “good” cholesterol. A source of high quality protein they also contain the amino acids tryptophan and glutamate (which combats stress). Rich in zinc – which aids hormone production and is good for hair, skin and nails. These seeds also make for a yummy mid-morning snack!
Macca Powder: Perfect for sprinkling into your smoothie it is known for boosting both energy and the libido. Its effect on hormone production is also said to impact the symptoms of the menopause and can be most helpful to the unbalanced hormones of PCOS cysters. It is also rich in amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, not to mention it adds a subtle yummy flavouring to your smoothies!