This recipe was courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis, 2008, and modified by Naturopathic Doctor Sarah Giardenelli.
This smoothie is an example of a healthier, sweet treat using honey and basil. The original recipe called for a simple syrup made of sugar, however, Sarah chose to make the simple sugar out of honey instead.
Honey is a natural substance with many medicinal effects such as antibacterial, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, reproductive, antihypertensive, and antioxidant effects. Newer research also demonstrats honey as a novel antioxidant! We don’t tend to think of honey as an antioxidant. Eventhough honey is sweet, it has been shown to reduce hyperglycemia in both diabetic rats and humans. Here are a few links to abstracts that help us to understand why this might be:
Even though we tend to think of fructose as evil, it seems as though the fructose in the honey plays a role in stimulating the processing of sugar through the liver. Interesting, right!? Not all sweets are bad. It’s just choosing the right ones in moderation.
As for basil, it is one of my favorite herbs to cook with and it also has some wonderful health benefits. Like most leafy greens, it is high in vitamin K, which is important for helping to get the calcium absorbed into the bones. It also has high amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and magnesium. The flavinoids in basil confer DNA protecting effects and the volatile oils of all members of the mint family (which, basil is a member of) tend to be antimicrobial. The volatile oils in basil are also anti-inflammatory. In regards to consuming basil, since most benefits come from the volatile oils, it is best to consume it raw or lightly cooked (i.e. pesto sauce, which is just mixed in with the pasta after the pasta is done cooking. To learn more about some of the health benefits of basil, check this site out.
- 1 1/4 cup of plain yogurt
- 1 cup packed, fresh basil leaves (can also add some lemon leaves and mint, if desired)
- 1 1/2 cup of lemon simple syrup (made with water, lemon zest, and melted, raw honey instead of sugar)
- 1 cup of ice
In a blender, combine the yogurt, basil, lemon simple syrup, and ice. Blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into frosted glasses and serve immediately. Yields 4 6 ounce servings.