Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Garcinia Cambogia


Add a Boost with Trim & Fit Blend, featuring Garcinia Cambogia

The fruit of a tree from Southeast Asia, garcinia cambogia is known for being a fat buster. It does this in two ways. Firstly, garcinia cambogia makes people feel fuller, faster usually causing them to eat less without even trying. Secondly it actually blocks some fats from being absorbed by the body, though it doesn’t stop uptake of other nutrients.

Specifically, it prevents the body from forming an enzyme that helps turn carbohydrates, like sugar, into fat cells.  Scientists say that this amazing property is due to the high concentration of hydrocitric acid, or HCA for short in garcinia cambogia, which is also know as Malibar tamarind, gambooge, assam fruit or brindleberry depending on where in the world you live.

In addition to the fat-blocking and satiety-promoting traits mentioned above, Dutch researchers studying HCA found it did something very interesting. It slowed glucose uptake which in turn eliminated post-meal glucose spikes.

You may ask yourself why this is important.  Well, as anyone with diabetes will tell you, glucose absorption requires insulin. The more glucose, the more insulin is required. A sugar-rich meal requires the body to release a very large supply of insulin in a very short amount of time.  By spreading out the body’s uptake of glucose for a much longer time span – two hours for subjects receiving HCA versus 20 minutes for those not receiving HCA – the body can replenish its insulin supply much more leisurely and naturally levels out the customary blood sugar peaks and valleys that often occur after eating sugary meals.

As if all that wasn’t enough, scientists are also becoming interested in the effect that garcinia cambogia – through its active natural compound HCA – has on raising serotonin levels and lowering stress hormones.

Smoothie Essential’s “Add a Boost with Fit and Trim Blend, featuring Garcinia Cambogia 50%” provides a non-genetically modified source of this amazing fruit, and the garcinia cambogia used has a 50 percent concentration HCA, the optimum level of the active plant compound shown to be so beneficial.


Trim and Fit label

Trim and Fit label


The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Inulin


Add a Boost with Trim & Fit Blend, featuring Inulin

Inulin, a starchy substance produced by the roots of certain plants such as chicory, is becoming a more and more common as people look for ways to get more fiber in their diets. Once unheard of, inulin is a common ingredient of high-fiber food products such as breads and muffins.

A soluble fiber, inulin is considered a compound known as a fructan, and has health benefits similar to other fibers from fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Considered pre-biotic, meaning it stimulates the growth of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract, inulin provides the perfect environment for bifidobacteria, the pro-biotic bacteria in yogurt that we all know is so good for our guts.

These helpful bacteria, in turn, maintain healthy digestion and improve nutrient absorption. When good bacteria have the right environment and nutrition it is harder for “bad” types of invasive bacteria to get a foothold.

Research seems to indicate that inulin is particularly beneficial with regards to calcium uptake, which is necessary for strong and healthy bones. It has even been show to improve bone mineral density in teenagers and may have an effect of magnesium uptake.

Inulin is also near zero on the glycemic index, making it a good choice for diabetics, particularly those with type 2 diabetes, and others looking to reduce sugar in their diets. It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, the fats that thicken the bloodstream and clog arteries. Of course, as a fiber, inulin relieves constipation.

Since inulin is a powder, it can be added to almost any kind of recipe – like breads and yogurt – without adding grit. The food industry often uses it as a substitute for fats and sugars since it lends itself to a variety of favors and textures, unlike bran.

Dietary sources of fructan include agave, dandelion, jicama, jerusalem artichoke and onion, though its found in trace amounts in most root vegetables and levels can vary depend on when in the season they were harvested. Plants use inulin to store energy, mostly in their roots.

Maybe it’s time to see if this high fiber pre-biotic is right for you.


Trim and Fit label

Trim and Fit label

The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Wheat Bran


Add a Boost with Fiber Blend, featuring Wheat Bran

Bran, the hard outer coating of all cereal grains such as wheat, is the nutrient dense layer that gets stripped away by the modern industrial food process. In losing the bran we loose what is perhaps the most important part of the grain. Rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, wheat bran is one of the supplements most commonly recommended by doctors.

And no wonder.  A high-fiber diet helps prevent all sorts of ailments, including colon cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, diverticulitis and hemorrhoids.   It is also often the first thing doctors recommend for constipation, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Yet the average American consumes only about 15 grams of dietary fiber daily, despite recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that most adult women consume at least 25 grams per day and men 38 grams per day.

Technically, fiber is the indigestible part of plant matter that is left over after our stomachs and intestines have absorbed its nutrients, and fiber has an important role to play in health by helping move waste though the digestive system.

There are two types of fiber important to digestion and regular bowel function – soluble and insoluble. Both are vital for proper digestive health.  Wheat bran is incredibly high in insoluble fiber, so named because it does not dissolve in water. This provides a valuable bulking material that helps form solid stools which can easily pass through our bodies while providing a necessary and healthy cleansing of our so-called plumbing.

Wheat bran, in particular, is valuable as a source of manganese which helps prevent osteoporosis and joint problems. It also contains significant amounts of magnesium, iron, phosphorous and a number of B vitamins.

Added to smoothies, muffins and a number of tasty treats, wheat bran is an easy and healthy way to add back to our diets something nature always intended we eat.


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The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Oat Bran


Add a Boost with Fiber Blend, featuring Oat Bran

The world-renowned Mayo clinic recommends oats and oat bran as the number one food you can consume to lower your cholesterol level.  This is because oat bran is incredibly high in soluble fiber, one of two types of fiber – the other being insoluble fiber such as wheat bran – we need for a healthy digestive system.

Soluble fiber, so-called because it dissolves in water, reduces the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad”cholesterol we hear so much about.

Famous physician and healthy living guru Dr. Deepak Chopra likens oat bran and soluble fiber to a sponge that soaks up bad cholesterol in your system. Even adding just a moderate amount to your diet can lower you risk of heart disease, and if you already have heart disease, oat bran can slow it’s progression.

He also claims most Americans get less than half of the dietary fiber they should, and that to reap the cholesterol-lowering benefits of soluble fiber most adults need five to 10 grams per day. What’s more, it can also reduce a person’s chances of becoming diabetic.

Oat bran contains 76 grams of soluble fiber per cup, according to the USDA. Adding just a few spoons to your diet daily is an easy way to ensure you get enough soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber works by mixing with water in your intestines, forming a gelatin-like substance with prebiotic properties that can be fermented in the colon. It slows digestion, giving your colon longer to pull valuable nutrients out of your food as you digest it.

Aside from the fiber, oat bran is low in calories, contains a fair amount of B vitamins, helps keep blood glucose levels steady and can fill you up more easily and keep diet-busting munchies at bay.

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The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Spirulina


Add a Boost with Green Blend, featuring Spirulina

High in protein, iron and B vitamins, Spirulina is the name given to blue-green algae, a diverse group of simple, plant-like organisms that live in most salt water and some large, tropical and subtropical fresh water lakes.  For centuries it has been harvested by humans and used as both a food and a medicine.

Many today use spirulina for weight loss or to improve their immune systems, allergies, energy levels, anxiety, wound healing, metabolism, memory, precancerous mouth lesions, cholesterol levels, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), viral infections, digestion and depression.

At about 60 percent protein by volume, spirulina is also considered a complete protein – meaning it’s protein contains all nine essential amino acids the body needs in adequate proportions. Protein is the body’s building block, needed to make most tissues. It also serves as fuel and is necessary for growth and maintenance throughout life.

Many contend that the iron in spirulina is more readily absorbed by the body than other types of iron found in plants and most dietary supplements. Also known as Cyanobacteria, the scientific name for blue-green algae, spirulina is high in vitamin E, beta-carotene, copper, selenium, manganese, zinc, and gamma linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid.

Check with your doctor before taking spirulina if you take immunosuppressants since the immune-boosting properties of spirulina can counteract the drug’s effect in some cases. The same goes for patients on anticoagulant therapy as spirulina contains high levels of Vitamin K, which promotes healthy blood clotting.

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that spirulina shows promise in protecting against cirrhosis and liver damage in people with chronic hepatitis, though they caution that more research is needed to make definitive statements on efficacy.

NASA, the U.S. space agency, has even investigated spirulina as one of the main food sources for long-term space missions.

While increasingly popular as a superfood today for all the reasons mentioned above, Mesoamericans were eating spirulina long before Europeans arrived in the Americas. The Aztecs harvested it from Lake Texcoco, the lake that surrounded their capital city, Tenotchtitlan. Most of the lake was drained when the Spanish built Mexico City over the Aztec capital and spirulina production all but disappeared after 1600 until the first large-scale, commercial production began nearby in the 1970’s.

Since then, production has spread across much of the world, with major producers including the United States, Thailand, India, Greece and Chile.  Spirulina also has a long history of being harvested in Chad, where it is traditionally dried into cakes that are used for soups and broths. Some evidence exists that blue-green algae has been harvested from the waters around Lake Chad since the 9th century.