While I’ve been traveling the past month, my Vitamix has been cooped up collecting dust in a box in the car. Now that I’m settled here in Bozeman, Montana it’s time to put that baby to work and return to my beloved green smoothies.
When I first made the switch to whole foods nearly a decade ago, green smoothies were my daily staple for a quick & easy way to energize and enjoy lots of high-quality nutrients that I wasn’t eating in my daily diet.
Of course you can make green smoothies that are mostly full of fruit, hardly any greens, and processed protein mixes that may taste good, but quite honestly, aren’t doing you any favors.
So today, I’ll share the 10 BEST superfood additions to add to any smoothie to create a powerhouse of health no matter what your wellness goals are.
They have quickly become one of the most popular superfoods, and for good reason. Originally grown in Mexico, Chia, meaning “strength” in the Mayan language, was honored for its ability to provide energy and endurance for prolonged periods of time.
This seed is most notably recognized for it’s composition of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fats for brain fuel. It’s a perfect addition to your morning or mid-day smoothie to assist the digestive tract in moving everything along and supporting healthy elimination.
How to use: Add ½ tablespoon to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie. Or try making Chia Seed Pudding for a dessert alternative.
Most recently called, “one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet” flax seeds are praised for their ability to help fight heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer, just to get the list started. Like chia seeds, they are often eaten for the high level of omega-3 fats.
Omega-3s are often found in oily fish and fish oil, but if you are 100% plant-based, this is the place to get a healthy dose of essential fatty acids. They positively affect the function of cell receptors throughout your body, nourish the brain, reduce inflammation, and perhaps the most beneficial use of omega-3s in the diet is to promote heart health.
How to use: Add 1 tablespoon (ground is better for texture) to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie.
Praised for more than their vibrant blue hue and sweet satisfaction, blueberries are an antioxidant rich superfood that offer huge benefits to the nervous system and brain health. Antioxidants help stop or prevent damage to cells caused by oxidants, which are found naturally in your body and throughout the environment from things such as chemicals, pollution, processed food, alcohol, cigarette smoke, candles, stress, etc.
I like to think of antioxidant rich foods as a broom that sweeps through my body and clears out all the accumulated dirt, dust, and muck that enters naturally through modern day living.
Instead of relying on supplements, you will receive all the antioxidants you need by eating a wide variety of colors in fruits and veggies.
How to use: Add ¼ cup – ½ cup to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie.
Kale has been getting a lot of love these days, but spinach is just as high on the list of health-supportive leafy green vegetables. Before we even mention the incredible health benefits of this beloved veggie, loading up your plate with spinach and greens helps crowd-out what you might otherwise have on your place, such as bread or other side dishes that do nothing nutritionally speaking for your body. It’s a good rule of thumb to make sure at least 2 meals a day have a component of leafy greens.
One of the most respected benefits of spinach is its anti-inflammatory properties. Everything from the harmful thoughts you think, city air you breathe in, stress from work, and sugary food you eat, causes inflammation in the body. And now, inflammation is documented for being at the root of the huge majority of lifestyle diseases.
Spinach can slow down cancer cell division, promote bone health through a healthy dose of Vitamin K, and support improved arthritic conditions due to the active phytonutrients in this leafy green.
How to use: Add 1 cup for an 8 oz. smoothie and 2 – 3 cups for a 16 oz. smoothie
Containing eight essential amino acids, hemp seeds are a complete plant protein and are much easier to digest than animal protein, allowing inflammation in the body to remain at a minimum. Just 4 tablespoons of this superfood seed, provides 14 grams of protein. As a clean burning protein fuel, hemp seeds are great for beautiful, glowing skin and the reduction of inflammation.
What should you look for when selecting a brand of hemp seeds?
– Shelled, USDA certified-organic
– Cold-pressed from raw, live hemp seeds
*If you ensure you select a high quality brand of hemp seed, you will enjoy a crunchy, light, nutty flavor that is rich in iron, vitamin E, and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).
How to use: Add 1 – 2 tablespoons to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie.
Not all chocolate is bad, some is even good for you! How is that for exciting news? However, take note that cocoa powder found in many kids chocolate drinks is a very different product than raw cacao. Cocoa powder has been processed, heated, treated with pesticides and chemicals, sugar added and up to 90% of the health benefits of the real cacao bean have been removed.
Raw organic cacao is simply ground cacao beans that were picked in a tropical destination like Costa Rica or the Amazon. These beans are an incredible source of plant-based iron, magnesium (great for energy, focus, and headache relief), a natural mood enhancer, and like blueberries, provide a healthy dose of antioxidants.
How to use: Add 1 tablespoon to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie. Raw cacao + banana smoothie is the way to go. You can even make a delicious cup of cold or hot chocolate with a little raw honey for yourself or the kids.
Coconut oil is a unique saturated fat because it is chalked full of medium-chained fatty acids which are easy for the body to convert into fuel. Remember “saturated” just means the oil is typically solid at room temperature.
Saturated oils are the ONLY oils safe to cook with. Coconut oil is a heart healthy food made from the meat of tropical coconuts. It is so important to stress the health benefits of high quality, organic fats in the diet and this specific oil helps to:
- Build resistance to viruses and bacteria, fight off yeast, fungus & candida.
- Benefit hormones for our thyroid which assists metabolic function & energy levels (no mid-afternoon slump).
- Improve insulin use in the body and reduce sugar cravings which positively affects the regulation of blood sugar levels (and means you won’t be binge eating cookies and ice cream before bed anymore).
How to use: Add 1 tbsp. of unrefined coconut oil to any smoothie. You won’t taste it, but you will feel the effects.
Avocados are a great source of healthy vegetable fat. It is rare to find fatty vegetables and fruits in nature, which makes avocados a real delicacy! They are chock full of oleic acid, lutein, folate, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and glutathione known to support heart disease, cancer, eye and brain health.
Plus, the fat is avocado helps keep you fuller for longer, meaning less sugar cravings and 3pm energy crashes.
How to use: Add ½ an avocado to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie for a super creamy consistency.
One of the absolute best green superfood powders that delivers barley + wheat grass, spirulina, kale sprouts, chlorella, antioxidant life preservers like amla, apricot, and tomato fruit powders, immune + liver support, and adaptogenic herbs all in ONE place. Short on time? Not a wiz in the kitchen? Can’t fit in a mid-day smoothie? This product is your go-to source of vibrant health. You can simply mix it in a glass of water with a little lemon or organic essential oil to help with the taste, or blend it into a smoothie. (You will find it in the supplement aisle of your local health food store.)
How to use: Add ½ tablespoon to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie.
This drink is a blend of antioxidant rich Wolfberries, blueberry, plum, cherry, and aronia juice, mixed with a proprietary essential blend from Young Living — the producer of the highest quality therapeutic grade essential oils.
A daily dose supports overall energy, improved cell function, eye health, and overall body wellness along with a healthy boost of inflammation-reducing antioxidants. It goes perfect in a smoothie but even if you can’t make a smoothie happen, it tastes delicious on its own and will give you the nutrients needed to thrive throughout your daily schedule and demands.
How to use: Add 2 oz. to an 8 or 16 oz. smoothie, or drink on its own (it tastes really good!).