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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Functional Foods For Winter Smoothies

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ake the most of your smoothies this winter by including functional foods that may boost your immunity and calm inflammation.  Functional foods are foods that offer positive health benefits beyond their nutritional value.  Here I have selected cranberries, turmeric, black pepper, and cinnamon. Experiment and let us know how it goes – tag your successes and photos on Instagram and Facebook using @livingplate to share with our community. Happy blending!

Cranberries:  Whole cranberries have been shown to many health benefits.  Notably, they are rich in antioxidants that protect the cardiovascular system and offer anti-cancer benefits. They also make the bladder inhospitable to bacteria, therefore protecting against UTI’s [urinary tract infections.]

Turmeric + Black Pepper:  These two foods have compounds that work synergistically to calm inflammation.

Cinnamon:  Research has shown that cinnamon can positively impact post-meal blood glucose levels.  It has also been found to reduce cholesterol levels.

Cranberry Crush Smoothie

This season’s tiniest health hero!  Researchers have long reported the benefits of consuming cranberries.  Several systems, including digestive, urinary, and cardiovascular may be positively impacted by this crimson nugget.  Sweetness of this smoothie largely depends on the sweetness of grapefruit, so add stevia as needed.

Serves 1


1 cup vanilla coconut milk beverage

1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 red grapefruit, peeled and seeded

1-2” fresh ginger root, shredded [adjust for desired spiciness]

Stevia to taste


Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy.

Peppered Turmeric Smoothie

The anti-inflammatory health benefit of curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, is well established.  There are two things you can do to significantly increase post-consumption levels in your blood.  First, consume turmeric with some healthy fat like coconut oil, avocado, nuts or nut milk.  Second, include black pepper in the mix.  Black pepper contains piperine, a compound which prevents curcumin from being cleared from the body too quickly.  The result is higher levels of circulating curcumin making your blood stream a super highway of anti-inflammatory power!

Serves 1


1 seedless orange, peeled and quartered

1/2 cup frozen chopped pineapple

1/2 frozen banana, chopped

1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk [or other nut milk]

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon +  ginger, grated [adjust for desired spiciness]

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy.

Recipes courtesy of Living Plate Nutrition Education and Counseling Center located in Far Hills, NJ. 

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