Smoothies can serve as a convenient, nutritious, and super delicious method to stay hydrated, get tons of flavour and enjoy more fruits and vegetables in one easy meal. Apple, banana, berries, coconut water or milk, or maybe leafy greens – if your smoothie game has revolved around these core ingredients for a long time, it’s time to add some powerful superfoods into your diet.
Whether you prefer your smoothie or protein shake as an early-morning drink, rehydrating post-workout option or beverage snack throughout the day, next time you reach for the blender to make your next smoothie, consider adding these nutrients to kick up your energy, speed metabolism and fuel your body with essential nutrients. Here are seven superfoods that are packed with a powerful punch of minerals, vitamins, omega fatty acids and phytonutrients, and are simple to add to your daily protein shake or smoothie.
Boost your mood and immune system with raw cacao, which is considered one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants. Besides, it also contains plenty of magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, chromium and vitamin C. An added bonus is a rich chocolaty taste of cacao that helps to satisfy sugar cravings – a real must-have for your kitchen, especially if you love chocolate.
Cacao is best known for promoting fat burning and weight loss by promoting digestion. And due to its high fibre content and ability to stimulate the amount of serotonin produced in the brain, it helps to suppress your appetite, helping you feel fuller longer within the day. Cacao is also a natural stimulant that gives a burst of energy and activates happiness-inducing cortisol without additional jittery feelings.
CBD (also known as cannabidiol) is one of more than 100 active compounds naturally occurring in the Cannabis sativa plants and rich in various vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. CBD is able to indirectly influence special receptors of the complex endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is involved in crucial bodily processes such as memory, immune response, concentration, sleep, inflammation, stress and others.
Potential CBD oil benefits and interaction with the ECS can help to maintain a well-balanced and healthy diet, alleviate stress and anxiety, boost the immune system, reduce pain and inflammation in the body, improve focus, energy levels and endurance, decrease recovery time, promote better quality sleep and even prevent various skin issues such as dryness, acne, psoriasis, eczema and many others.
You can just add a few drops of a CBD oil to your protein shake or smoothie to experience beneficial effects of cannabidiol. As an alternative, you may also try out various ready-made options such as CBD infused protein powder, sports drink, recovery shots, water, etc.
Flax seeds are a good source of essential omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids, which might help to support normal cardiovascular function and sustain healthy hair, skin and nails. Because of its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, soluble and insoluble fibre and lignans (powerful polyphenol antioxidants), flaxseed can fight inflammation, diminish cholesterol, balance hormones and keep you feeling satiated throughout the day.
Flax seeds have a rich, nutty flavour, making it ideal for nearly any smoothie. Just add a tablespoon of flax seeds into your mixture to get your fill of omega-3s and fibre.
Turmeric and its main active compound curcumin in particular help to reduce inflammation in the body. Typically, inflammation is a positive response by the body and an attempt to promote healing in a damaged area. However, a continuous, inflammatory response is harmful and can lead to auto-immune diseases such as arthritis.
Curcumin is also responsible for the antioxidant properties, which can help to protect your body from disease-causing free radicals and stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes, helping it further in the fight against free radicals. However, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the body, so try to add a small pinch of black pepper. Consuming curcumin with black pepper helps to improve the bioavailability of curcumin by about 2000%. Piperine is the natural substance in black pepper that improves the bioavailability of curcumin.
Like maple syrup or honey, these little nuggets of nutrition will add some sweetness to your smoothie. The difference? Goji berries are a high source of vitamin A and vitamin C, which are both vital for a healthy immune system and beta-carotene pigment, which can help to promote healthy skin. They are also packed with the zeaxanthin and lutein, potent antioxidants, which are known to protect and promote better eyesight.
Furthermore, these red-orange berries are low in calories and contain fibre to help support weight management and digestive health and keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Consider soaking goji berries in the water ahead of use and then adding them to the blender. The softer texture will help them mix more easily, so your beverage will have a more uniform delicious taste.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae and a great source of fibre, iron, omega-3s, vitamins A, B, C, E, and K and antioxidants. Not only is it roughly 70% protein, containing all amino acids, but it also includes 26 times more calcium than milk.
Due to its wide range of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients regularly adding spirulina to your protein shakes and smoothies can detoxify the body, provide weight-loss benefits, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, boost digestion, improve your overall vitality and energy levels.
Spirulina has a distinct taste so you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons to smoothies or a flavoured protein powder where its flavour can be masked. It can be found in powder, capsule or liquid form.
Not only are chia seeds deemed to be one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but they are also high in fibre, protein, potassium, calcium and copper. Chia has been known to aid with weight loss, help to lower cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol that protects against heart attacks.
Chia seeds are relatively tasteless, taking on the flavour of anything they are blended with. They are also hydrophilic, which means they attract and absorb water and can be used soaked, ground or whole. Add the seeds to a smoothie after an intense workout to help replace lost electrolytes and replenish energy levels.