A balanced diet filled with a range of nutrients is important for maintaining health but how can you make sure you’re getting enough in your diet? This week’s Nutrition News covers a range of recently published articles, including how to make sure your smoothie is healthy.

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How to make sure your smoothie is healthy

Smoothies can be a great way of getting fruit and vegetables into your diet but how can you make sure they’re nutritionally balanced with a range of vitamins and minerals? This recent Medical News Today article covers some of the ways to make a healthy smoothie.

Spinach smoothies are a nutritious addition to a balanced diet, as spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals, including the antioxidant lutein. Lutein supports eye health and heart health due to its anti-inflammatory properties. However, not all spinach-based green smoothies are created equal. A recent study compared 14 liquids commonly used in smoothies to determine which ones would be best at liberating lutein from spinach for absorption by the human intestine. The study found that spinach smoothies containing coconut milk with or without additives, and high-fat and medium-fat cow’s milk were the best options for liberating lutein. Soy milk surprisingly had the opposite effect, reducing lutein liberation by 61%, while almond milk and oat milk had no significant effect. Cooking spinach can also reduce its nutritional value, so raw, uncooked spinach in a smoothie offers the greatest health benefit.

To be absorbed efficiently by the digestive system, lutein requires a minimal amount of fat. Although plant-based milks were found to be lutein reducers, it is important to note that lutein is a fat-soluble antioxidant, and so it needs fat to be absorbed, which is supports the findings of the study. Whole fruits that are rich in vitamin C, like kiwi, mangoes, and strawberries, can increase the absorption of plant-based iron found in spinach.

In conclusion, a spinach smoothie can be a great addition to a healthy diet, but the choice of liquid added to it can have a significant impact on lutein liberation and therefore its nutritional value. Coconut milk with or without additives, and high-fat and medium-fat cow’s milk are the best options for this purpose, while soy milk should be avoided for this reason. Adding whole fruits that are rich in vitamin C can increase the absorption of plant-based iron found in spinach.

The health benefits of rocket

Rocket, also known as arugula or Italian cress, is a leafy green vegetable belonging to the mustard plant family. In addition to its peppery flavour, rocket offers numerous health benefits due to its rich nutritional profile and potent antioxidant properties according to Health.com.

Rocket is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as glucosinolates and flavanol antioxidants. These substances help protect against oxidative stress and have been associated with supporting heart health.

Rocket's benefits extend to cognitive health as well. Consumption of green leafy vegetables like rocket has been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline and is thought to support brain health through its broad nutrient profile.

Despite its low calorie content, which also makes it a great food choice for weight management, rocket is rich in essential vitamins and minerals. It provides significant amounts of vitamin K, folate, manganese, vitamin A, and vitamin C. These nutrients play crucial roles in various bodily functions, including blood clotting, bone health, and immune system support.

While rocket is generally safe to eat, individuals with rocket allergies should avoid it, and those on blood-thinning medications should speak to their healthcare practitioner and consider moderating their intake due to its vitamin K content.

Rocket is a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes, such as salads, pastas, soups, and sandwiches. It is readily available in supermarkets and can even be grown at home.

In summary, rocket is a highly nutritious leafy green vegetable that offers a plethora of health benefits. By adding rocket to your diet, you can support your overall health and enjoy its peppery flavour in various dishes.

The importance of nutrition in lessening fatigue

A recently published research paper, covered by NutraIngredients, explored the potential benefits of vitamins and minerals in alleviating fatigue, a common symptom associated with various conditions. The review aimed to gather existing literature on the effects of different nutrients on fatigue and energy support.

The researchers conducted searches in several databases and identified 60 articles that met the inclusion criteria. Among these 60 studies, 50 showed significant beneficial effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on fatigue. The nutrients investigated included Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, zinc, methionine, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and vitamin C, vitamin D, and B vitamins.

The findings suggest that these nutrients have potential benefits in reducing fatigue and supporting energy production, both in healthy individuals and those with chronic illnesses. The positive effects were observed with both oral and parenteral administration of the nutrients.

However, the researchers emphasize the need for further studies to explore these findings. They recommend conducting randomized, placebo-controlled trials that compare existing interventions with these nutrient-based approaches. It is important to test different doses, routes of administration, and frequencies of nutrient supplementation. The studies should involve diverse groups experiencing fatigue, including both healthy individuals and clinical populations.

The paper concludes by highlighting the importance of considering nutrition when evaluating fatigue and energy production.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.