- Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder and director of Real Nutrition
I, for one, would have never thought to use green tea as a base for my own blends. But given that it’s one of the best drinks for longevity, I wish I’d thought of it sooner.
What makes this green tea pineapple smoothie so great?
This antioxidant-rich smoothie contains only four ingredients: green tea, pineapple, pear, and spinach. To see how each of them is linked to healthy aging, we asked Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, of Real Nutrition in New York City, for, well… the tea.
1. Green tea
As Shaprio previously told Well+Good, green tea is one of the top sources of catechins, a group of natural polyphenolic phytochemicals that promote healthy aging and help to stave off various ailments. “Catechins lessen excessive oxidative stress through direct or indirect antioxidant effects, promote activation of the antioxidative substances, and are cancer preventative,” Shaprio says. Moreover, catechins “regulate the infiltration and proliferation of immune related-cells” to safeguard your immunity, as well as “stabilize the structure of the gastrointestinal microbiome by promoting the proliferation of beneficial intestinal bacteria and regulating the balance of intestinal flora.” Less oxidative stress, stronger immune defenses, and thriving gut health all point in one direction: to a cleaner bill of health for years to come.
Next, this smoothie calls for frozen or fresh pineapple, a mouth-puckering tropical fruit that’s also loaded with antioxidants. Shapiro calls out one in particular—bromelain—which helps to “prevent chronic disease and certain cancers as well as decrease inflammation, which boosts immunity,” she says. “Bromelain has also been shown to improve arthritic conditions and may promote heart health,” and it’s also an all-star for digestion.
Pears are one of my favorite fruits, so I was elated to discover just how many benefits they offer. “Pears are a great source of fiber, which helps to promote digestion, manage blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy gut microbiome to ward off illnesses and disease,” Shapiro says. *Makes mental note to double up on my next produce haul.* As far as their pro-aging properties go, Shapiro proceeds to say that different colors and varieties pack different antioxidants. “Red pears contain anthocyanins, which help to maintain heart health and promote healthy blood vessels, while green pears contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to keep our eyes healthy as we age, preventing macular degeneration.”
For starters, spinach is rich in vitamin C, a superstar antioxidant that’s as beneficial for your skin as it is for your body when it comes to healthy aging. Shapiro also mentions that spinach is a great source of calcium, which should take priority in any dietary plan to promote bone health. Adding to the many wonders of these good-for-you greens, spinach “contains many plant compounds including lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health, nitrates for heart health and to moderate blood pressure, and quercetin to help decrease inflammation in the body,” says Shapiro. Similar to pears, spinach is high in fiber; reaching the FDA’s updated recommended daily value of it (28 grams) can help to “decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes,” among other benefits for aging, digestion, heart health, and more.
Tips for making this smoothie
Ready to blend? Of course you are! But first, read up on these tips to maximize the benefits, texture, and taste of this longevity-promoting smoothie.
- Nadja Belgrave, the recipe developer behind Nashi Food, suggests opting for sencha Japanese green tea. (Shapiro similarly endorses this variety due to its high concreation of protective catechins.) Belgrave also recommends cold brewing it to prevent a bitter taste.
- Leave the skin on the pear to reap the full nutritional benefits of the fruit.
- Pack the spinach as close to the blade as possible to ensure thorough chopping.
- Add up a teaspoon of honey if desired, though the two fruits already lend sweetness to the recipe.
4-ingredient green tea pineapple smoothie recipe
Yields 2 servings
6 ounces of cold brewed sencha Japanese green tea
1 cup fresh spinach, loosely packed
1 cup chopped frozen pineapple
1 medium size green pear, seeds and stem removed
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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