The background of smooth smoothies
Smoothies encompass a wide range of products today, which are generally drinkable and imply a healthy content. Fresh pureed fruit has been used in diverse cultures for many centuries. The wider commercialisation of smoothies in Western culture was initially driven by three main factors: 1. The creation of innovative drinks with improved tolerability for individuals with ‘sensitive stomachs’, i.e.those intolerant to dairy products or to traditional juices and shakes, 2. The hippie culture of the 60s and the related search for healthy and transparent natural food and 3. The introduction of powerful blenders and widespread refrigeration.
The background of the term ‘smoothie’ is quite fun, as it was originally used to describe confident, relaxed, and suave individuals, especially in their interaction with the opposite sex. In the hippie days of the 60s the term smooth was used to infer slickness, trendiness, and attractiveness. ‘Groovy’ or ‘cool’ were other similar terms.
Today the term smoothie is used for a wide range of drinks containing virtually anything from dairy products to fermentable content, vegetables, fruit and spices. The original concept generally referred to fresh crushed or blended whole fruit with ice. Commercialised products may consist of mainly basic fruit juices, with a small amount of fruit added essentially for effect. Global brands with along shelf life often include additives to boost health claims, as the extensive pasteurisation process can decrease any original micronutrient content. With the current resurgence of interest and relevance of food-related health effects across all age groups, the careful choice and handling of ingredients and transparent customer communication are of core importance. This is reflected in the background of Niqui and our Niqui smoothies.
Doctors, the gut and smoothies
The history of the Niqui smoothies returns to the original concept behind these ‘cool’ drinks. As gastroenterologists – we are ‘tummy’ doctors - we see people with digestive problems and those keen to prevent such problems. We are engaged daily in medical practice and in research relating to both the beneficial and negative (intolerances, allergies) effects of food. Knowledge of the wealth of the medical evidence available to us in these areas and the comparatively inadequate translation into common usage sparked the creation of our own start-up, Niqui. The two pillars of our smoothies are evidence-based health benefits and an excellent taste. Whole fruit or their purees are undeniably better able to conform to these principles than juices, extracts and additives. The superior effect of whole fruit over juices has, for example, been demonstrated in obesity and diabetes. Admittedly, freshly kitchen-prepared smoothies will always be superior in taste and composition to produce that needs to be bottled and stored, but newer and gentler technologies we follow will make the gap narrower.
The amazingly wide diversity of fruit, as well as vegetables and herbs, is mirrored in the wide range of ingredients and associated health benefits to choose between. Cell-based, animal and, increasingly, human research is highlighting effects of specific fruit ingredients in the prevention and treatment of diseases, as well as ageing. Therefore, the informed choice of fruit for specific benefits is becoming more realistic, even if personalised nutrition currently remains an exciting area of research. Consequently, the selection of fruit for our different smoothies is based on nutritional content and taste. The legal domain of health claim registration regulates what claims can be stated for food. While this is an important and necessary protection for the consumer, it is associated with a considerable financial entry barrier and lag regarding the application of more recent knowledge. A balanced, responsible approach needs to be found.
What’s in Niqui smoothies
At Niqui we are enthusiastically engaged in the creation of new flavours of smoothies based on the best and current evidence base and on exhilarating taste. Our most important goal is to create smoothies that taste exceedingly good and boost your health and performance. What’s in a smoothie!