An incredible thing you can do for your health is have a smoothie for breakfast or integrate into your daily routine. A smoothie with the right combination of vegetables, like leafy greens, and fruits is an effective way of consuming a great dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This can help reduce inflammation in your body and boost your intake of nutrient-filled ingredients.
Add more variety to your daily green smoothie through ingredients that are beneficial for optimal health. Green smoothies don’t always have to be spinach, almond milk, and bananas. Here are some ways you can add variety to your everyday smoothie!
Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Add flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds to your smoothies. These omega 3 fatty acids contain alpha-lipoic acid, which gets rid of free radicals and decreases inflammation in the body. These plant-based sources are high in fiber and are good for heart health.
Add B Vitamins:
Add pine nuts, sunflower seeds, prunes, buckwheat, peanuts, avocados, oats, and hazelnuts are great sources of vitamin B. Our brains rely on B vitamins to properly function. These foods can also boost serotonin levels, which is the hormone that makes you happy. There are studies that show that individuals with vitamin B deficiency are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Vitamin B2 specifically plays a role in breaking down food and metabolizing it to provide energy for the body. Foods that you can add to your smoothies that are high in Vitamin B2 include avocados, apples, spinach, and almonds. B vitamins brain health, mental health, and energy production in the body.
Add Vitamin D:
You will be amazed at all the benefits that vitamin D provides! Vitamin D and vitamin C go hand in hand, as they are both important for our immune systems. Vitamin D is also essential for healthy bones and is linked to preventing cancer. Add some fortified orange juice to your daily smoothie. You could also add fortified soy milk or regular cow milk, depending on your preference.
Add Antioxidants: strawberries, goji berries, blueberries, raspberries, essentially all berries are high in antioxidants. What is an antioxidant? Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body, free radicals are molecules that can cause harm to body cells. By neutralizing the free radicals in the body, they are no longer harmful. Dark chocolate is also high in antioxidants, if you are craving a chocolate creamy smoothie try this recipe high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!
Add Fiber: Smoothies are a quick yummy nutritious breakfast option, but they are not always satiating and may leave you feeling hungry. Adding fiber to smoothies can make you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Fiber helps with having healthy bowel movements and promotes healthy microbiome in the gut. Fiber also lowers cholesterol levels, specifically the bad cholesterol (LDL). Next time you make a smoothie add some fiber goodness: oats, dark chocolate, chia seeds, hemp seeds, figs, and apples.
When making a smoothie, you can add a variety of ingredients to increase intake of nutritious goodness. Buy your green smoothie ingredients in bulk or frozen for cost efficiency. And most importantly, have fun and make green smoothies YOU love.
Here is an example of a great green smoothie recipe!
2 large kale leaves (stems removed & discarded, helps improve the texture and taste. Feel free to add the stems if you would like more fiber)
1 large handful of spinach
2-3 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries. (frozen wild blueberries are a great choice)
1 cup frozen pineapple or frozen mango
1 cup frozen strawberries or alternative berry of choice
2 cups of water or nondairy milk of choice
1 tbsp hemp hearts
1 tbsp flax meal or chia seeds
1/2 tsp ground ginger (or thumb size peeled fresh)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric (or thumb size peeled fresh)
Pinch of black pepper (helps improve the absorption of the turmeric properties)
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 1 minute, or until the desired consistency is reached.
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Written by: Katie Alfaro, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern