Detox Smoothie: Mango Turmeric Cardamom

I don't know if it's just me, but the onset of summer almost always coincides with me getting sick. A couple of weeks ago when the eighty degree started kicking in, I found myself sick again. Nothing horrible, just a nagging cold that made me feel miserable. Mannakeesh, our favorite local Lebanese cafe, has a "Detox & Recover" smoothie featuring mango, turmeric, and cardamom and being desperate to feel better, I gave it a try. Most importantly the smoothie was delicious and surprisingly I felt much better the day after drinking it. I created a modified version at home to share with you.

In herbal medicine, turmeric has a long history as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and BDNF booster, thanks to the presence of curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its distinctive yellow color. The scientific validity of the health claims are questionable (you can read more about them here), but in my mind, it can't hurt, so it's worth a try. If you haven't tried turmeric before, it has a strong earthy flavor. By itself, it doesn't taste great (kind of like chalk), but when mixed with other spices, it helps deepen their flavors. I buy turmeric in bulk at an Indian market and use it for making Indian food, vegan macaroni and cheese, and smoothies.

I'm most familiar with cardamom as a spice used in Swedish baking (thanks Ida!), so I was surprised to see it in a smoothie. After a bit of research, I found out it also has a host of health benefit claims including digestion aid, detoxifier, and diuretic (more information here). To me, cardamom tastes like a cross between peppercorn and anise. I don't particularly like anise, but I love cardamom and it tasted delicious in this smoothie. A word of caution. Cardamom can be pricey, but as with most of our spices, I buy it in bulk at a nearby Indian market for about half the cost of what's at the grocery store.

Mango provides the fruit flavor base to the smoothie. Because it is such a sweet fruit, it balances the spice of the turmeric and cardamom nicely. Nutritionally mango also adds the daily value of vitamin C plus folate, vitamin A, calcium, and iron. For the liquid base, I used flax seed milk for a big dose of omega-3s and it added a bit of extra sweetness and creaminess. Soy or almond milk would also work well with this recipe.

Mango Turmeric Cardamom Smoothie
Serves 1

1 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 1/2 cup flax seed milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

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