Fend off those nasty winter colds with this immune-boosting wild blueberry smoothie made with fresh ginger, green tea matcha powder, cinnamon, wild blueberries, and a frozen banana. I like to give my smoothies a protein bump with vanilla protein powder, but feel free to omit the powder and use some local honey instead for an added sweetness.
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
I don’t know about you, but at least here in Boston it seems like everyone has come down with a cold at some point over the past month. And it hasn’t just been a basic head cold. It’s a nasty head and chest cold that seems to linger for at least two weeks. Whether you’ve been lucky enough to avoid getting sick or are trying to avoid a round-two of feeling lousy, this smoothie will help keep those nasty germs at bay.
So how exactly will this smoothie give your body the immune boost it needs? I’m so glad you asked 😉
Blueberries. While we normally think of oranges or other citrus fruits when talking about vitamin C, blueberries are also a great source with about 20% of your daily vitamin C needs in 1 cup. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight infection by stimulating the production of antibodies, which are your body’s main defense against illnesses. I’m sure most of you are familiar with blueberries (hello blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins), but did you know there are two types of blueberries you can buy? There is are standard cultivated blueberries and then there are Wild Blueberries.
Wild Blueberries come from natural blueberry fields in Maine and Eastern Canada, which have been around for almost 10,000 years! Once picked, they are individually quick-frozen, which helps to lock in all of their nutritional benefits and tart-yet-sweet taste. Speaking of taste, unlike cultivated blueberries, since Wild Blueberries are truly wild, they are genetically diverse resulting in a more intense flavor. If you aren’t sold yet, then it’s also interesting to note that Wild Blueberries have been found to have twice the antioxidant capacity of larger, cultivated blueberries. This is important as antioxidants are important not just for immune health but also for boosting brain and gut health and prevent diabetes and some forms of cancer.
Ginger. Ginger honestly deserves a post all to itself in order to cover all of it’s health benefits, but today we’re just going to focus on it’s role in helping fight off illnesses. The main bioactive compound in ginger is called gingerol; it’s what gives ginger its distinctive taste and smell as well as is responsible for many of ginger’s health benefits. Gingerol has been found to lower the risk of infections by inhibiting the growth of many types of bacteria, and some research even suggests that gingerol is effective against the RSV virus, which is a common cause of respiratory infections. Plus, if you find yourself with an upset stomach from post-nasal drip (gross, I know), ginger is a great tummy-soother.
Matcha Powder. I’ve spoken about the benefits of matcha previously, but just to recap what matcha is: matcha is a powdered, high quality type of green tea that is grown a little differently than regular green tea resulting in higher levels of antioxidants and caffeine. It’s also been found to be more effective than regular green tea when it comes to inhibiting growth of bacteria and viruses.
Cinnamon. In addition to also being an antioxidant-powerhouse, cinnamon’s main active component called cinnamaldehyde has been shown to help fight viral infections and inhibit growth of certain bacteria. Additionally cinnamon oil specifically may help treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.
Bananas. In order to keep your immune system running at full strength, it needs an adequate amount of protein, essential fatty acids, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Five of these vitamins and minerals – vitamin B-6, copper, vitamin C, and folate are found in bananas. Plus, frozen bananas are the key to deliciously creamy smoothies 😉
Protein. Not just for muscle building, protein is essential for immune system health as antibodies are made of protein.
Phew, that’s a lot of nutrition-talk! But I’m always in awe at the power of food in keeping our bodies healthy and in cold-fighting shape.
So here’s a toast to a delicious way to stay healthy this winter!
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup wild frozen blueberries
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1.5 tsp matcha powder (culinary grade)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- Optional: 2 tsp local honey (I highly recommend if you don’t end up using protein powder)
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as desired. Pour into two glasses and drink up!