Here’s hoping you’ve made it through the Holiday season without getting sick. I find everything catches up with me in January and I feel tired and flat after all the excitement (and eating) in December!!
Right about now I start making this smoothie part of my morning routine to kickstart my immune system, brighten my skin and right the ship, so to speak. It’s some much needed self care in a cup!
Remember orange creamsicles from when you were a kid?! This smoothie is so tasty, refreshing and simple you won’t believe what it can do for your body!
Besides immune-boosting vitamin C, oranges deliver vitamin A, fiber, potassium, choline and powerful plant compounds called bioflavonoids and isoflavonoids.
This makes them good for your heart, your immune system, your skin, your digestion, weight loss, balancing hormones and maybe even preventing Alzheimer’s and certain cancers too!
Oranges are naturally low in calories (about 85 calories per orange) and low in glycemic index, so they won’t send your blood sugar skyrocketing (thanks to the fibre which helps slow the absorption of natural sugars).
Let’s talk a bit about the plant compounds in oranges that make them important for women over 35.
Bioflavonoids are strong antioxidants. They help fight against free radicals, which are toxins in the body that can damage cells. By protecting your cells, bioflavonoids may decrease cancer risk, protect your heart, pump up your immune system and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease — all of which is important for women as the protective effects of estrogen start to decline.
Bioflavonoids are found in all kinds of foods besides citrus fruit, including berries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, almonds and green tea.
Isoflavonoids are plant-based estrogens (phytoestrogens) that behave similarly to estrogen in the body. You can find them in foods like oranges, soy (tofu, tempeh, miso, soy milk), carrots, broccoli, flaxseed, whole grains, legumes and tea.
Isoflavonoids may decrease the severity and/or length of hot flashes during peri-menopause, so eating them regularly may provide some you relief.
As we approach and move through the menopause process, our heart, brain and bone health are more at risk than when we were younger and we are more susceptible to weight gain and diabetes.
Researchers believe that phytoestrogens may have positive effects on blood lipids, metabolic health and cardiovascular disease risk.
Isoflavonoids have also been linked with prevention of bone loss, which is accelerated during the peri-menopausal period for up to 10 years and then continues to decline as we age.
It’s important to note that there is conflicting research about the benefits and risks of phytoestrogen supplements; however, food sources do not appear to carry additional risk, particularly because they have much weaker estrogenic effects and mother nature packages them along with health promoting vitamins, minerals, fibre and other plant compounds.
This being said, if you have a history of hormone-sensitive breast cancer, it is best to check with your doctor before increasing your intake of phytoestrogens significantly.
Give this smoothie a try .. and let me know how you like it!
To your health!
- Glycemic Index for 60+ Foods. Harvard Medical School: Harvard Health Publishing Website. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods. Updated March 13, 2018. Accessed February 24, 2019.
- What You Should Know about Bioflavonoids. Healthline Website. https://www.healthline.com/health/bioflavonoids. Published Sept 5, 2017. Accessed February 24, 2019.
- Are Phytoestrogens Good For You? Healthline Website. https://www.healthline.com/health/phytoestrogens. Published July 10, 2017. Accessed February 25, 2019.
- Chen MN, Lin CC, Liu CF. Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric. 2015: 18(2); 260-269.
- Cassidy A. Diet and menopausal health. Nurs Stand. 2005: 19(29); 44-55.
- Comhaire FH, Depypere HT. Hormones, herbal preparations and nutraceuticals for a better life after the menopause: part II. Climacteric. 2015; 18(3): 364-371.
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