Healthy Gut Smoothie

A nutrient-rich soothing smoothie that is is helpful in healing an unhappy digestive as well as promoting a healthy gut.

Raise your hand if you ever feel like your guts are in shambles? Sometimes? Only the morning after an epic night of drinking like a sailor? The majority of the time? On the daily?
Healthy Gut Smoothie - filled with stomach-soothing whole foods and probiotics | TheRoastedRoot.net #healthy #drink #recipe #greensmoothie

Truth be told, my digestive system has been a mystery to me for most of my adult life, which has prompted me to do a good deal of research over the past few weeks. This previous statement may seem silly considering I wrote a book devoted to the cornerstone to the happy-go-lucky gut: probiotics. Nevertheless, as it turns out, even if you maintain a healthful diet and active lifestyle, you aren’t granted the Get Out of Tumble Gut Free Card. On the contrary, keeping your insides in a state of bliss is a challenge to say the least.

Some of the facts I’ve uncovered are intuitive and simply need to be remembered and put into practice, where some of the things I’ve learned recently have been completely baffling and enlightening. I plan to write a whole little ditty on Gut Health 101 because it’s such an extensive topic, but for now, I wanted to share a smoothie recipe that always helps my tummy rumble settle down and chill out.

The basic goal of this healthy gut smoothie is to introduce a plethora of good bacteria (probiotics) into your system, along with foods that not only aid in digestion, but also help heal and protect your stomach lining. I will preface the “health” talk by saying this is not a for-eeeeveryone smoothie. If you have an intolerance to any of the ingredients in the smoothie, it obvi won’t be beneficial to your gut. That said, let’s talk ingredients and what they bring to the gut health table.

Kefir/Yogurt (probiotics): Big picture: your body is chock FULL of microbes, both good and bad. When bad bacteria is the majority party in the house, you become more susceptible to illness, stress, fatigue, and overall crappy mood syndrome. Oh, and you have a lower sex drive, true story. Your goal is to maintain a healthy gut flora so that good bacteria dominate, thereby keeping not just your digestive system happy, but your whole being. Kefir and yogurt are full of probiotics, which help fight any bad microbes that already exist in your digestive tract, as well as creating a nourishing habitat where good bacteria can reign.

For the purpose of this smoothie, I recommend using kefir, as it contains three times more probiotics than yogurt. I use goat milk kefir I buy from the grocery store when I don’t have a batch of homemade kefir going. You can also make your own kefir or yogurt at home for a more cost-effective and controlled way of getting your probiotics. For those who are dairy-free, you can also make coconut milk kefir and use an unrefined sugar versus cane sugar in order to fit all of your dietary needs. To get the know-how on making kefir and other naturally fermented probiotic drinks at home, check out my book, Delicious Probiotic Drinks). Oh, and if you’re going to use store-bought cow’s milk yogurt for this smoothie, just be sure it’s made with whole milk from grass-fed cows. 

Bananas: Basically, bananas are the Switzerland of foods. They’re neutral and help provide balance to your healthy microbes. Because bananas are high in potassium and magnesium, they reduce inflammation, which helps calm any bacterial infection that may be running rampant in your digestive system. (UPDATED NOTE 4/14: If you have high blood sugar, diabetes, or are sensitive to bananas, I’d recommend omitting the banana, adding a bit of honey, or creating your own healthy gut recipe).

Kale: Along with other cruciferous vegetables, kale contains glucosinolates, which when broken down by microbes, release substances that reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer – particularly bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancer. Essentially, you can look at kale like a really badass trashman or snowblower – it ploughs through your system, grabs onto carcinogen and pathogens, and effectively cleans them out. Not to mention, kale is also high in Vitamins K, A, and C, as well as folate. Let.Them.Eat.Kale.

Ginger: Civilizations have been using ginger as a natural cure-all for everything from upset stomach and nausea to colds and headache. A natural anti-inflammatory, ginger helps reduce swelling in your cells, and is also a natural antimicrobial. In this sense, ginger itself helps fight bad bugs, while creating a healthy environment for good bugs to live.

Honey: An enzyme in honey, glucose oxidase, produces hydrogen peroxide, which kills harmful bacteria. There are other antimicrobial properties in honey, which help stave off bacteria and viruses as well. Honey has been used as a natural treatment for as well.

Mint: Fresh peppermint leaves contain menthol, which s a natural analgesic that helps to relieve upset stomach. Most of the time, I don’t have fresh mint laying around, and have found the smoothie to be soothing without mint as well.

If you’re lactose intolerant, or live a dairy-free lifestyle, you can use non-dairy yogurt or kefir. When selecting the type of yogurt or kefir to use, be mindful of the amount of sugar the product contains (read the nutrition facts!). Even if you use an unsweetened yogurt, chances are it’s still very high in natural sugars. The goat milk kefir I use obsessively only has 5 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving, versus the whole milk yogurt I enjoy, which contains upwards of 15 grams per 1 cup serving. Sugar, even if unrefined, feeds bad bacteria, which makes it more difficult for good bacteria to flourish.

YES Foods: Foods that are considered to be particularly soothing and healthy for your gut are naturally fermented foods and drinks (such as kimchi, sauerkraut, or naturally pickled vegetables, miso, kombucha, naturally fermented ginger beer, kefir, yogurt, etc), jerusalem artichokes, bananas, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage), blueberries, ginger, dark chocolate, honey, and beans. In general, aim for lots of fiber. As a side note, some articles I’ve read have mentioned oats as being good for your gut, although I personally find oats can be hit or miss for my own digestion. Just food for thought.

NO Foods: Foods you should always avoid are anything processed (said foods typically contain unpronounceable additives, refined sugars, and have had any semblance of nutrition stripped from them through the processing…process), fried food and foods rich in saturated fat, fast burning carbs (white bread, potatoes) refined sugar (or even high amounts of natural sugars), artificial sweeteners, coffee (don’t hate me), and alcohol (revisit previous parenthesis).  We’ll get more into why you should avoid these consumables in my upcoming Gut Health 101 post. In the meantime, have a little faith and find something else (whole foods) to eat. For reals.

While this smoothie will by no means cure all of your digestive ailments in one fell swoop, it will at least put a dent in bad bacteria and will sooth your tummy for a short-term feel good elixir. Stay tuned for more info about your insides. Until then, may your gut feel like a trillion butterfly kisses, and may all your poops be regular.

Healthy Gut Smoothie - filled with stomach-soothing whole foods and probiotics | TheRoastedRoot.net #healthy #drink #recipe #greensmoothie

Healthy Gut Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 probiotic smoothie
Author: Julia
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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup plain whole milk kefir I use goat milk kefir
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk of choice I use coconut milk
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 leaves or 2 kale chopped
  • 1 teaspoons to 2 fresh ginger peeled and grated

Optional Add-ins:

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 leaves to 6 fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons green tea matcha powder

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste for flavor, and add a small amount of honey if desired.
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Comments

  1. BJ Stark

    This sounds really good, and healthy, which I like! Question: Would it be as healthy if I had to replace the 3/4 cup of whole or goat milk, and use all non-dairy? I am allergic to all dairy…unfortunately. I know yogurt is healthy, is the soy yogurt as healthy as the dairy based one?

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Hey BJ!! You can definitely replace the yogurt/kefir with a non-dairy version. So long as it doesn’t contain added refined sugar, you’re good to go! Enjoy! xo

      Reply
  2. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    I didn’t know you wrote a book! That’s so awesome- I definitely trust you and this smoothie 🙂 Totally delicious and very necessary, because I’m always a little confused as to what is going on with my digestive system!

    Reply
  3. Julia Post author

    While I appreciate the lesson, I think it goes without saying that those who have blood sugar issues and/or are sensitive to bananas are smart enough to avoid them. I don’t know many people who have a difficult time processing the sugar that’s in a single banana, especially if they aren’t eating a great deal of sugar throughout the day.

    As a side note, I just pictured trying to drink a smoothie that includes zucchini in place of banana and my mind, body, and soul when to a deep, dark place.

    Reply
    1. Judith

      My point was not to replace the zucchini for the banana but just to understand that a banana is NOTHING but sugar and 2/3rd of that is the kind of sugar directly responsible for blood lipids and as newer research shows, heart disease and glycation. The first place for deposition of these lipids is in the visceral fat in the liver and the pancreas but no one sees that until it continues to the muffin top, thunder thighs, big butt and beer belly. There’s the reason 60% of diabetics also have heart disease problems when they have UNCONTROLLED diabetes — eating high sugar, low fiber fruits. Sorry I didn’t make that as clear as I could have. I use 2 T ground flax seeds for the fiber, magnesium (55 mg) and the omega-3 (3 g) in my daily smoothie and 10 T would thicken it to needing to eat it with a spoon. The 392 mg magnesium is for 100 g, the default measurement in the USDA database. And it is actually 14.3 T = 100 g of ground flax seed which is the only form to use if you want the nutrition out of the flax seeds.

      Reply
      1. Julia Post author

        Thanks for the clarification. While I completely appreciate how a banana yields higher blood sugar yields fat yields thunder thighs + muffin top, I’d like to circle back to the main point of the post, which is to say that bananas can help sooth an upset stomach. This post wasn’t intended to discuss blood sugar, fat, diabetes, or heart health. I also did mention in the copy that this isn’t a for-everyone smoothie…it’s a take-it-or-leave-it type of sitch.

        Reply
        1. Judith

          I apologize for misunderstanding the title use of the word “Healthy” and didn’t realize how narrowly you defined it. My bad.

          Reply
        2. sarah

          Just wanted to say I am sorry that you had to deal with the crazy anti-banana contingent in the world! You are right–anyone with blood sugar issues is going to limit their fruit, and it is not your responsibility to tell them to do that. Bananas are not “just sugar”–as you point out in your post, they have many nutrients that make them worth consuming! (In moderation obviously, because that’s how most things are best.) Judith clearly has a low-carb axe to grind, probably because she’s sad she can’t have a delicious banana smoothie.

          Additionally, any time we eat something higher in sugar/carbs, if we’re eating it in combination with something like kefir that contains healthy fats and protein, the carbohydrates will digest more slowly and be kinder to our blood sugar levels! But for anyone who wants to go lower-sugar without going to the dark place of zucchini smoothies, you could always put half the amount of banana and add a little avocado to increase the creaminess 🙂

          Reply
  4. Steph

    Funny, I thought this was a HEALTHY GUT smoothie, not a “Get all of your daily nutrients” smoothie or a “don’t have any sugar at all” smoothie. As someone with gut issues herself, bananas are a great food for settling the stomach. There’s a reason behind the BRAT diet for an upset stomach – it works. So, I’m pretty sure this smoothie will be great at doing the job it is intended for. She is certainly not forcing you to make it or drink it so maybe find somewhere else to take your unsolicited science lessons.

    Reply
  5. Jeremy

    How much flax seed do you need to get 392 mg of Magnesium? 1tbsp of Flax seeds have 10% of your RDA, 1 banana has 8%. Not seeing a big difference there… Flax is great for a lot of things like Omega-3s, but nobody considers it a huge Magnesium cornucopia.

    Reply
    1. Julie

      1 tlb flax seed has 40mg magnesium. So you would need almost 10 Tbl of flax seed, which is over 1/2 cup. Yeah. Flax seed smoothie. Yum!

      Reply
    2. Julia Post author

      You both hit the flax seed equation out of the park. I’d like to add that flax seed tastes like sandpaper. Hey, anyone else think flax seed feeeeeeels like sandpaper in your big-small intestine situation? Cause it does in mine…

      Reply
  6. Diana

    Hi Julia,

    I made this smoothie today and it was PERFECT. My gut was very happy and I can see this easily going into my usual morning rotation. Thanks for the amazing recipes – I love getting your posts in my inbox each week!

    Reply
  7. Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

    I can’t think of a more delicious way to make my gut happy! I’ve been loving the goat milk’s kefir too. I mix it with a little almond milk yogurt and some berries. Puuuurrfection.

    Btw, I’m totally on Team Banana. I’m pretty sure people who have developed diabetes weren’t walking around eating bananas all day long. Just sayin’.

    Reply
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