10 Best Healthy Smoothie Add-ins and Supplements
While eating whole foods should be your first priority and where the majority of your nutrition comes from, adding in smoothies either as occasional meal replacements or healthy snacks can definitely up the nutrient content of your diet.
Not a smoothie person and wondering what all the fuss is about? Here are two reasons to incorporate smoothies into your diet that might make you reconsider:
Eating meals and snacks when you’re pressed for time is probably the number one diet killer out there. You might eat healthy meals and snacks when you have the time to prepare them, but it’s all too easy to reach for processed, packaged foods when you’re rushed. This can undermine your hard work.
A smoothie is a quick and easy option that you can pack with nutritious foods (like the ones listed below) and you can even make in advance to drink on-the-go.
If you suffer from digestive problems (bloating, gas, acid reflux, heartburn, fatigue after meals, constipation, diarrhea, etc), then occasionally giving your digestion a break with a liquid meal can help.
Now, let’s check out the best foods to maximize the nutrient content of your smoothies.
10 Smoothie Add-Ins to Boost Nutrition
Here are the top 10 best healthy smoothie add-ins and supplements:
Spirulina is a microalgae that truly defines superfood. A single tablespoon contains 4 grams of protein, crucial vitamins B1, B2 and B3, 21% of the RDA for copper, and 11% of the RDA for iron, and one gram contains only 20 calories.
Studies have shown that spirulina is a potent anti-inflammatory food, which is crucial for preventing degenerative disease in the long term. It can seriously work to boost your energy, so might be a great way to cut down on coffee.
Chlorella is also a microalgae and is a powerful tool in detoxifying the body, as its small size allows it to bind with heavy metals, pesticides, and harmful chemicals and act as a chelating agent (an agent that binds to and escorts toxins out of the body).
Flax seeds are packed full of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids and are high in fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Add one tablespoon of ground flax seeds to your smoothie for a serious nutrition boost, not to mention a delicious, nutty flavor. Flax oil works well, too.
Adding in a raw, organic maca powder can work wonders for both increased and sustained energy throughout the day, and balanced hormones. And, studies show that maca powder increases libido in both men and women, as an extra added bonus.
Chia seeds are an exceptional superfood and surprisingly low in calories. They are high in antioxidants and fiber, are a great plant source of protein, and have even been shown to lower your risk of heart disease. Add one tablespoon of ground chia seeds to your smoothie.
Most people don’t eat enough dark, leafy greens, which are essential to optimal health. These low-calorie, non-starchy veggies are packed full of magnesium, antioxidants and other key nutrients and can be easily added by the handful to smoothies. Try rotating between spinach, kale, arugula and collard greens.
Matcha is a green tea that is grown differently than regular green tea, and is even higher in antioxidants (as well as caffeine). Matcha green tea has been proven extremely effective in fighting bacterial and fungal infections and can be easily added to your smoothie in powder form.
Try adding in a high-quality greens powder to benefit from a diverse mix of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antoxidants, and more) that you might not be getting enough of in your regular diet.
It is critical to get plenty of good fats in your diet, and the medium-chain triglycerides of coconut oil have actually been shown to increase energy and boost weight loss efforts. Add 1/2-1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil to your smoothie to reap these benefits.
Last but certainly not least, add 1/4 of a ripe avocado to your smoothies for healthy fats, fiber and the cardiovascular benefits boosted by including this delicious fruit in your diet. Avocado has a surprisingly neutral taste, so it blends well with pretty much anything.
Also remember not to go overboard on fruit, pick a high-quality protein powder without a long list of artificial ingredients (if using protein powder opt for grass fed whey, pea or hemp), buy organic ingredients whenever possible, and rotate through the superfoods and booster foods discussed here. These smoothie add-ins should boost your smoothie to the next level!
Rachel Fiske is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and graduated from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition in Berkeley, California. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Rachel focuses on issues of weight management, GI problems, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and more via a whole foods diet and lifestyle changes.