For most people, the holidays are a time of indulgence. Between rich traditional foods, never-ending party snacks, and interruptions to the usual fitness routine, it’s easy to let healthy habits lapse.
Today we’ll look at a study that confirms what anecdotal evidence has always suggested: people tend to gain weight during the holidays. We’ll follow up with a healthy solution for that problem: three 100% alkalizing smoothies to help you detox and burn fat.
So in case you’ve gained a few pounds during the holidays, they will jump-start your weight loss to help you get back in shape faster.
Study Reveals Annual Patterns Of Weight Changes
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has offered an unusually thorough portrait of the weight changes of people in three countries throughout a year. Participants in the United States, Germany, and Japan agreed to weigh themselves daily using a wireless scale.
That means they couldn’t fudge their numbers as self-reporting study participants could. Their self-selection for the program and their consistent use of the scale may indicate that this set of subjects is more weight conscious and motivated than the average person. For less diligent individuals, the results are likely more severe.
The researchers discovered that for Americans, holiday weight gain begins in late October, earlier than conventional wisdom suggests, and continues through December when the weight of participants peaked. Then in January average weight started to decrease as study participants worked off those extra pounds.1
The three smoothie recipes below are packed with ingredients proven to assist with detoxification, weight loss, and bone-building.
A study found that Americans tend to gain weight between October and December, then gradually lose that weight until the following holiday season restarts the cycle.
A Pink Smoothie With Powerful Nutrients
This smoothie is lovely to look at, and it’s rich in bone-building ingredients specifically selected to support the detoxifying process your liver performs. Here’s a breakdown of their benefits:
- Ground Flaxseed provides a source of dietary fiber that studies have shown reduces appetite, therefore aiding weight loss.2
- The antioxidant flavonoids in raspberries not only give this smoothie its attractive color but also reduce oxidative stress. That protective quality is clinically linked to increases in bone mineral density in women.3
- Bananas add an alkalizing source of manganese and copper, which both support the construction of connective and supportive tissues throughout your body, including in bone. Plus Vitamins B6 and C offer an antioxidant boost.
- Spinach is the bone-building engine in this sweet smoothie. It’s a great source of Foundation Supplements such as iron, Vitamin A, and B-Vitamins. The iron in spinach is rendered more bioavailable by Vitamin C in the raspberries and banana.4 Like other leafy greens, spinach is rich in chlorophyll, which supports liver health by reducing the risk of aflatoxin-induced liver damage and of liver cancer by increasing the activity of certain enzymes and removing toxins.5
These ingredients make a delicious smoothie, and they help you cleanse your body of toxins and build stronger bones.
Power Of Pink
1 Large Serving
- ¾ cup almond milk, unsweetened
- 1 cup raspberries
- ½ banana
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed, ground
- 1 cup spinach, frozen
- Vanilla extract, to taste (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
A Tea-Based Bone-Building Smoothie
Try this recipe that uses a cold cup of brewed milk thistle tea to support optimal bone repair instead of the usual almond milk. Here’s a breakdown of what its ingredients do for your body and your bones:
- Arugula is a green leaf with a peppery kick. It’s a good source of calcium to help you build bone, and Vitamin B9 to help you metabolize proteins. Like spinach, it has chlorophyll to protect your body’s natural detoxification system
- Celery is too rarely celebrated, but it’s a powerfully alkalizing and hydrating vegetable that contains bone-smart nutrients like magnesium, which participates in the synthesis of connective tissue in bone. It also contains phytonutrients that have been shown to lower blood pressure.6
- It’s the milk thistle tea that makes this smoothie such a powerful cleanser. This prickly little plant makes for a soothing tea rich in the phytochemical silymarin. The silymarin in milk thistle supports and improves liver health in two ways, by triggering cell regeneration in the liver7 and by increasing levels of the protective master antioxidant glutathione.8
- Studies have found that the antioxidants in grapefruit pulp improve bone quality.9 In other studies, grapefruit juice was found to promote weight loss and improve metabolic function in mice.10
- Pineapple contains a unique enzyme called bromelain. Studies have found that the compound offers many health benefits, including boosting the immune system11 and supporting weight loss.12
Grapefruit And Greens
1 Large Serving
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup brewed milk thistle tea, cold
- ½ grapefruit, peeled and seeded
- ½ cup pineapple chunks
- Stevia, to taste (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
A Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
This recipe might change the way you think about smoothies forever. With wintry flavors and bone-building minerals, it’s a sippable treat any time of day. Three major ingredients make it a bone health standout:
- Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that improves your eyesight and detoxifies your liver, among many other benefits.13
- Cinnamon is a popular wintry spice. Studies have shown that it lowers fasting blood glucose, increasing the body’s response to insulin. This blood sugar regulation is especially valuable when coming out of the sugar-rush typical of the holidays. 14
Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamin A, which promotes healthy liver and kidney function. It also contains the powerful bone-building trio copper, manganese and zinc all of which are present in the crucial antioxidant Superoxide Dismutase (SOD).
1 Large Serving
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
- ½ banana
- 1 cup kale
- Cinnamon, to sprinkle when ready
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Start Your Day Green
Each of these smoothies uses a different leafy green. Arugula, kale, and spinach have unique properties, but they all share an even more powerful osteoporosis reversing agent: sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane is produced when two other compounds found in cruciferous vegetables are brought into contact. The enzyme myrosinase and the glucosinolate glucoraphanin mix and react when the leaves and stems are chewed or crushed.
In the case of these smoothies, the process of blending does the mechanical labor of creating sulforaphane. Once you’ve ingested and absorbed it, this phytonutrient stimulates osteoblast activity and diminishes osteoclast resorption, adjusting the bone remodeling process in favor of bone deposition.15
If this sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the very same goal osteoporosis drugs attempt (but fail) to achieve. Meanwhile, that same goal can be reached using natural, healthy, plant foods!. Sulforaphane has a range of additional benefits to boot, including increasing the body’s ability to detoxify itself and reducing obesity.16
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These smoothie recipes give you access to the detoxifying power of sulforaphane, and to the plentiful bone-building, full-body-cleansing nutrients found in their simple and delicious ingredients.
1 Elina E. Helander, Ph.D., et al. “Weight Gain over the Holidays in Three Countries.” N Engl J Med 2016; 375:1200-1202. Web. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMc1602012
2 Kristensen M, Savorani F, Christensen S, Engelsen SB, Bügel S, Toubro S, Tetens I, Astrup A. “Flaxseed dietary fibers suppress postprandial lipemia and appetite sensation in young men.” Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Feb;23(2):136-43. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21802266
3 Welch, A., et al. “Habitual flavonoid intakes are positively associated with bone mineral density in women.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2012 Sep;27(9): 1872-8 doi: 10.1002/jbmr. 1649. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22549983
4 Hallberg L, Brune M, Rossander L. The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1989;30:103-8. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2507689
5 Yun CH, Jeong HG, Jhoun JW, Guengerich FP. Carcinogenesis. “Non-specific inhibition of cytochrome P450 activities by chlorophyllin in human and rat liver microsomes.” 1995 Jun;16(6):1437-40. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7788866
6 Madhavi D, Kagan D, Rao V, Murray MT “A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Antihypertensive Effect of a Celery Extract in Mild to Moderate Hypertensive Patients.” Natural Medicine Journal. 2013. 5(4). Web: http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2013-04/pilot-study-evaluate-antihypertensive-effect-celery-extract-mild-moderate
7 Newaz Hossain, et al. “A Comprehensive Updated Review of Pharmaceutical and Non-pharmaceutical Treatment for NAFL.” Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2016; 2016: 7109270. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4781972/
8 Lucena MI, et al. “Effects of silymarin MZ-80 on oxidative stress in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study” Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jan;40(1):2-8. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11841050?dopt=Abstract
9 Grapefruit pulp increases antioxidant status and improves bone quality in orchidectomized rats. Nutrition, Volume 24, Issue 10, Pages 1039 – 1044 Farzad Deyhim et al
10 Rostislav Chudnovskiy, Airlia Thompson, Kevin Tharp, Marc Hellerstein, Joseph L. Napoli, Andreas Stahl. Consumption of Clarified Grapefruit Juice Ameliorates High-Fat Diet Induced Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain in Mice. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (10): e108408 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108408
11 Eric R. Secor, Jr., et al. “Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 702196. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3870104/
12 Dave S, Kaur NJ, Nanduri R, Dkhar HK, Kumar A, Gupta P. “Inhibition of adipogenesis and induction of apoptosis and lipolysis by stem bromelain in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.” PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30831. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22292054
13 Yun CH, Jeong HG, Jhoun JW, Guengerich FP. Carcinogenesis. “Non-specific inhibition of cytochrome P450 activities by chlorophyllin in human and rat liver microsomes.” 1995 Jun;16(6):1437-40. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7788866
14 Khan, Alam, MS, PhD, et al. “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care. December 2003. Vol. 26 No. 123215-3218. Doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215. Web. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215.full
15 Roman Thaler, et al. “Anabolic and anti-resorptive modulation of bone homeostasis by the epigenetic modulator sulforaphane, a naturally occurring isothiocyanate.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. January 12, 2016. Web: http://www.jbc.org/content/early/2016/01/12/jbc.M115.678235
16 Kanazawa University. “Sulforaphane, a phytochemical in broccoli sprouts, ameliorates obesity.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2017. Web: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307100402.htm