Berries, Beets, and Citrus, Oh My!
This delicious and supremely nutritious recipe is not my own creation, rather the brainchild of fellow smoothie master, Niko. She sent me this recipe a couple of months ago, but I held off on making it until I could procure beets locally. That happened last weekend at the farmer’s market and this beautiful smoothie is the result.
The nutritional powers of berries and citrus are relatively well known. Beets, not as much. Coincidentally, I just finished reading a fantastic book that I highly recommend, Eating On The Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson. The chapter on beets really opened my eyes and has convinced me to start consuming these nutritional powerhouses more often.
Beets are one of the healthiest commonly eaten veggies and one of the highest in antioxidant properties. The leaves are especially rich in antioxidants. They have 9 times more antioxidant activity than your average tomato and 50 times more than orange carrots. Beets are a great source of fiber, folate, and potassium. They derive their red color from phytonutrients known as betalains, which protect against many common cancers. Their nutrient profile supports a healthy digestive tract and cardiovascular system. Beets have a low impact on your blood sugar despite their sweet taste.
That’s pretty impressive, but what really intrigued me was the boost in athletic performance beets can provide. Nitrite in beets can reduce your blood pressure, increasing blood flow to muscles, and reduce the amount of oxygen required by your muscles during exercise. The result, being able to exercise longer and expend less energy. British athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics put this to the test by consuming beet juice instead of Gatorade before events. Mohamed (Mo) Farah won the men’s 5 and 10 kilometer races.
Quick plug for Eating On The Wild Side. The premise of the book is that we’ve bred varying amounts of nutrition (and medicine) out of much of our fruits and vegetables through agriculture and farming. The good news is, there are still plenty of varieties loaded with nutrition not too far from their wild progenitor. In a nutshell, choose locally grown, organic, heirloom produce with the darkest color. Darker color equals more nutrition the majority of the time. Purple carrots for example are superior nutritionally compared to orange, and darker berries are more nutritious than lighter berries. The book is a fun, informative read, and a good reference for what varieties of produce to select, how to store, and hot to cook to preserve and enhance the nutrition.
I prefer beets cooked and usually roast them in a fat such as coconut oil, tallow, or lard. Chopped or grated raw beets are a nice addition to salads. This recipe calls for cooked beets, but go ahead and use raw if you’d like.
This smoothie was a little “seedy” from the blackberries and raspberries. I usually chew my smoothies, but opted to drink most of this down to avoid getting too many seeds stuck in my teeth. Enjoy!
Berry Beet Citrus Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup beet greens
- 1/2 cup cooked beets
- 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/2 medium lemon, peeled and deseeded
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 inch ginger, peeled and minced or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/2 medium orange, peeled
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds, chia seeds, or chia seed gel
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (full fat preferred)
Place all the ingredients into your high-speed blender and blend for around 30-45 seconds or until nice and smooth. If you don’t have a very powerful blender and your coconut oil is in liquid form, you might want to blend everything except the coconut oil first, then drizzle it on and blend for another 5-10 seconds to avoid clumping.
- Calories: 280
- Fat: 15g
- Protein: 4g
- Carbohydrates: 38g
- Fiber: 15g
- Sugar: 21g
- Vitamin A: 5% RDA
- Vitamin C: 86% RDA
- Vitamin K: 126% RDA
- Calcium: 10% RDA
- Iron: 15% RDA
Niko and I would love to know if you try this berry beet citrus smoothie – please leave a comment below. Happy Blending!