A Superfood Smoothie for Better Digestion and Intestinal Health
Many people experience digestion problems eating a ‘modern’ processed food diet but this digestive smoothie to improve intestinal health can help.
The gluten in wheat, lactose in milk, difficult to digest proteins in processed meat, acids in soda and coffee, sugar in just about everything and a wide variety of chemical additives are often linked to digestive issues and poor intestinal health affecting so many in today’s Western societies.
In the long-term, switching to a more natural food diet and particularly incorporating fermented foods can greatly improve digestive health and help treat symptoms like bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, ulcers and excessive gas.
For more immediate relief, this smoothie for digestion has a combination of superfoods for quickly relieving intestinal troubles and getting your gut health back on track.
If you don’t have all the ingredients at the moment I’d still recommend giving this digestive smoothie recipe a try. You can add the more exotic ones like triphala powder later to increase its effectiveness even further.
How This Smoothie Benefits Your Digestive System
Undigested proteins from difficult to break down processed meat can form toxic compounds that create an inflammatory response within your digestive system. Gluten is another protein found in grains like wheat that causes intestinal issues for many people.
Pineapple contains the protein cleaving enzyme bromelain that greatly enhances protein digestion. Bromelain also has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect throughout your body.
Many people take concentrated bromelain capsules, both for digestive health and inflammatory diseases like arthritis. While not quite as potent, the cores of pineapples contain bromelain for protein digestion and can be easily blended up in this smoothie recipe.
Another tropical fruit that enhances the digestive process, papaya contains the powerful enzyme papain. This proteolytic enzyme is so effective of breaking down protein it is used commercially as a meat tenderizer.
Papayas that are just turning from green to yellow have more digestive enzymes than those that are fully ripened but there are many other health benefits of using papaya for better digestion detailed here.
Papaya seeds are an unusually potent addition to this intestinal health smoothie. They contain high levels of enzymes and unique alkaloids to help rid your gastrointestinal tract of parasites.
Make sure you start off slowly with papaya seeds though as they are quite powerful. Take too many at the start and you’ll know about it. Just a quarter of a teaspoon the first time is recommended and you can slowly increase the dosage in future smoothies.
There’s much more on using the seeds with this special papaya seed smoothie for treating intestinal worms.
Extra-virgin coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that are converted to medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in your digestive tract. These MCFAs possess powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that kill harmful bacteria and help control the candida yeast from overgrowth.
Using coconut oil in your diet regularly has many health benefits of which an improved intestinal environment is only one. A tablespoon of this organic and extra-virgin bestseller goes into virtually every smoothie I make.
A great tonic for your entire gastrointestinal tract, cabbage is a particularly effective preventative and even remedy for gastric ulcers.
Blended up cabbage is high in the amino acid glutamine and rich in beneficial compounds like gefarnate, glucosinolates and S-methylmethionine that help protect and heal the mucous membranes of your whole digestive system.
The papaya and pineapple sweetness should overpower the mild taste of uncooked cabbage. Feel free to try just an eighth of a cabbage if you’re worried about the taste or if you have trouble fitting all the ingredients into your blender.
Shredded or desiccated coconut is an excellent intestinal cleanser that helps promote a healthy digestive tract and clear away harmful bacteria, parasites and other pathogens. It also adds a great tropical flavor, rich texture and really helps to fill you up.
Ayurvedic triphala powder is especially good for improving your digestive health. It can be taken on its own in the morning and evening as described here, but I’ve found it beneficial as a smoothie ingredients as well.
For gastrointestinal health, triphala gently stimulates the peristaltic actions of your lower intestine to improve elimination and remove toxic compounds more quickly. It is also believed to help provide favorable conditions for beneficial intestinal bacteria, combat candida and rejuvenate the lining of the digestive tract.
Just tasting fresh ginger on your tongue stimulates more saliva in your mouth and bile and gastric juices in your stomach for improved digestion.
The potent volatile oils in ginger also relax smooth muscles in your intestines to quickly ease intestinal cramps and spasms and prevent bloating. Used regularly, ginger can even help prevent excessive gas.
Ginger is a great addition to your smoothies but if you need even quicker relief when you’ve had something that doesn’t agree with you then ginger tea makes a simple and effective remedy for many digestion problems.
Kefir, Bio Active Unflavored Yogurt or Coconut Water
Lactose from dairy often causes digestive problems so regular milk is best avoided if you are experiencing intestinal pain and heavy flatulence.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is rich in beneficial intestinal bacteria and usually much lower in lactose as its bacteria break down this milk sugar. It is a great addition to this smoothie if you can find it or make it up for yourself.
Real unflavored and bio-live yogurt is another good option, but can be hard to find in the supermarket. A good health food store would be your best bet here.
Alternatively, coconut water or a half and half mix of coconut milk and water is very healthy, tastes great and is probably the best choice if you’d like to avoid all milk products.
- A quarter of a medium sized pineapple, skinned and chopped with the core retained.
- Approximately 1/6th of a large papaya, chopped.
- A quarter to half of a teaspoon of fresh papaya seeds.
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil.
- A quarter of a medium sized cabbage, chopped.
- 3 tablespoons of desiccated coconut.
- Half an inch of fresh ginger rhizome.
- 1 teaspoon of this highly recommended Ayurvedic triphala powder.
- Kefir, high-quality bio live and unflavored yogurt or coconut water of your choice.
- Optional: A scoop of concentrated superfood powder, like the highly recommended Organifi Green Juice reviewed in detail here, will significantly increase the health benefits of this smoothie.
How to Make a Digestive Smoothie
- Chop and soak the cabbage in a bowl of hot water. Use a splash of apple cider vinegar if not organic. Drain, chop it up and throw it in the blender.
- Skin and chop up the pineapple into chunks your blender can handle. This can be quarters in a good one like this excellent blender I use, or smaller for low powered blenders. Make sure you include the core and if you don’t usually eat it when you have your pineapple. You can also save pineapple cores in the fridge specifically for smoothie recipes like this or the arthritis treatment smoothie.
- Cut your papaya in half and scoop out just a quarter of a teaspoon of the seeds into the blender. Scoop out the remaining seeds into a Tupperware container and freeze them for long-term storage and future smoothies. You can read about their many health benefits here.
- Scoop out around one third of one half of your papaya into the blender. The section near the stem may contain more digestive enzymes. Keep the rest in the fridge for other papaya smoothie recipes like this.
- Add the ginger, triphala and extra-virgin coconut oil.
- Pour in your kefir, yogurt or coconut water. Fill until it is around half way up the blender jug.
- Blend it all up on high until the consistency looks good to you. Enjoy it soon after making it for the best taste and digestive benefits.
When to Have This Intestinal Health Smoothie
The best time to drink this smoothie for digestion is around half an hour before a meal, particularly one often gives you trouble like a meal with meat, dairy or wheat.
Usually I recommend drinking your smoothies immediately for the best taste and health benefits. I can understand though making up a digestive remedy like this three times a day can be a challenge.
With this in mind, this smoothie recipe could be made up in the morning and around a third sipped on before eating cereal.
You could then keep in the fridge and have a third before lunch and the remainder just before dinner. If you choose to use the smoothie as an all day digestion aid like this I’d recommend making it up with coconut water or coconut milk as the milk-based kefir and yogurt will likely curdle if left too long.
Alternatively, just drink it all before what you know is likely to be a problematic meal, like one with lots of processed meat, bread or dairy (or all three like a pizza).
It can also be made up when you are already experiencing gastrointestinal pain and should help to relieve it. Prevention though is much easier if you have ongoing digestion problems.
Please let me know how this digestive smoothie for intestinal health goes for you if you make it up yourself. You may also want to consider this herbal tea that is particularly good as an emergency remedy for digestive problems.
There’s even more great tasting smoothies for health conditions here. Try this smoothie for better digestion or another one of these superfood recipes and you’ll know that medicine doesn’t have to taste bad after all.
Photo 1 & 3 credit: Emily Carlin