Are smoothies upsetting your stomach?

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Generally speaking I am a big fan of smoothies, I use them as a yummy way to get more veggies into my day and because they are fun, delicious and easy. I do however, have some guidelines that I wanted to share with you, because despite their many benefits, they could be contributing to your digestive discomfort.

Try these 6 tips and see how this changes your gut.

1. Drink at room temperature.

Digestive enzymes work best around 37 degrees celsius (our bodies temperature). Following naturopathic philosophies, by consuming a glass full of cold liquid you can create an suboptimal temperature environment for these enzymes to function and digest your food.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), excess cold fluids deplete your digestive heat. This can slow digestion create bloating and constipation. 

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2. Use a warming spice.

Another way to add warmth to your smoothie is by adding spices, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne (if you are keen) causing a thermogenic action (heat production) which supports digestion and feelings of satiety (1).

3. Keep fruit to a minimum

A great question to ask yourself is 'how many whole pieces of fruit would you eat in one sitting?' Yep, same goes for smoothies. Although full of wonderful nutrients and fibre, keep fruit as an addition rather the base of your drink to keep your blood sugar levels and satiety levels happy. I keep it to 1/2-1 piece of fruit depending on its sweetness and what flavour i'm aiming for (2, 3).

4. Sip slowly

Smoothies will carry a lot of different ingredients and most of the time these are raw. Your gut will cope better if you sip, rather skull (4).

5. Be mindful if you have digestion issues, especially with fibre.

When you blend the fibre from fruits and vegetable into a smoothie, you body still has to digest it. Albeit easier, if you still experience bloating, indigestion and discomfort, it may be worth exploring if you have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you identify with these symptoms it's time to reach to a professional to help in the identification, treatment and management process (5).

6. Be mindful of what is in your smoothie and when you have it

I'm not one for counting calories, but if you are looking to lose weight or if you feel better having lighter meals, be mindful of smoothies. You can pack a whole lot of food into this innocent (but delicious) looking drink. By the time you may have added dried fruit, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, nut butters, avocado, fruits, protein powder or 'superfood' powders to your smoothie, you can create a pretty dense meal.

By all means, create a smoothie that keeps you full, but be mindful of how it makes you feel and when you have it e.g. is it serving as your energy fuelling breakfast or your 'light' snack?

Bonus tip: Have veggies makes up a large percentage of your smoothie, nutritious and fibre-rich without necessarily adding calories. Check out my formula for the perfect smoothie, it's a safe, loose guideline that still allows you to get creative.

Trust your gut feeling. Reach out and start your journey to optimal health today.