With the winter season in full force here (it’s 0°F with a windchill of -15°F), it’s important to keep the immune system strong. This smoothie is packed with tons of vitamins and nutrients, and the ingredients are so bright and sunny that I’m instantly transported to a licuado stand spilling with fruit in Mexico City.
Nopales are the flat, oval-shaped stems of the cactus plant that have been eaten for centuries in Mexico. The juice extracted from the nopal has anti-inflammatory properties and is an immune-booster. It is also packed with antioxidants that are said to prevent premature aging and promote cellular health.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that digests food by breaking down protein (this is why you can’t use fresh pineapple in Jello. It breaks up the amino acids of the gelatin.) Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties. Regular consumption of pineapple is helpful for people with arthritis.
Oranges are known for having good amounts of vitamin C, but they also contain a phytochemical called naringenin. It has been shown to reduce oxidation to DNA.
Finally, celery is rich in vitamin K, which increases bone mass. Who knew?! It also limits neuronal damage in the brain.
You can’t go wrong with this vitamin-packed smoothie. The best part is that it tastes delicious. It also makes me want to sell licuados on a street corner in Mexico City for the rest of my life. Stay warm and healthy!
Licuado de Piña y Nopal
Click here for printable recipe.
Pineapple and Cactus Smoothie (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
1/2 cup fresh nopal (cactus paddle), cubed
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup water
6-inch piece of celery
→Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on medium-high for 1-2 minutes.
→Pour juice through a fine-mesh strainer to remove fibrous pulp. Push the liquid through the strainer with the back of spoon. Enjoy!
- *You can buy nopal (cactus paddle) at Mexican/Latin grocery store. It is best when tender and fresh.
Recipe Source: Me 🙂