In addition to blended fruit/vegetables, smoothies may include other ingredients such as water, crushed ice, fruit juice, sweeteners (e.g. honey, sugar, syrup), dairy products (e.g. milk, yogurt, low fat or cottage cheese, whey powder), soy milk, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, tea, chocolate, herbal supplements, or nutritional supplements.
Factory-made smoothies may be pasteurized.
Smoothies include dietary fiber (e.g. pulp, often also skin and seeds) and so are thicker than fruit juice, with a consistency similar to a milkshake. The fiber makes smoothies healthier than fruit juice alone. Smoothies - particularly green smoothies (which include vegetables) - are often marketed to health-conscious people, for example as a healthier alternative to milkshakes. Most commercial smoothies, however, are high in carbohydrates due to added sugar, which is a downside smoothies have in common with most commercial soft drinks. Home-made smoothies without any addition of sugar can have less than 50% of carbs than their commercial counterparts. Besides, smoothies should not be consumed to quench thirst, since their nutritional value - not least w.r.t. carbohydrates - is still very high. Factory made smoothies may contain more sugar than Coke and the fact that they can be quickly swallowed without chewing effort makes them less effective in providing a lasting hunger-inhibiting effect than the consumption of their raw unblended ingredients (fruit, vegetables).
Green smoothies consist of typically 40-50% green vegetables - usually raw leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, celery, parsley or broccoli - the rest being mostly or entirely fruit. Most raw green leafy vegetables are bitter, but this can be ameliorated by suitable choice of fruit; for example, banana improves both the flavour and texture.
Green smoothies are healthier than other smoothies, as balanced diets recommend a substantial proportion of vegetables (particularly green leafy ones), and are arguably a type of health shake. Hence they are popular among the health conscious, such as advocates of raw foodism.
Some blender manufacturers specifically target their products towards making green smoothies, and provide a booklet of green smoothie recipes.
Green smoothies have been growing rapidly in popularity since the early 2000s.
Around the world
Smoothies have become increasingly popular worldwide since the 1990s, due in part to being factory-produced (usually in bottles), enabling them to be sold via supermarkets and other mass-market outlets. However, they have a much longer history in various countries.
Health food stores on the West Coast of the United States began selling smoothies in the 1930s, thanks to the invention of the electric blender, and based on recipes that originated in Brazil. The actual term 'smoothie' was in use in recipes and trademarks by the mid-1930s.
By the late 1960s, smoothies were widely sold across the US by ice cream vendors as well as health food stores. They were mainly made from fruit, fruit juice, and ice, though from the early 1970s, ice milk was sometimes added to create the "fruit shake".
In 1973 Steve Kuhnau founded Smoothie King. He setup numerous smoothie bars across the the United States and popularised adding healthy ingredients such as vitamins and protein powder into the smoothies. As smoothies became more popular and prominent, large companies decided to make pre-bottled smoothies and sell them in supermarkets.
Many types of smoothie are found in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. Fruit sharbats typically include yogurt and honey. In India, the mango lassi is a smoothie or milkshake including crushed ice, yogurt and sometimes sugar; in South India, pineapple smoothies using crushed ice and sugar (without yogurt) are more popular. Smoothies are also mixed with soft drinks and/or alcohol to make cocktails.
- O'Brian, Betty Sue (2009). Going Green the Smoothie Way. ISBN 0-578-02306-7
- Boutenko, Victoria "Ode to a Green Smoothie", first published 2005 newsletter, RawFamily.com. Reprinted in Kyssa, Natasha (2009). The SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox Manual, beginning p.29. ISBN 1-55152-250-0.
- Zavasta, Tonya (2009), "Smooth Moves: Enjoy the Benefit of Green Smoothies and Puddings", Raw Food and Hot Yoga, p. 39, ISBN 0-9742434-9-3,
A green smoothie...is a mixture of about 60 percent fruit and 40 percent leafy greens blended together in a delicious, nourishing beverage.
- Smith Jones, Susan (2008). Health Bliss, p.179. ISBN 1-4019-1241-9. "...about 50-60 percent fruit and 40-50 percent greens."
- Caldwell, Kim (2009) How Green Smoothies Saved My Life: A Guide for Using Green Smoothies, Uplifted Thinking, and Live Food to Enhance Your Life, p.12. ISBN 0-615-30290-4.
- (Nov 2008 - Jan 2009). Organic Gardening, p.44. Vol. 56, No. 1. ISSN 1536-108X.
- Brown, Ellen (2005). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Smoothies. p. 3. ISBN 1-59257-318-5.