Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we never manage to hit the holy grail of five daily portions of fruit and veg. One way to reach that target is through quick and easy smoothies. Here are just a few of the colourful fruit and veg you can whizz up, and why…
Originally from Persia (modern day Iran), pomegranates are arguably the best possible fruit to a put into a smoothie if you’re looking for a healthy boost. Not only does the juice of the seeds taste good, it’s packed with more antioxidants than any other fruit, has been proven to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and it boosts the immune system. It also contains compounds that produce serotonin, the happy hormone – perfect if you need a lift after the long winter.
Also believed to have originated in Persia, spinach is super-rich in iron, which is crucial for replenishing energy supplies and for improving the quality of the blood through enabling crucial red blood cells to function properly and transport oxygen effectively around the body. Spinach also contains large amounts of critical minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin K, which can be hard to obtain naturally in sufficient doses and is essential to keep bones healthy.
Our yellow friends contain three natural sugars – fructose, sucrose and glucose – and they combine to make bananas one of the best fruits for quick-release energy before a bike ride. The high levels of potassium also protect against cardiovascular disease and can help to reduce blood pressure; the high ratio of potassium to sodium gives it a particular advantage here against other fruits.
It’s easy to see why the humble beetroot has recently become the vegetable du jour for nutritionists. In addition to being packed full of vitamins and minerals, beetroot’s trump card is its nitrates, which produce nitric oxide in the blood. This widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, and in some studies it has also been found to have a positive effect on an athlete’s VO2 max, meaning less energy is required to produce the same results. Don’t discard the leaves either – they have similar properties to spinach.
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