What to add to your smoothie for optimum health

By: Health Local Staff Mar 06, 2013
healthy smoothie

To get the most out of your smoothie, consider these smoothie-add-ins that are full of vitamins and nutrients.

Smoothies are a healthy and delicious way to start the day or to give yourself a boost with some much needed nutrients. Instead of hitting the local juice bar or fast food restaurant, who now all seem to be offering smoothies, try making your own for a truly healthy snack.

To get the most out of your smoothie, consider these smoothie-add-ins that are full of vitamins and nutrients for optimum health.

Hemp Seeds
Small enough to not interfere with the texture of your smoothie, hemp seeds are a great vegan source of protein, Omega-3, Omega-6, and vitamins. They have anti-inflammatory properties known to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Nut Butters
Adding a tablespoon of your favourite natural nut butter won’t just give your smoothie a nice texture and flavour, it will also give you a boost of nutrients and proteins that will fill you up and give you loads of energy! A great way to start your day or give yourself a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Some fresh grated ginger is a delicious compliment to a smoothie containing strawberry, orange, or pear. It gives you a comforting and almost warming feeling and can help tame an upset or irritated stomach. Makes a great option for soon-to-be mothers who are dealing with morning sickness too.

What better to add to your peanut butter or strawberry smoothie than some cocoa! Adding cocoa to your smoothie won’t just taste yummy; it’s also an antioxidant and easy way to enjoy a little burst of energy.

Chia Seeds
No, you won’t grow a head of grassy hair by adding Chia seeds to your smoothie! What you will do is add an incredible source of antioxidants and Omega-3 to your smoothie without altering the taste.

Spinach, Kale, and other Leafy Greens
Even those who like their smoothies super-sweet can reap the benefits of adding leafy greens to their smoothie without sacrificing flavour. Add kale or spinach to smoothies made from your favourite sweet fruits and you get the added benefit of folic acid, vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium, iron and much more.

Yes, you read that right—coffee is a healthy smoothie add-in! Studies have found that coffee has antioxidant properties that have been shown to work as an anti-cancer agent that lowers the risk of developing some types of cancer. It has also been found to lower blood sugars which can reduce the risk of diabetes and other conditions. A teaspoon of coffee in your smoothie is not only healthy but can also give you a boost of energy when you need one.

Final Tips for Making Smoothies
You want your smoothie to be as whole as it can be, so avoid sugar substitutes and chemical-containing ingredients and instead look to sweet fruits and other natural sources for flavour. Adding some of the vegetables you don’t like but that are good for you is a great way to get the benefits of the veggies without having to force yourself to endure the taste of eating them in a meal. Experiment with different fruits, veggies and seeds for healthy combinations and flavours that you love.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.