You asked for it, so here it is! Everything you need to know about taking your smoothie to the next level.
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So, you have the basics down. You're adding greens like kale and spinach to your smoothie like a rock star - check. You're now using a non-dairy alternative like almond or rice milk because you heard it's healthier for you than conventional cow's milk - check. Adding a scoop of protein powder in to keep you satiated longer - check. And of course fruit because what's a smoothie without some fruit?! But now what?
Many of you have reached out wanting to learn new and exciting ways to increase the nutrient content and health benefits of your smoothies. I love how health-conscious my readers are, makes my heart happy!
Here is my top 10 list of supercharged ingredients to add to your smoothies:
- Spirulina powder. Similar to chlorella, it's a blue-green algae (that's not really algae but bacteria) that's touted for its amazing vitamin and mineral content. It's also one of the richest sources of protein (even compared to red meat) including all of the essential amino acids and it's highly digestible. Spirulina is a rich source of B12 making it ideal for vegetarians and vegans to supplement with. Because it's such a power-house of nutrition, it's considered a superfood!
- Bee Pollen is another superfood! As per Dr. Joseph Mercola, "Bee pollen is the food of the young bee and it is approximately 40% protein. It is considered one of nature's most completely nourishing foods. It contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be sued directly by the body. Such highly assimilable protein can contribute significantly to one's protein needs." If you're concerned you may be lacking nutritionally - bell pollen is for you! It contains all of the essential components of life and is considered a complete food. It's a great way to boost energy levels, improve endurance, reduce cravings, aid in recovery from chronic illness, shown to aid in allergy relief and increase immunity - to name a few! Side notes: Before trying bee pollen for the first time, test for possible allergic reaction. Take just one pellet or granule first. If you're ok with that, gradually increase your dose. Because bee pollen is enzyme-rich, you never want to heat it. You can grind the granules and use the powder in your smoothies, mix with cinnamon on toast with nut butter, stir into veggie juices or salad dressings. I like to add the whole granules to smoothies or garnish on top with them. It's also best to keep your pollen refrigerated since it's considered food.
- Irish Moss. What the heck is it?! It's a sea vegetable! Something we don't get nearly enough of! It's packed full of iodine which is crucial for thyroid health and maintenance. It's also fantastic for detoxification and ridding the body of mucus and radiation. Once prepared, I like to add some to my smoothies, puddings & soups. Bonus feature, it makes your food silky smooth!
- Maca root powder. Maca root is a radish-like root veggie that grows in very high altitudes. It's ideal for restoring strength and increasing libido, helps to regulate hormone function, boosts energy stores, supports the adrenal glands thus making it ideal when we're stressed and it's a known adaptogen which means it increases the body's ability to defend itself. It has a lovely nutty scent and flavour.
- Aloe Vera. My new fave! Aloe has amazing benefits for the digestive system. Because of its mucilaginous property (similar to chia seeds) it helps the body clear itself of mucus build up which then allows us to better absorb nutrients! Furthermore, it has all of the anti-properties. Aloe is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. As if all of that weren't enough, it's loaded with vitamins such as vitamins A, C, E and B12 as well as many minerals such as sulfur, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. It also contains fibre, amino acids, enzymes and essential fatty acids. How to use it? If you have an aloe plant at home, you want to take about an inch or so and filet the outer green part off. You will be left with the gel, you can add this to your smoothies and blend or simply add it to your water with some lemon and sip! If you don't have an aloe plant, many health food stores sell aloe. Aloe does stain, so be careful with it when handling.
- Mesquite powder. Which is also known as mesquite flour or meal is extracted from the seeds of the mesquite plant. It has a molasses-like, smokey flavour with a hint of caramel which is why I LOVE adding this to my smoothies! It's high in protein, fibre, calcium, potassium, zinc and iron. It's a great way to sweeten something without resorting to sugar, making this powder perfect for stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- Tocotrienol powder. You may have seen this ingredient in a few of my smoothie recipes previously posted. It's derived from rice bran and it's a concentrated source of bioavailable Vitamin E which is known to benefit brain function, maintain cell integrity, promote healthy cholesterol levels and thanks to its rich source of antioxidants, B vitamins and fatty acids, it's also beautifying. Why I love it in smoothies? It gives them a great malt flavour.
- Acerola Cherry powder. This is naturally occurring Vitamin C - nothing synthetic about it. One ingredient only. In a 1.5 tsp serving, you're getting 270 mg of naturally occurring, highly absorbable Vitamin C. Crucial in maintaining a strong immune system and defending us against free radical damage.
- Oceans Alive-Marine Phytoplankton. Nutrition from the ocean. It contains 92 macro and trace minerals. It's whole, concentrated raw food. The reported benefits of using this: Increased energy, stable blood sugar levels, clear skin, memory improvement, essential fatty acids, relief from asthma and allergies, improvement in circulation, anti-inflammatory and improvement in eyesight to name a few.
- MSM powder. It's a form of dietary sulfur which is great for reducing inflammation in the body. It's also known for its collagen building properties making this powder awesome for creating smooth skin, lustrous hair and strong nails. MSM is great for maintaining healthy joints, increasing flexibility and speeds up recovery time from sore muscles.
Many of these ingredients can be found at your local health food store or you can purchase them from one of my fave resources www.upayanaturals.com.
So there you have it! Ten awesome ways you can now supercharge your smoothies!
I wanna know, what's your favourite way to supercharge your smoothie?!