Fighting all that ails you with Aloe Vera

Posted on: 20th January, 2015

Category: Health

Contributor: Hannah Dare

Happy New Year from all of us at Organico – we sincerely hope you had a peaceful and happy holiday. We also hope you are feeling well – if not however we are here to help. We have lot of products to ease the aftermath of the Christmas period – a key one of which is Aloe Vera Juice.

Aloe vera is a bona fide superfood with a long list of health promoting benefits. It’s not the most pleasant tasting substance on its own, but blend it into a smoothie with the right ingredients and you’re left with a tasty, nutrient-dense, super drink. Perfect for starting the New Year off on the right foot!

Aloe vera has a long history of use dating all the way back to 1500 B.C. where the Egyptians recorded using it to treat burns, infections and parasites. Topical uses for aloe vera are more commonly known, but since we’re going to consume it in our smoothies let’s focus on the health benefits from internal use.

Aloe vera gel is made up of water, 20 minerals, 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids, and 200 active plant compounds or phytonutrients. Quite impressive! Years ago we used to hear a lot more about Aloe than recently; personally I think it is very under-rated but then we are a society that is always looking for the latest newest and shiniest cure-all. However familiar it may be, Aloe Vera is still one of the best natural tonics there is. It’s a powerful antioxidant and is highly alkalising which is a good thing for many of us after the over-indulgent Christmas period. Taken internally it is great for skin health (internal moisturising!).

However, over the years the most positive reports we have had on the benefits of Aloe would be regarding digestion, because it is so calming and healing to the lining of the gut and has been found to have a very positive effect on acid reflux, inflammatory digestive conditions and is very good for constipation. If your digestion is struggling after the last few weeks then aloe could be a good way to start your New Year.

If you have Aloe vera plants and want to use fresh aloe fillets, here’s a few tricks I’ve learned for getting rid of the bitter taste. After you cut a stem/leaf off the plant, stand it up in a glass and let the yellow sap drain…that’s the bitter part. Also, chill it before you put it in the smoothie. You can just leave it in the fridge overnight and fillet it before adding it to the smoothie. You can even freeze the fillets and add them to your blender straight from the freezer. The amount of gel you get from filleting fresh aloe leaves will vary.

If you don’t have an Aloe plant, most Health Food shops stock bottles of very high quality Pukka Organic hand filleted Aloe Juice (in Organico we have it on special offer at the moment). I would not recommend Aloe juice that is made from the ‘whole leaf’ which is commonly available – this make a juice that is far too bitter and the skin isn’t really meant to be consumed. The Pukka Aloe juice tastes is mild and pleasant, and the health benefits are more concentrated.

You should drink Aloe juice on it’s own for maximum digestive benefits; but here’s a nice smoothie recipe as an alternative. The measurements are approximate and you can use pineapple instead of mango; or banana and passion fruit is another combination that would be nice. Enjoy!

Aloe Vera Smoothie Recipe The Ingredients – per person 

1 cup almond or coconut milk,  1 medium aloe vera leaf, filleted (approximately 1/2 cup juice), 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup mango chunks, 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil or MCT oil, 1 handful of fresh basil, a little honey, maple syrup, or stevia to sweeten (optional). Some additions: 1 tablespoon coconut flakes or shreds, 1 tablespoon flax or chia seeds, 1 serving SuperLife Breakfast Topping (I particularly like the Acai flavour).

Blend all the ingredients and serve immediately. The additions don’t have to be blended – you can just mix them in or put them on top (the Chia seeds will absorb moisture and swell up if left too long so only put them on right before you eat).

You won’t need a high powered blender for this recipe, as the ingredients are mostly soft enough for a regular jug blender. As I have said previously though I would highly recommend a Nutri Bullet or similar for Green Smoothies.

If you want more recipes including green smoothie recipes have a look at a recent blog post at www.organico.ie. Or simply call in to see us in our newly renovated shop, we’d love to see you!

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Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

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