One of our favorite recipes that checks every healthy aging box comes in smoothie form, requires just four ingredients, and is inspired by the longest-living people on the planet. For a morning, afternoon, or evening pick-me-up that is as great-tasting as it is good for you, try this iced banana turmeric smoothie recipe. The recipe hails from the team at Blue Zones—a team of researchers dedicated to studying the planet's longest-living people, founded by longevity expert Dan Buettner—so you know it's going to be packed to the brim with nutritional benefits.
For starters, there’s turmeric, which has been a staple in the Okinawan diet for hundreds of years, the Blue Zones Kitchen notes. Okinawa, the fifth largest island of Japan, boasts a population that has a 40 percent greater chance of reaching centenarian status than other Japanese folks, and three times as many 100-year-olds as similarly-sized U.S. regions. "Turmeric is a staple in Okinawa, where it's used as both as a cooking spice and a tea," Buettner previously shared with Well+Good. "The bright yellow spice has been the subject of many recent studies for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals, is linked to lower risk of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and has also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease," he says.
According to Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, many of these longevity-boosting properties offered by turmeric are linked to a compound known as curcumin. "There’s a compound in turmeric called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, previously told Well+Good. She adds that it can also potentially help relieve soreness after a workout, and has been linked to promoting gut health.
Learn more about turmeric from Lockwood Beckerman by watching this video:
Bananas, another key ingredient in this smoothie, are also packed with health benefits: They’re a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. Whether you choose to blend ripe or green bananas, you'll be benefiting your gut microbiome: Less ripe bananas, for instance, contain pectins and resistant starch, which serve as prebiotics in your gut. Riper bananas don’t have quite as much of this starch (it’s converted into sugar, making yellow bananas sweeter), but still contain both soluble and insoluble fibers, key for digestion. And if you let your bananas ripen further, you’ll be left with a fruit that is truly packed with antioxidants.
The next ingredient on the list is another superfruit: apples, which are chock full of heart-healthy fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and have been linked to improving lung function as you age. Research has also shown that apples can lower cholesterol, and reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. Finally, the liquid in this smoothie comes in the form of soy milk, which has its own bevy of health benefits. Soy milk has more protein than other plant-based milks, and soy has been linked to improving symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, a common ailment among older populations, which means it may help increase mobility and quality of life as you age.
Check out the full Blue Zones-inspired recipe for this delicious smoothie below.
Longevity-Boosting Iced Banana Turmeric Smoothie Recipe
1 ripe banana
1 apple, cored and cut into a few pieces
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup vanilla soy milk
5 cups of ice
1. Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Serve immediately.
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