We think of smoothies as a healthy breakfast or a protein rich snack. Yet your smoothie is only as healthy as what you put in it. Here are six things you need to be doing to assure that your smoothie is a lean, mean nutrient rich, nutrient filled powerhouse.
Freshly grind your seeds –
Throwing in flax seeds, chia seeds or pumpkins seeds can be good way to supply your body with additional omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. It is popular to purchase packaged ground seeds for use in such things as smoothies. The problem is that once seeds are ground, the oils are easily oxidized which diminishes their nutrient value. Freshly grinding seeds keeps the oils fresh. You can grind them in a small coffee grinder or in a power blender. Just make sure the seeds are fully ground into a powder or you won’t be able to absorb their nutrients.
Avoid Using Fruit Juice –
Fruit juice seems like it should be a source of vitamins and minerals for your smoothie. In reality, fruit juice is made by isolating the sugar from the fruit while leaving out any of the fiber and vitamins that make fruit nutritious. The sweetness from fruit juice is enough to upset your blood sugar balance and lead to sugar cravings later in the day. Stick to some form of milk as your base and leave the sweetness to your fresh fruit.
Check for hidden sugars –
While we are talking about the sweet stuff, many smoothie ingredients are full of added sugars. This might be in your non-dairy milk, your protein powder or any add-ons like peanut butter. Read all ingredients carefully before using. Nothing detracts from a smoothie’s health potential than lots of sugar. There are plenty of unsweetened or naturally sweet options, so pick those instead.
Add Greens –
Hate kale? Cool, throw it in anyway. If you do a smoothie right, you will have such a mix of flavors that you won’t even taste the veggies. This is perfect for a little kid (or big adult) who won’t eat their vegetables. One handful of greens is usually just perfect.
Choose Antioxidants –
Think beyond just the banana when choosing fruit for your smoothie. Berries like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are not only really satisfying in smoothies; they are a great source of antioxidants. Some of the many benefits of antioxidants are better skin, improved immunity and increased overall health. Go ahead and use frozen. Once they are blended your smoothie will by cold and refreshing.
Support Healthy Gut Bacteria –
So many people have taken multiple courses of antibiotics or years of birth control pills (which both help destroy the much needed healthy bacteria in the gut.) For that reason it is good to consume foods high in natural beneficial bacteria. So mix in some kefir or some plain yogurt with live cultures. These foods are high in probiotics (good bacteria) and will support the health of your gut. When your gut is happy, your immunity is up and your entire body can be balanced.
So drink up. A smoothie done right is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet!