I’m excited to share a delicious new addition to my smoothie menu, the Purple Power Smoothie!
The deep colourful pigments in fruits and vegetables contain different flavonoids, which are all super healthy and each have their own unique health benefits. Purple just happens to be one of my favourite colours, and it contains a flavonoid called anthocyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Free Radicals and Antioxidants Explained
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about antioxidants, maybe so much that the word has started to lose it’s meaning. But do you really know what antioxidants are and how they work? I hope I don’t get too sciency here, but I’d like to give you a better understanding.
Remember back in chemistry class when you learned about atoms with their protons and electrons?
Basically, an atom is stable when it has a full number of electrons in it’s outer shell. And these electrons are always in pairs. If unpaired, or with an incomplete outer shell, it will try to become stable by either bonding with another atom to share electrons to complete it’s outer shell, or to gain or lose an electron to become more stable. A free radical is an atom with an unpaired electron in it’s outer shell. This can be caused by all kinds of things, from normal metabolic functions, to pollution, stress, cigarette smoke, radiation and chemicals and preservatives in processed foods.
Some amount of free radicals is normal, but when it starts to become out of control, these free radicals try to steal electrons from other nearby atoms. This can cause a snowball effect and lead to damage to neighbouring cells if not enough antioxidants are available. Free radicals can react with DNA and our cell membranes to cause poorly functioning cells that can cause all kinds of problems from inflammation, premature aging, and even cancer.
This is where antioxidants come into play. Antioxidants can be vitamins, such as Vitamin A, C and E, minerals, like selenium and zinc, and phytonutrients found in plants, including our friendly purple anthocyanins! Plants are rich in phytonutrients in order to protect them from environmental stresses, like pollution, toxins and ultra-violet light. So it only makes sense that when humans consume these phytonutrient rich plans, they offer us protection as well. These antioxidants are able to donate an electron without becoming free radicals themselves, because they are stable in either form.
That’s about as sciency as I’ll get for now. So onto the purple power smoothie ingredients and benefits!
Blueberries are ranked among the highest fruits in antioxidant activity. they’re rich in vitamin C and E. They’re also great for brain health, by protecting the brain from oxidative stress, and can help improve learning capacity.
Yes, they are also antioxidant powerhouses, and they help lower blood pressure and reduce atherosclerosis. Pomegranate season is just ending now in Ontario, but when you can get them, these beautiful little jewels are a great addition to smoothies, or toss into your morning breakfast detox cereal.
If pomegranates aren’t available, purple seedless grapes are an awesome substitute.
I can’t get enough of kale, which, in keeping with the theme of this post, is high in antioxidants, super nutrient dense, high in vitamin C and can help reduce cholesterol.
Yes, I realize it’s not purple, but they are surprisingly high in anthocyanin, and make a nice rich base for this smoothie.
Purple Corn Powder (optional)
I bought some purple corn powder at a heath show a while ago, and it inspired me to create the purple power smoothie, but this is totally optional! So if you can’t find any, don’t worry and make this smoothie without it! It’s pretty awesome though, and is crazy high in antioxidants, and promotes collagen for young and healthy skin.
Acai Powder (optional)
This is another superfood powder that is totally optional! It’s easier to find than purple corn powder, and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say this by now, but it’s also very high in antioxidants. It’s a healthy source of omega fatty acids, a great source of fibre, and helps promote detoxification.
Always remember that my recipes are meant to be guidelines. If you can’t find purple corn powder, or don’t want to spend 25 bucks on acai powder, don’t worry! Make the smoothie anyways and it will still be awesome! If pomegranates aren’t in season, use purple seedless grapes. Or even green grapes would be great. The point is, don’t let following the recipe exactly (or any rules for that matter) stop you from trying it out with whatever you have on hand. Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress and take this recipe as a guide and get creative.
Purple Power Smoothie Recipe
- 2-3 cups filtered water or almond milk
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 tbsp purple corn powder or acai powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp vegan protein powder – I used Vega Vanilla Protein and Greens
Add all ingredients to a high powered blender, blend and enjoy!
I’d love to hear your feedback and questions in the comments below.
Lots of love and gratitude,
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