Saturday, December 28, 2013

Healthy Ingredients to Throw in Your Smoothies

healthy ingredients for smoothies
We all know that smoothies are a healthy snack, drink or breakfast and they taste great too. It’s possible though that you’re not including as many healthy ingredients in your smoothies as you could.

Smoothies are such an easy way to get extra healthy nutrients into your diet, without even noticing it. It’s definitely better to make your own smoothies when you can, so you know exactly what’s going into them. And that makes it easy to throw some super healthy ingredients into every smoothie you make.




Healthy Ingredients For Smoothies


Chia seeds


According to Dr Oz from the Oprah show (what higher authority do you need?) Chia seeds may be one of the healthiest foods around. They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 oils, and contain all your essential amino acids. There’s also evidence that they help reduce high blood pressure, keep blood sugar stable and reduce food cravings by helping you feel fuller for longer.


They’re great for smoothies as they absorb liquid, giving your smoothie a richer, creamier texture.


Spirulina


Spirulina is a natural algae high in protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Like chia seeds, it contains all the essential amino acids. It’s also said to bind with toxic heavy metals in the body and help remove them.


Spirulina can be a great way to boost iron levels (as most women of child bearing age need to need to do once a month) without causing constipation as so many iron supplements do. Throwing a scoop of spirulina in your morning smoothie is an easy way to get a daily dose of healthy nutrients.


Spirulina does have quite a strong seaweedy taste, but I find that a scoop in a smoothie is almost undetectable. If you do find it ruins the taste of your smoothies, try mixing it with a little pure apple juice and drinking it as a shot before your smoothie.


Kefir


Kefir is a cultured milk product similar to yogurt in taste but with a more milk-like consistency. It’s packed with nutrients including calcium, probiotics, tryptophan, protein and B vitamins.


You can use kefir as a substitute for milk in all your regular smoothie recipes.


You can also keep your kefir supplies topped up by making your own from kefir grains or powder.


Coconut water


You’ve probably already heard of the benefits of coconut water. Its electrolyte effect is said to improve digestion and metabolism and its Lauric acid is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.


Coconut water is also believed to reduce the risk of everything from high blood pressure, strokes, and kidney stones to muscle cramps.


Many people are drinking coconut water as it comes as a tasty beverage, but it’s also a great healthy ingredient to throw into smoothies, and there are some yummy smoothie recipes that incorporate coconut water.


Wheat grass


Green smoothies aren’t for everyone, but if you can acquire a taste for them, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor in terms of health benefits.


According to the Hippocrates Health Institute, Wheatgrass “Stimulates the thyroid gland, correcting obesity, indigestion, and a host of other complaints,” while also detoxifying the blood, fighting tumors, lowering blood pressure and increasing red blood-cell count.


Wheatgrass is another healthy smoothie ingredient you can grow yourself, from seed, even if you don’t have much space. And growing your own supply can cost you as little as $1 - $2 a week.


Green tea


Green tea, like wheatgrass, is an acquired taste. A taste worth acquiring perhaps when you consider its health benefits include helping guard against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


If, like me, you think it tastes of lawnmower clippings, you can always try it mixed with lemon or other flavors, or add a splash to your smoothie where it will provide the liquid needed for a nice consistency, and the nutrients to boost your smoothie’s health benefits. All those lovely fruits you’ve thrown in there will disguise the lawnmower-clipping taste.


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Image courtesy of Rakratchada Torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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