Smoothies are the perfect meal planning tool. Fruit and veggies, grains and nuts, they all come together in a single cup of ultimate nourishment. Do you want to lose weight? There's a shake for that. Need extra energy after the gym? Smoothies to the rescue. Today, we bring you something special: A relaxing smoothie made with edible lavender flowers.
The lavender flower has a fragrant smell and a lush purple colour. Take just a brief sniff at a lavender sachet and a sense of calm and serenity will gently take over. It's not a coincidence. Lavender is famous for its anti-anxiety properties, and it's widely used in medicines and herbal teas to calm your nerves.
What makes lavender so relaxing? When compounds from this plant enter our system, they affect a variety of essential brain circuits which play a crucial role in modulating your mood and sleep. They act as a brake on your nerves, making you feel calm and happy. In simple terms, lavender helps you chill.
To make the ultimate anti-anxiety smoothie, we looked for other healthy ingredients that also help release stress. We chose spinach, matcha green tea powder, dark chocolate, and a mix of nuts and grains, as well as banana and yogurt for extra creaminess and nutrients. We talk more about the properties of these ingredients in the FAQ below.
You may think matcha is not soothing, as it contains caffeine. We wrote an in-depth article comparing the different effects coffee and matcha have on our bodies. In short, matcha contains the compound L-theanine which coffee lacks. This chemical counteracts the stressing effect of caffeine, keeping you energized but calm and focused at the same time.
Good for your mind, this smoothie is also good for your body as it provides 2 of your 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables, proteins, fibres, and low GI carbs. It makes a balanced and nutritious drink, perfect for a healthy breakfast or afternoon snack.
So how do you feel about bringing the scent and taste of spring wherever you go? Let's make this beautiful lavender smoothie together!
Can I eat edible-lavender raw?
You can eat lavender flowers raw, as long as you don't have more than a pinch. Lavender is very potent, so moderation is essential when eating it.
Overeating lavender can result in constipation, nausea and headaches .
The problem with eating uncooked lavender is that it's dry and hard to swallow. You can still add raw culinary lavender to your dishes to add a decorative touch, but there are better ways to eat lavender flowers.
For example, you can steep the dried lavender in boiling water to make a calming tea, as we did in our anti-anxiety smoothie recipe above. You can then add this infusion to cake mixes, drinks, and more. Be creative with lavender: you can rarely go wrong!
To learn more about different ways to use lavender in the kitchen, check our FAQ below.
What are all the ways to use edible lavender in the kitchen?
Lavender flowers make more than cute wardrobe sachets. We can use lavender to add a floral vibe to our dishes, to indulge in the inebriating scent of blossoming fields in spring.
But how exactly do we go from plant to plate? Let's take a look at the various forms culinary lavender can take and how to use them.
Just like vanilla, you can buy lavender in either solid or liquid form. Some of these products can be used for both bakes and drinks, while others work best for precise use cases.
You can buy solid lavender as either flower buds or sugar paste (aka lavender gum paste or lavender sugar paste).
Gum paste is ideal for decorating cakes, but little else. Flowers instead are more versatile. You can sprinkle the florets straight over your creation, ground them and mix with baking flour, or turn them into tea or syrup.
We recommend you buy lavender flowers if possible, as you can use them for shakes, cocktails, and bakes. And while you ponder on for the perfect occasion to use them, they will fill your home with a delightful scent.
Lavender flowers have a potent taste, and you will seldom need more than a pinch or so. For example, in our lavender smoothie recipe above, we simmered just one teaspoon of flowers in water and got a rich-flavoured lavender infusion to blend with yogurt.
You can also buy lavender in liquid form, as either culinary essence or edible essential oil. Both of these options are very concentrated, so you would only use a drop or two, compared to a full teaspoon worth of florets. Lavender essence is ideal for making cocktails, whenever excessive water dilution is undesirable.
Lavender pairs well with so many foods. Did you know you even have lavender sea salt? Sprinkle some of that magic and elevate your Sunday roasts to Michelin-star level!
What makes a great anti-anxiety smoothie?
To make a calming smoothie, we need to add one or two ingredients that have well-established relaxing properties.
You can also add other healthy ingredients, to reach other goals you may have, like weight-loss. The important thing is that these extra ingredients don't counterbalance the soothing nature of the smoothie. Avoid using coffee, for example.
Let's take a look at a list of smoothie ingredients that are perfect for relieving anxiety:
Lavender (or chamomile).
Pumpkin seeds and oats.
Fatty nuts, like walnuts or brazil nuts.
Gree tea, or matcha.
We already mentioned how lavender affects the activity of neurons in our brain and helps our body relax. Chamomile has a similar effect. Using these ingredients in smoothies is simple: just simmer them in water for a few minutes and add to the blender.
Let's take a look at the other ingredients.
Spinach is a sublime addition to shakes. It's got loads of antioxidants that help our cells fight against damaging free-radicals. It also promotes healthy bones, heart and eye-sight. Spinach is rich in iron and magnesium, nutrients that help combat fatigue and stress.
Matcha is the perfect replacement for coffee if you want to be energized but not stressed. As we explained in the introduction, the L-theanine in green tea counteracts the stressing effects of caffeine and helps you feel focused and calm.
Yogurt is a great option to make creamy smoothies. As it turns out, this ingredient can also calm you down. The probiotics found in yogurt can feed gut-friendly bacteria promoting better health by reducing inflammation. Inflammation is one of the crucial factors that lead to anxiety, stress, and depression .
Then we have bananas and oats. Beside adding filling fibres to our smoothie, these two ingredients are a source of the tryptophan amino acid . Our body converts this compound into serotonin which is our brain's best friend when it comes to feeling happy and stress-free.
Pumpkin Seeds are a source of potassium and zinc, essential minerals which balance electrolytes and support your mood. We added these seeds to our lavender smoothie to boost its anti-anxiety properties even further.
Fatty nuts, like walnuts or brazil nuts, are also an excellent addition to a calming smoothie. These nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated omega-3 fats which boost brain functions affecting mood and focus.
Last but not least, dark chocolate is everyone's favourite stress-relieving comfort food. A bite of this sweet treat helps reduce stress hormones and lift the mood. Make sure you opt for low sugar varieties, like 70% or 80% dark chocolate for maximum benefits. The higher up the scale you can go, the better. Ever tried 100% chocolate? It's the bomb!
Next time you feel stressed out, include one or two of the ingredients above in your favourite smoothie. Take a few minutes off from whatever it's causing you anxiety, while you enjoy your drink. You will feel much better.
And if you are looking for other tips on how to make healthy smoothies, take a look at our in-depth article here.
|Jumbo Rolled Oats
|Green Smoothie Layer
|Matcha Tea Powder (Optional)
|Lavender Smoothie Layer
|Acai Berry Powder (Optional)
|Dark Chocolate 85%
To prepare this anti-stress smoothie, let's start with the lavender tea.
In a teapot, bring the water to a boil, add culinary lavender, and simmer at low heat for 5 minutes.
Then remove the pan from the heat, allow to steep for 5 minutes, and filter out the flowers with the help of a sieve or colander (1). Cool the tea in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
Now take a bowl, and mix the soy yogurt with the cooled lavender tea (2).
If you are using it, you can now add the acai berry powder to give your smoothie a beautiful purple look and to get a boost of precious antioxidants.
Prepare the green section of the smoothie by blitzing fresh spinach with ripe bananas in a food processor. You can add the matcha powder now, if you have it.
Blend until you have a creamy and dense smoothie.
Now it's time to get everything together. To give the smoothie a beautiful layered look, let's start with the granola base.
Mix oat flakes, chopped walnuts, and pumpkin seeds and add them to your smoothie jar to make the first layer (1). You can optionally roast the granola ingredients for more crunch.
For the second layer, pour in the spinach and banana blend.
Finally, top your drink with the yogurt and lavender mixture to make the last layer.
Finish off with a garnish of dark chocolate shavings and a few lavender flowers (2).
Don't expect the lavender tea to give your smoothie a deep purple colour. In this recipe, we added acai berry to get a more vibrant tone. However, if you don't have this powder and still want to give a purple colour to your smoothie, add a handful of blended blueberries into the yogurt mixture.