St.Patrick’s Day is around the corner, so let’s make a green drink (which does not involve vegetables)!
Recipe adapted from Eat the Gains
Ingredients (1 serving):
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
2 teaspoons matcha
½ tablespoon MCT oil
2 teaspoon monk fruit or 1-2 drops of liquid stevia
1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
Health Benefits of the Ingredients:
1. Almond Milk
Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), a type of healthy fats. Other key nutrients found in almonds include protein (for satiety), fiber (for satiety and digestive health), vitamin E (for antioxidants), magnesium (for muscle and nerve function and blood pressure and blood sugar regulation), and manganese (for protein and carbohydrate metabolism and bone development).
2. Coconut Milk
Coconut fats contain lauric acid that plays a role in raising the levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which functions to carry cholesterol from the blood vessel back to the liver for elimination.
Unique among dietary fats, coconut is mainly composed of saturated fatty acids (about 92%) with 62-70% being medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFA does not need pancreatic fat-digesting enzymes to be broken down, making it a readily available source of energy.
3. MCT Oil
Medium chain triglycerides or MCT are a type of dietary triglycerides with fatty acids that are 6 to 12 carbon atoms in length. Unlike long chain triglycerides or LCT (e.g., sunflower seed oil), MCT is more easily and rapidly digested and thus is a more readily available source of energy.
Since MCT is converted to MCFA, which are transported directly into the liver to be used as energy as opposed to being transported in the lymphatic system as in LCT, it is less susceptible to being deposited into fat cells.
Notably, MCT oil has been shown to increase satiety and reduce food intake.
Although some may consider coconut oil to be interchangeable to MCT oil, it is important to note that the two are not the same. Whereas coconut oil is composed mostly of lauric acid (carbon chain length 12), which is classified as either a medium-chain or a long-chain fatty acid but behaves more like a long-chain fatty acid in terms of digestion and metabolism, MCT oil is composed mainly of caprylic (carbon chain length 8) and capric (carbon chain length 10) fatty acids. Given that coconut oil contains fatty acids with a longer carbon chain length, it may be relatively more difficult to digest compared to pure MCT oil.
Of note, MCT oil can be derived from coconut oil but coconut oil and MCT oil are not interchangeable.
Matcha, also known as Japanese powdered green tea, contains a powerful antioxidant called polyphenols. Specifically, it is rich in (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main bioactive component in green tea that has been shown to exhibit not only anti-cancer effect via the inhibition of tumor growth and antioxidant effects but also anti-inflammatory effects via suppression of inflammatory cytokines (chemicals that are pro-inflammatory).
Additionally, EGCG may lower blood sugar by inhibiting starch digestion and improve cognitive function by inhibiting the production of reactive oxygen species that contribute to neurological disorders.
5. Monk Fruit
Monk fruit or Luo Han Guo is a low-calorie, non-sugar sweetener. Remarkably, the extract of monk fruit is about 300 times as sweet as sucrose.
Research has shown that the compound mogroside-V found within monk fruit have antitumor, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative properties.
Stevia contains the compound stevioside, which is a non-caloric natural herbal sweetener. Similar to monk fruit, it is 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar.
In one study, stevia consumption resulted in increased glucose tolerance and decreased blood glucose concentrations, thereby showing potential use in the management of type 2 diabetes.
7. Collagen Peptides
Collagen (the main structural protein in the skin, tendons, cartilage, and bones) functions to provide mechanical support, but its synthesis tends to decrease with age.
Hydroxyproline is a protein component of collagen. Several studies have shown that prolylhydroxyproline (Pro-Hyp) and hydroxyprolylglycine (HypGly) increase collagen synthesis, thereby improving hydration and elasticity and reducing wrinkles.
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