It’s difficult to sift through the expert information available, especially when it comes to healthy food. One source tells us to avoid fat at all costs, while another encourages us to add cream to our coffee with abandon.
Smoothies aren’t a new thing, but they’re consistently at the forefront of healthy eating trends, and they’re often credited with almost magical properties.
Are Smoothies Healthy?
Like most questions, there’s no simple answer to this one. A smoothie can only be as healthy as the ingredients you put into it. There’s a general assumption that anything that contains fruit must be good for you, but it’s not that straightforward.
Sugar is a huge buzz word right now, with experts warning of the dangers of hidden sugar in processed foods. You might feel virtuous as you knock back your freshly-made fruity concoction, but have you ever thought about how much sugar you’re consuming?
Your smoothie doesn’t feel like a processed food, but in reality, whether the blending has been done by you or by someone else, it’s still fruit that’s been altered from its original form.
That said, superfoods are on everyone’s radar at the moment. Whether you’re looking for the elixir of youth, or a boost to your flagging libido, there will be a superfood that claims to be able to help.
Only you can decide whether or not you believe the hype surrounding these foods, mainstream research hasn’t yet backed up most of the claims. If you’re looking to make your breakfast smoothie as beneficial as possible, then try adding something from our superfoods list.
Superfoods for super smoothies
- Leafy Greens: USDA recommendations suggest that we should eat two or three cups of green leafy vegetables each week. They’re packed full of calcium, magnesium and carotenoid antioxidants. The idea of a green smoothie might conjure up images of holding your nose and forcing down a murky green-brown sludge, but in reality, it’s amazing how easy it is to make leafy greens disappear into a berry smoothie.
- Seeds: Healthy food fans have recognised the benefits of seeds for a long time. Flax, chia, hemp and other seeds are touted as having amazing health benefits. They’re a good source of the healthy fats we’re encouraged to consume, they contain fibre and protein, and, again, those lovely antioxidants. A handful of seeds in your morning smoothie might also help you to feel fuller for longer, beating the mid-morning munchies.
- Cacao Nibs: Yet more antioxidants, and a delicious chocolatey flavour, what’s not to like? Dark chocolate is known to have health benefits, but raw food fans know that cacao nibs take it to the next level. Mountains of fibre, an excellent source of magnesium, and flavonoids that will boost your cardiovascular health.
- Coconut Oil: This seems to pop up everywhere at the moment. We’re back to the whole healthy fats thing again. Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat available to us, and research shows that it is high in medium chain triglycerides, which are rapidly used as fuel rather than being stored as fat.
- Cactus: Yet more of those antioxidants, and the added bonus of watching your partner’s face when you mention that you’re drinking a cactus smoothie. High fibre, low calories and full of vitamins A and C.
- Spirulina: Yes, it’s algae. It sounds vile, and eating a spoonful of this green powder isn’t likely to have you clamouring for more. Throw it into a green smoothie though, and you won’t even notice it’s there.Claimed spirulina benefits include helping development of good gut bacteria – essential for fending of candida infections, and normalising cholesterol levels.
- Acai Berry: Another berry, with similar benefits to goji berries. Claims for acai berries range from weight loss to improved sexual performance. The mainstream jury is still out on this one, there hasn’t been much research to support the various claims.It’s generally accepted though, that fruits and berries form part of a healthy diet, making acai berries a worthwhile element to include in your smoothies.
Looking For More Smoothie Superfood Goodness?
Skinny Ms has a seven-superfood smoothie recipe that includes green tea for added benefits.
Women’s Health magazine has lots of different smoothie recipes, so you’re sure to find something that appeals.
Mercola.com is a popular source for all kinds of natural health information, and their Super Boost Power Smoothie is packed full of superfoods.
For more great information about health and wellness, check out GetThrive.com