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Healthy Blueberry and Cashew Butter Smoothie Recipe and Benefits

Linda Crampton is a teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys exploring nutrition as well as the culture and history of food.

Green smoothie using cashew butter and blueberries.

Green smoothie using cashew butter and blueberries.

Smoothie Meals

I love making and drinking smoothies. They’re quick and easy to create and it’s fun to experiment with new ingredients and flavors. With the right ingredients, a smoothie can be delicious and nutritious. It can be an enjoyable addition to a meal or even a meal in itself.

The smoothie in my recipe contains blueberries, which are said to have great health benefits, and cashew butter, which gives a delicious flavor to the smoothie and contains healthy fats. It also contains salad greens, making it a green smoothie. The apple, banana, and carrot provide nutrients and natural sweetness. The milk provides protein. Non-dairy milks like soy milk or hemp milk would also be a good source of protein.

I like to make each of my smoothies a balanced meal, with protein, carbohydrates, good fats, and a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) from both fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients are chemicals in plants that aren't essential to keep us alive but are thought to have important health benefits, such as decreasing the risk of certain diseases.

Like other smoothies, the recipe in this article isn't low in calories, but it does contain healthy ingredients and is loaded with nutrients. It's great to drink as a meal, as a meal accompaniment, or as a snack, depending on the quantity that's drunk.

Smoothie Recipe

Yield: 2 servings (as a meal accompaniment) or 1 serving (as a meal)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana
  • 1 cored apple with its peel
  • 1 cup dark green salad greens (such as romaine lettuce)
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 tablespoons of cashew butter
  • 1 cup milk or enriched non-dairy milk

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend. (Note: If your blender isn’t very powerful you might want to chop the larger fruits and vegetables into small pieces and blend the ingredients in more than one stage, gradually mixing them together.)
  2. Pour into glasses and serve.

I make this smoothie quite often. It's a good way to make sure that I get some useful nutrients and I love its taste. It's mildly sweet, which I like, but if you'd like more sweetness you can add a healthy sweetener. Extra smoothie keeps well in the refrigerator, at least until later in the day. I enjoy drinking it so much that I never leave it to the next day.

A delicious green smoothie loaded with nutrients

A delicious green smoothie loaded with nutrients

Apples are nutritious and naturally sweet.

Apples are nutritious and naturally sweet.

Healthy Fruits

All berries are very healthy, but blueberries seem to have special benefits. Surveys and experiments suggest (though don't prove) that blueberries help to prevent memory loss and even improve memory, especially as we age. The berries are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese and contain smaller amounts of many other vitamins and minerals.

Apples are also a good source of vitamin C. Apple skin contains polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant. These polyphenols may reduce inflammation in our bodies, although more research needs to be done to confirm this. Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.

I try to include whole, unpeeled fruits in my smoothies instead of using fruit juices so that I obtain both the soluble and the insoluble fiber from the fruit. Each type of fiber has its own health benefits. Soluble fiber helps to lower the blood sugar level and the level of cholesterol in the blood. Insoluble fiber, which is generally found in the peels of fruits, is beneficial for gut health. Whenever unpeeled fruits are eaten they should be washed thoroughly. I make sure that I buy organic fruit if I'm going to eat the peel, even though I always wash the fruit.

Both cultivated and wild blueberries are very nutritious.

Both cultivated and wild blueberries are very nutritious.

Wild or Cultivated Blueberries

Both cultivated and wild blueberries are good in smoothies. Although the term "wild blueberries" implies that people go into nature and forage for the berries, this image isn't correct. Wild blueberries are not planted and are wild in origin, but they are also a managed crop. They spread by underground rhizomes. Land is cleared for the blueberries to allow them to spread, they are pruned as necessary, and weeds and pests are removed.

The production of wild blueberries has become a major industry in the northeastern section of North America, including in Maine and New Brunswick, where the berries grow naturally. Wild blueberries are also known as lowbush blueberries.

Both wild and cultivated blueberries are very nutritious fruits. Research has shown that the wild berries contain more antioxidants than the cultivated ones, however. Antioxidants are substances that prevent a chemical reaction known as oxidation in our bodies. This may reduce damage to our cells.

I nearly always have frozen blueberries in my freezer so that they can added to multiple meals and hopefully provide me with health benefits. I buy fresh ones when I can, though.

Health Benefits of Wild Blueberries

Nutritious Vegetables

Carrots are extremely rich in beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Our bodies change beta-carotene into the form of vitamin A that we need. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and several B vitamins. They contain a useful amount of several minerals as well, especially potassium and manganese.

I add green vegetables such as the darker salad greens to all my smoothies. Nutritionists tell us that we should have at least three to five servings of vegetables each day, so I like to add them to as many meals and snacks as possible. Salad greens contain beneficial nutrients, especially beta-carotene, vitamin K, and folate, and are much lower in sugar than fruits.

Since the green vegetables are mixed with fruits and nut butter in the recipe below, they don’t overpower the taste of the smoothie. If you'd like a stronger taste, you could add more greens and/or less fruit or choose a different variety of leafy green. This change might also reduce the number of calories in the drink, depending on whether other alterations are made. Smoothies can easily be adapted to one's preferences.

I include dark salad greens, carrots, and cashew butter in the smoothie.

I include dark salad greens, carrots, and cashew butter in the smoothie.

Healthy Fat

Cashew butter is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Researchers have found that these fats lower the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This is the so-called "bad" cholesterol. When it's present in an excessive amount, it contributes to the buildup of plaque in the linings of our arteries and increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Cashew butter also contains protein and useful quantities of minerals. It’s a good source of magnesium and copper and contains a significant amount of zinc and iron.

There are two additional benefits of adding a good fat to a smoothie. It helps the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from the fruits and vegetables and helps us to maintain a stable blood sugar level after the ingestion of the fruits. There is sugar (mainly in the form of fructose) in both the fruits and the carrots.

Health Benefits of Cashews and Other Nuts

Protein

Both dairy and non-dairy milk work well in the recipe. I like to use a milk that contains some protein to add to the protein in the cashew butter. I also like to use a milk that is low in fat, since there is already fat in the smoothie from the cashew butter.

Dairy milk and enriched non-dairy milk provide the vitamin B12 and vitamin D which the fruits, vegetables, and cashew butter lack. It's a great idea to add as many nutrients as possible to a smoothie.

A scoop of protein powder would also enrich the smoothie. Protein powder may not be natural, but it is nutritious. Both whey and vegan protein powders are available. They come in different flavors, including chocolate, which is my favorite. It pays to check the label on the container carefully to discover what is in the protein powder and how it is prepared.

Bananas add thickness and sweetness to smoothies.

Bananas add thickness and sweetness to smoothies.

Non-dairy milk made from hemp seeds contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Non-dairy milk made from hemp seeds contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

References

  • Blueberries may boost memory in older adults from the U.S. National Library of Medicine
  • Blueberries and cognition from the American Chemical Society
  • Colorful fruits and antioxidants from WebMD
  • Cholesterol information from the Mayo Clinic
  • Nutrients in raw cashews from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture); the database also shows nutrients in the other items in my recipe. Click on "Food Search" and enter the name of the desired food.
  • Nutrients in carrots from SELFNutritionData (This database uses the USDA data but has the added advantage of giving the percent daily value.)
  • The importance of eating vegetables from the Choose My Plate USDA site
  • Facts about monounsaturated fats from the U.S. Library of Medicine
  • Soluble and insoluble fiber facts from WebMD

© 2012 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 20, 2016:

Thanks for visiting. Kristen. I hope you enjoy the smoothie if you make it.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 20, 2016:

Sounds interesting and tempting to make this winter. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2012:

Thank you, Prasetio! I love drinking this smoothie, and like all my smoothies I try to make it healthy as well as delicious.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 26, 2012:

I love this smoothie. It sound delicious and healthy as well. I can't wait to make it soon. Rated up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2012:

Thank you very much for the comment and the rating, Om Paramapoonya! I appreciate your visit.

Om Paramapoonya on February 25, 2012:

I've never put cashew butter in a smoothie before, so this is absolutely a must-try recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. Rated waaayyyyyy up! :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 22, 2012:

Thank you for the vote, Lesley! I put blueberries in most of my smoothies, since they have such important health benefits, and I love cashew butter too, so that often ends up in the smoothie as well!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on February 22, 2012:

I love cashew nuts and blueberries, so this is a smoothie for me!

Many thanks and voting up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 22, 2012:

Hi, Eddy. Thanks for the visit and the comment. Have a great day too!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 22, 2012:

Thank you for commenting and for the vote, cookingrecipes!

Eiddwen from Wales on February 22, 2012:

Another great recipe for me to bookmark Alicia so thank you so much for sharing.

Take care and have a wonderful day.

Eddy.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 20, 2012:

Thank you for the comment, teaches12345. I try to make my smoothies nutritious and delicious at the same time!

Dianna Mendez on February 20, 2012:

This smoothie recipe has just about everything you need to keep healthy. It is also a great way to make breakfast a good start for the day.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 20, 2012:

Thanks for the visit and the vote, Tom! If you make the smoothie I hope that you like it.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on February 20, 2012:

Hi Alicia, sound like it would be a very good tasting and healthy smoothie, I'll have to give it a try !

Vote up !!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 20, 2012:

I like fruit and yogurt smoothies, too, Imogen, as well as nut butter smoothies! Thanks for the comment.

Imogen French from Southwest England on February 20, 2012:

mmm, sounds delicious and very healthy. I think it's time I was more adventurous than my usual fruit and yogurt smoothies and will have to give this a try!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 19, 2012:

Hi, lucybell21. Thanks for the visit and the comment. I love smoothies too - they're a great way to get nutrients.

Bonny OBrien from Troy, N.Y. on February 19, 2012:

I love smoothies. They are one of my favorites, and give me a good pick me up. I never thought of cashew butter. Great hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 19, 2012:

Thank you, Casey. I add nut butters to all sorts of food too! They taste delicious.

Casey Strouse from Phoenix, Arizona on February 19, 2012:

I never thought to include nut butters in a smoothie. I add cashew, peanut, and almond butter to all sorts of other things though. Great tip.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 19, 2012:

Thanks for the comment, Sharicey. I hope that you enjoy the smoothie!

Sharice from Rhode Island on February 19, 2012:

Sounds like just the thing I need. Thanks I can't wait to give this recipe a try!