It’s been the health craze of the last few years: green smoothies, protein smoothies, smoothie bowls, you name it. Every possible smoothie concoction is out there and probably flooding your social media feed at the same time.
Piling a load of fruit and veg into your blender is always going to provide a welcome energy and health boost, but there are a few ways you can get your smoothie to pack an even bigger – and healthier – punch. We’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can step up your smoothie game with nutrition necessities and superfood giants.
1. Supplement with Super Greens
By now we’re guessing you’ve heard the rave about superfoods, and especially super greens. Two super greens that provide incredible nutritional value are Wheatgrass and Spirulina. Just a spoon of this powdered goodness in your daily smoothie will take it to the next level.
Wheatgrass is truly a wonder food, it is one of nature’s best sources of vitamins A and C and it contains nearly all the minerals your body needs, with a big pop of iron and calcium. What’s more, it has all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, and it’s rich in B vitamins. If that wasn’t enough of a convincing line up, here’s a final kicker: wheatgrass has long been known to aid in digestion to keep your systems regular.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is an amazing immunity builder and a great source of iodine. Iodine can get a bad rap at times (because too-high levels can be detrimental) but it’s one of those essential minerals that is vital for healthy functioning. Iodine deficiency can cause fatigue, colds and infections, and low iodine levels during pregnancy are often correlated with lower infant IQ and prenatal complications. Spirulina has an incredibly high concentration of protein and iron with high sources of calcium and Vitamin B1 – so scoop some into your next smoothie mix!
2. Go Seed Crazy
Seeds are an incredibly important part of our diet and are nutritional powerhouses in their own right. Here are three of our favorites right now:
– Hemp seeds are a great source of healthy fats, lean protein and essential minerals, as well as being a fantastic source of Vitamin E. .
– Chia Seeds are packed full of antioxidants as well as being high in fiber and protein.
– Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They preserve their health benefits best when digested in raw, ground form which is perfect for smoothies!
3. Be Berrylicious
Berries are antioxidant and vitamin powerhouses, and the best way to get that sweet tooth fix. Berries will help mask any unwanted flavors in your smoothies as well. So if you’re not a fan of the bitterness of some greens or don’t love the taste of spirulina, matcha, wheatgrass, lucuma, or the likes, then strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries will be your best friends.
A few other berries you may or may not have tried are Acai and Goji berries, which are both high in antioxidants and Vitamin A. They are also great providers of flavonoids – an incredible antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune system booster.
4. Herbs are where it’s Happening
Fresh herbs can add wonderful flavor and richness to your smoothies and you may be surprised to learn that some are renowned for having health benefits and healing properties. Here are our top three recommendations:
– Basil has been noted as a natural pain reliever, containing a compound called eugenol thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
– Parsley is high in folic acid and often recommended during and after pregnancy as it is important for develop a healthy fetus, preventing pre and postnatal anemia, and warding off postnatal baby blues.
– Mint helps calm the stomach and aid digestion, helping with any bloating and cramps. Plus it adds a blast of fresh flavor like no other!
5. Fiber Factor
Fiber is great for improving bowel function and digestive health, making it an important dietary staple for healthy weight maintenance and a key preventative player for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Inulin is a soluble dietary fiber taken from chicory root. It is high in fiber and low in calories and can be a great addition to your smoothies. However, it’s best avoided during pregnancy.
Figs and dates are also fantastic sources of soluble fiber and they have lovely levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin K and B6. Both contain naturally occurring sugars and are great to add to any nut-based smoothies.
Another easy way to add fiber to your smoothies is with coconuts and cacao! Popping some shredded coconut or coconut flour or a scoop of cacao powder or cacao nibs into your morning smoothie is a delicious ways to up your fiber intake.
Now of course we’re not saying to add this all into your daily smoothie in one go – unless you’re feeling adventurous! But next time you whizz up a smoothie, why not have an experiment and see which combinations suit your palette and dietary needs the best. There’s nothing better than knowing you’ve started your day off with a nutrient-rich super smoothie.
Want more nutritional advice and information on how to eat well during pregnancy and as a mom? Check out our free ios app!