Life in quarantine has me experimenting with a lot of new recipes. Like many of us, I tend to get into the habit of eating the same fruits and vegetables everyday, but lately I’m seeking variety to help boost my immunity. Not to mention, I’ve noticed that my skin is looking a bit lack-luster, so I decided to play around and see if I could concoct a smoothie with the perfect combination of immune- and skin- healing ingredients.
With much luck and determination, I found a formula that checks all our health boxes and tastes like a dream in a glass. The ingredients in my new green smoothie will make you feel — and look — amazing. Just about every ingredient in this nutritious smoothie has immune-boosting properties, but I have to admit the best part is the taste. Trust me, you’ll want to make it a part of your daily quarantine regiment, too.
I begin with a base of what ever non-dairy milk is in my fridge (usually unsweetened almond milk) and a scoop of protein powder. I use Garden of Life Sport Plant-Based Protein Powder in Vanilla ($38.60, Amazon), but you can use whatever you have on hand, though I recommend choosing vanilla or unflavored varieties.
The first ingredient in this smoothie is aloe vera juice. Aloe vera is an extremely water-dense food that helps your body stay hydrated. It also increases water in the intestines and helps prevent constipation. Overall, it’s said that aloe is a gut-healing superfood, since it can regulate digestion and may also help regulate the bacterial environment in your gut. But that’s not the only exciting thing about aloe — it also boasts some pretty impressive beauty benefits.
Having aloe in your diet can help clear your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a number of reasons. First, it’s full of age-fighting antioxidants that prevent damage to skin cells and encourage cell renewal. One study found that aloe even increased the synthesis of collagen. Certain compounds in aloe have also been shown to repair your skin from UV (ultraviolet) damage. Second, as a water-rich food, aloe keeps skin hydrated so that it’s less prone to creasing and wrinkling.
Varieties of aloe juice sold in the grocery store typically contain added ingredients and sugars, but you can find pure aloe juice at your local pharmacy in the supplements section or online. Try this one from Lili of the Desert ($29.99, Amazon).
The second ingredient in my green smoothie is celery. Celery is one of those vegetables that you can add to a smoothie without noticing it’s in there. It’s got a mild taste but packs a powerful nutritional punch. One stalk of celery gives you vitamins A, K, and C, plus minerals like potassium and folate. Celery is yet another digestive aid, and it contains compounds that decrease inflammation!
And of course, no smoothie would be complete without a leafy green. I just grab whatever I have in the fridge, whether it’s spinach, kale, or beet greens. Leafy greens are loaded with polyphenols that boost your immunity, so I throw about a cup to two cups into my smoothie.
If you’re on top of the buzz around healthy fats, my next ingredients won’t surprise you. I add a healthy dose of fats to my smoothie with either ¼ of an avocado or one tablespoon of coconut oil. Both of these ingredients thicken it up just a little bit while adding creaminess. The fats in these add-ins provide all day energy and help stave off blood sugar spikes!
And finally, we have the fruit: I add half of a banana and half of a medium-sized apple. The fruits add sweetness along with extra potassium and fiber. Specifically, apples contain compounds that help protect the lungs — something we all should be paying attention to during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6 and can improve the function of your immune and nervous systems. Here’s the full recipe for my skin and immune boosting smoothie!
- 8 ounces unsweetened non-dairy milk like almond milk
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 2 ounces unsweetened aloe vera juice
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 to 2 cups leafy greens like spinach
- ¼ avocado OR 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ banana
- ½ apple
- ½ cup ice (if desired)
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.