October 24, 2014

Personal Best: Celebrate Good Health on July 4 with a Red, White & Blue Smoothie

 

In honor of the Fourth of July, here’s a healthy and delicious way to start your day and celebrate the founding of our country. It’s a naturally sweet and frosty Red, White and Blueberry smoothie.

Rich in antioxidants, this smoothie is the perfect blend for pre- and post-workout nourishment. And thanks to the year-round abundance of berries, this also makes a great after-school snack for the kids.

Making your own smoothies at home is cost saving and calorie saving. The big chain juice bar smoothies contain a lot of added sugar that this recipe eliminates by only using fresh fruit and juice. This recipe does not add the sherbet or frozen yogurt that the juice bars use in most of their smoothies.

To get that great consistency, I recently invested in a Vita-mix blender and I have to say that I love it. It makes perfect smoothies, as well as soups and sauces in a jiffy. If that’s out of your budget, a regular blender is fine, it may just be a bit icier in its consistency.

Now onto the health benefits!

• Blueberries contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of all foods plus Vitamins A, B Complex, C, E, and trace minerals such as iron and copper. This super food boosts the immune system, reduces belly fat, aids in digestion, preserves vision and helps brain function, to name a few.

• Cherry juice contains a very high concentration of several antioxidants including melatonin, good for regulating sleep patterns and brain health, and quercetin, a natural anti-inflammatory. Consider drinking 12 oz. of cherry juice daily, instead of popping ibuprofen for post-workout aches and pains.

• Bananas are rich in potassium which helps reduce muscle cramps, rid fluid retention and regulate blood pressure. Plus they’re a great source of Vitamin B6 and carbohydrate for quick and enduring energy.

Red, White and Blueberry Smoothie (Vegan)

2 cups ice

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen berries use less ice)

1 medium banana

8 oz. tart or black cherry juice (available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and most supermarkets )

Pour contents into a Vita-mix or regular blender. Blend until smooth.

Pour into tall glasses and enjoy! This is fitness food at its best!

Mix it up with fresh cherries and blueberry juice, raspberries and strawberries, too. The combinations are as endless as your imagination.

For a bit of a protein punch, add 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt, either regular or soy for vegans and the lactose intolerant, to the mix.

Please remember to drive safely wherever your holiday plans take you.

Deborah Brooks is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Fitness Instructor through UCLA. She is the co-owner of edgeworX sport-fitness, a company founded on the belief that there is an athlete in all of us. Deborah is also an International Adult Figure Skating Gold Medalist.