You know the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. However, can the same be said about drinking fruit smoothies and green smoothies daily?
As we have discussed in previous posts, smoothies are an exceptional method for delivering water, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and servings of fruits and veggies your body needs to function. With such an influx of vital ingredients hitting your stomach all at once, one may wonder if smoothies are good for your digestive system. This article will go over the most commonly asked questions and give you everything you need to know about smoothies and your digestive health.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not intended to replace advice from your primary physician or medical provider. If you have any concerns about changes to your diet, it is your responsibility to speak with your doctor beforehand. This publisher is in no way responsible for your choices nor endorsing you to make dramatic changes to your diet without speaking with a medical provider.
Can Smoothies Cause Digestive Problems?
Short answer: Not homemade smoothies!
Long Answer: Homemade fruit smoothies and green smoothies should not cause any digestive problems. Since you control the ingredients that go into the smoothies you make at home, you know the quality of the ingredients and exactly how much of each ingredient you are adding to your smoothie.
Rather than causing digestive problems, your fruit smoothie or green smoothie will help you feel fuller longer and speed up the digestive process. Unlike eating solid foods, a smoothie can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Rather than feeling like a snack after finishing an apple, a fresh juice smoothie will help you feel full for an hour or longer.
Additionally, your blender has already done the hard work for your digestive system. Rather than utilizing precious energy to break down foods to extract the minerals and vitamins, the digestive system only needs to extract these vital nutrients. Better still, your digestive system will be able to work more efficiently and get the nutrients to other areas of the body in a more timely manner.
Store bought or prepared smoothies may cause digestive issues. Since you can never be 100 percent sure what is in these smoothies, you do not know what to expect. Many of these fresh smoothies are incredibly high in sugar, which can cause some individuals to feel an upset stomach during digestion. Furthermore, those with certain food allergies may experience digestion issues due to cross contamination. The best way to avoid digestive issues is to make fruit smoothies or veggie smoothies at home.
How Long Does A Fruit Smoothie Take To Digest?
Short answer: 20 to 30 minutes.
Long Answer: While many fruits can take upwards of 40 minutes to digest, a fruit smoothie can be digested much quicker. Since the solid fruits have been blended up and broken down, the digestive system does not need to secrete as much juices in order to begin digesting. This means a fresh juice and fruit smoothie can be digested in as little as 20 to 30 minutes.
On the other hand, a green smoothie may take a bit longer to digest. Leafy green veggies, like kale, spinach, and bok choy, may take upward of 40 minutes to digest. Other vegetables, like cucumbers and tomatoes, take 30 minutes to digest. Some veggies may even take up to 50 minutes to digest due to their starchy nature. These typically include beets, carrots,and parsnips.
This means a vegetable smoothie can take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes to digest. If fruits and vegetables are combined to create a fruit and green smoothie, you can expect the smoothie to be digested in around 30 or so minutes.
Do Smoothies Help With Bloating?
Short answer: Yes!
Long Answer: When made with the right, high-quality ingredients, smoothies can help prevent bloating in both men and women. Smoothie recipes with dairy and gluten should be avoided because these ingredients are known to puff up the waist and cause bloating issues.
Some of the best ingredients for smoothies that do not cause bloating include:
- Bok Choy
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Plant-Based Milk (almond milk, oat, cashew, coconut or any other variety)
These ingredients can be combined with fresh squeezed juice or any type of plant-based milk to make a delicious smoothie recipe for healthy digestion. When possible, making plant-based milk like almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, or others will provide the most benefits.
Furthermore, the aforementioned ingredients can all be put into one powerhouse smoothie or used to create many different smoothies for digestive system benefits. Stay tuned to the end of the article for recipes you can use as is or tweak to your liking.
If you find you are still feeling bloated after drinking a smoothie, the culprit may lie in your protein powder. If you opt to use fresh smoothies as a meal replacement, it is important to keep the types of acidic juices and alkaline juices you need in mind. Proteins and veggies require acidic juices in order to be broken down and used during digestion, while fruit require alkaline juices.
If you want a fruit smoothie with protein, you need to make sure you add some acidic juice (like lemon juice) to your smoothie. Otherwise, the protein will not be properly digested. When in doubt, combine fruits and vegetables with your protein of choice to create a perfectly balanced smoothie that will not cause bloating.
Can Smoothies Give You Gas?
Short answer: It depends on the ingredients.
Long Answer: Each person reacts to different vegetables in a unique way. Some individuals may be able to enjoy leafy greens without any gas, and some people may wind up clearing the room shortly after ingesting said leafy greens. A green smoothie has the potential to give any person gas.
It is important to remember that having and passing gas is a normal and healthy part of digestion. If you feel self-conscious about passing gas, it may be to your benefit to plan green smoothies on days where you are not near crowds. On those days, opt for a fruit smoothie instead.
If you feel you have excessive flatulence after drinking green smoothies or fruit smoothies, you need to contact your primary care physician and speak about your concerns. Only they will be able to tell you if this is a normal digestive process or if there is an underlying issue causing increased gas production during digestion.
Are Smoothies A Laxative?
Short answer: Yes, certain green smoothies can act as a laxative.
Long Answer: Regardless if you have been eating the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake for years or if a green smoothie is the first time you’ve eaten healthy in a month, it is possible for a green smoothie to act as a laxative. The increased fiber from leafy greens and vegetables can almost immediately impact your bowel movements.
Despite being blended up, all of the vegetables and fruits in your smoothie still contain fiber. When you increase your fiber intake dramatically, your digestive system will begin to change. Those who do not have a diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables will see a greater change in their bowel movements compared to someone who already does.
When the body sees an increase in fiber, bowel movements often become softer and more rapid. As the digestive system adjusts to the new level of fiber intake, the bowel movements will begin to return to a firmer state. Those with constipation issues will find that a green smoothie is able to serve multi-purposes. Along with encouraging regular bowel movements, you will increase your fruit, vegetable, and water intake.
Before starting a green smoothie diet, you should speak about your constipation issues or fiber intake with your primary physician. They will be able to let you know how often you can drink a green smoothie and if it is right for you.
8 Best Smoothie Recipes For A Healthy Digestive System
Knowing that homemade smoothies with high-quality fruits and vegetables can be good for digestive health, it is important to keep a list of go to recipes handy. This will ensure that even on the busiest days, you can create the best homemade smoothie or your digestive system.
Purple Power Smoothie
This power smoothie is designed to keep you full and prevent bloating. The mint, blackberries, blueberries, kale, and chia seeds work together to create an anti-inflammatory, hunger-crushing, waistline slimming smoothie.
- Almond Milk
- Frozen Blackberries
- Chopped Nuts (Pecans, Cashews, Almonds, Etc)
- Frozen Banana
- Chia Seeds
The chia seeds and cinnamon can be blended into this smoothie, used as garnish, or both!
Pineapple Mint Protein Smoothie
The combination of non-dairy milk, acidic pineapple chunks, and filling protein powder creates a perfectly blended fruit and veggie smoothie. It has all the alkaline and acidic properties it needs to digest easily and fight off any bloating.
- Non-Dairy Milk (Almond Or Coconut Work Best)
- Frozen Pineapple
- Protein Powder Of Choice
A fruity flavor protein powder will work best in this smoothie. Our favorite is strawberry or banana, but you can experiment with any protein powder you love!
Green Detox Juice Smoothie
This detoxing juice smoothie is incredibly refreshing. It isn’t as thick as your standard smoothie, which makes for a nice change in the morning. All ingredients other than the avocado should be blended with their peels on for maximum anti-hunger, anti-inflammatory, anti-bloating properties.
- Lime Juice
Honey is completely optional in this detox juice smoothie. If you find the smoothie isn’t sweet enough, add more honey to taste!
Mocha Breakfast Coconut Smoothie
This incredibly filling breakfast smoothie will wake you up and fight off any bloating or digestive issues. It is also packed with potassium thanks to the bananas.
- Frozen Banana
- Strong Brewed Coffee, Chilled
- Coconut Milk
- Cocoa Powder
- Chia Seeds
- Maple Syrup Or Honey
It is incredibly important for your coffee to be completely cooled before adding it to this smoothie. Otherwise, you will have a lukewarm drink in your hands. Optionally, you can chocolate protein powder in place of the cocoa powder. The acid from the coffee will ensure everything digests properly.
Orange Very Berry Green Spinach Smoothie
This is one of the best green smoothies for beginners. It perfectly combined fruity flavors with nutrient dense leafy greens to ensure you have everything you need for a power packed smoothie. You will stay full, remain hydrated, and fight off any inflammation with this powerful combination of ginger, fruit, veggies, and other ingredients.
- Frozen Banana
- Frozen Raspberries
- Orange Slices
- Ginger (1” Grated)
- Coconut Water
If you recently made fresh squeezed orange juice, you can substitute that for orange slices in this smoothie recipe.
Mighty Green Smoothie
This green smoothie is a step up from the previous recipe you just read. This is the definition of a true green smoothie. The spinach, kale, avocado, apple, banana, and pineapple will give you an incredible boost in fiber while the chia seeds and hemp seeds will reduce inflammation and bloating.
- Plant-Based Milk
- Frozen Pineapple
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
This smoothie is not sweet, compared to other smoothie recipes in this list. You can add a sweetener of your juice (like fresh juice, honey, maple syrup, or agave) to improve the flavor to your liking.
Kiwi Island Smoothie
With only four ingredients, this is the simplest smoothie recipe for a healthy digestive system. However, these four power packed ingredients will help keep your waistline small and maintain optimal digestive health.
- Frozen Kiwis
- Frozen Blueberries
- Coconut Water
When making this smoothie, it is best to cut the kale into smaller pieces first. This will ensure all of the ingredients blend properly and evenly.
Carrot Cake Dessert Smoothie
If you can have your cake and keep your digestive health on track, what more can you ask for? This dessert smoothie tastes almost like a slice of heavenly carrot cake. Plus, it has turmeric, which has been used for thousands of years to aid in digestive health!
- Frozen Carrots
- Coconut Milk
- Protein Powder of Choice (Vanilla Works Best)
- Almond Butter
- Honey or Agave
This smoothie can be as sweet as you like. Adjust the honey or agave to match your desired level of sweetness.