Tomorrow is Valentines Day. A day to show that special someone how much you love them. This year I’ve decided to show my heart how much I love it. That’s right, I’m turning my back on Valentines traditions and showing my heart some love:
And what better way to show your heart some love than with a nourishing smoothie packed with foods to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s made in the liver. Only foods derived from animals have cholesterol and not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, we need cholesterol. It’s used in the building of cell walls and making of some hormones, vitamin D and bile salts (needed for the digestion of fat). Lucky for us our body produces enough cholesterol and therefore dietary cholesterol is not only unnecessary, it can be harmful to the body.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada and cholesterol, specifically LDL cholesterol, should not be ignored as a contributing factor. LDL cholesterol stands for low-density-lipoproteins and is the stuff that sticks to the inside of our blood vessels. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is high-density-lipoproteins and is the stuff that grabs cholesterol from the blood vessels and brings it back to the liver (where it will be processed and sent out of the body). Enough physiology yet?
Okay, here’s the recipe for the smoothie and then I’ll go into why this smoothie is “cholesterol conquering”:
Cholesterol Conquering Smoothie
Creamy, sweet and satisfying. This smoothie is good for your heart and your taste buds!
- 1/4 cup dry red lentils
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup kale, washed and stem removed
- 1 orange, peeled and seeds removed
- 1 tbsp pistachios
- Add red lentils and water to a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer (approximately 10 minutes) or until water is absorbed and lentils are very soft.
- Stir rolled oats into cooked lentils and let cool to room temperature.
- Add non-dairy milk, orange juice, kale, orange and pistachios to a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix).
- Add the lentil-oat mixture and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and do your body some good!
Yes, that’s a plush heart. Yes, I love it. And yes, I Heart Guts makes all different organs! Awesome.
Okay, back to some good old physiology. So how can this smoothie support you in lowering your cholesterol? Oranges, oats and lentils have soluble fiber that helps grab cholesterol and carry it out of the body and pistachios have phytosterols, which basically block cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood. This smoothie is by no means a cure for high cholesterol, but it is a delicious way to incorporate foods that can support your body in naturally reducing your LDL cholesterol. With that said, I’m no doctor- so listen to your doctor, do your own research and do what you think is best for you body.
Most importantly, show yourself some love this Valentines Day and nourish your body!
Calories: 356.5, Fat: 8.7 g (0.7 g saturated), Carbohydrates: 61.8 g, Fiber: 12.4 g, Sugar: 30 g, Protein: 12.3 g