Ahhhh, summer. Do you love the heat or count down the days till Fall arrives? Whether you stay cool in the pool or inside with the AC blasting, cold drinks, like a perfect summer smoothie, are a summer staple.
Avoiding heating up the kitchen on those 100 degree plus days is another summer staple around my house. This might mean suppers of salads or fresh veggies, or cooking outside on the grill. It can also mean smoothies.
My kids love smoothies, but I don’t always love the time and mess I feel like is involved in making them.
Today we’re going to look at 5 major health benefits the smoothie can offer. We’ll also give you some make ahead tips AND the perfect smoothie formula– it works every time!
But wait, there’s more– we’ll link to seven (one for each day of the week!) delicious smoothie recipes you (and/or your kids!) are sure to love.
5 Major Health Benefits the Smoothie Can Offer
Smoothies Can Control Cravings
With the right recipe, smoothies are a great source of good fats, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. All of these combined mean smoothies can help you feel full. This will keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks between meals.
Additionally, many smoothie ingredients help to aid in your body’s digestion process. Pectin from green apples, probiotics from yogurt, anti-inflammatory ginger, and alkalizing apple cider vinegar are just a few ingredients sometimes added to smoothies. All of these help aid in digestion. And proper digestion means you are absorbing nutrients well, which can lead to better control over food cravings.
Smoothies Are a Rich Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are compounds capable of causing harm if their levels become too high in the body. Free radicals are linked to multiple health concerns, including: diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Your body has its own natural antioxidant defenses. However, antioxidants are also found in foods like fruits and vegetables. Vitamins E and C are highly effective oxidants, as well. Fruits and veggies and vitamins: the stuff smoothies are made of.
Additionally, antioxidants protect our immune cells from environmental damage and encourage the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are critical for fighting off bacteria in the body. So antioxidants are good for enhancing our immunity.
Smoothies Improve Your Skin
Smoothies have skin improving properties, depending upon which ingredients you add to your smoothies. Some powerhouse ingredients and what they’re good for include:
Fruits rich in vitamin C: Vitamin C helps keep skin elastic and bright by boosting our skin’s natural collagen. Fruits rich in vitamin C include mangoes, oranges, strawberries, and pineapple.
Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which helps heal and rejuvenate skin.
Avocado: The nutrients in avocado help improve dry and dull skin from the inside out.
Spirulina powder: Spirulina acts as a natural toner and helps to brighten the skin and improve complexion.
Spinach: Spirulina is rich in vitamin K, which improves complexion.
Carrots: Carrots contain anti aging antioxidants.
Berries: Berries are a great source of antioxidants which can help your skin from harmful sun rays. Berries also boost collagen production.
Greek yogurt: The fiber and protein in greek yogurt help to improve skin elasticity.
Flax seed: Flax seeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which reduce redness/inflammation.
Coconut water: With it’s super hydrating properties, coconut water as a smoothie addition leaves you looking and feeling more refreshed.
Pay attention to the pigments of your smoothie ingredients. Anything deeply pigmented benefits your skin by helping to take it from dull to glowing.
Smoothies Give Your Mood a Boost
Smoothies made with organic fruits and vegetables can help in stress reduction. Less stress can yield more health and happiness. Consuming fruits or vegetables rich in folic acid can be helpful in depression and mood swings, as well as hormonal imbalances. Some produce rich in folic acid includes: broccoli, spinach, leafy greens, and bananas.
Additionally, coconut, a popular add in for smoothies, can enhance mental alertness and concentration because it is rich in omega-3s. Functioning better mind-wise can help manage our stress levels and contribute to an overall positive mood.
Smoothies Support Your Insides
Smoothies containing calcium and/or vitamin D are beneficial for bone health. Consider adding yogurt or walnuts, both of which are good for bone health.
If you include some antioxidants, healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, folate and/or fiber, you’ll be boosting your heart health. Mix in bananas, greens, avocado, flax seed, or dark berries to reap some of the cardiovascular benefits a smoothie offers.
Smoothie Tips (and the Perfect Smoothie Formula)
Perfect smoothie formula
- 1-2 cups green veggies: think kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, celery, avocado, mint, zucchini, cabbage, lettuce…on and on. GREEN THINGS.
- Fruits (fresh or frozen)/Sweet Veggies: 1 unit (about 1/2-1 cup): apples, bananas, pears, berries, pineapple, mango, sweet potato, carrot, beets
- Protein: 1 serving (usually 1-2 Tablespoons): protein powder, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, nut/seed butters, collagen, oats
- Fat: 1-2 Tablespoons: hemp seeds, coconut oil, walnuts, ghee, flax oil
- Superfoods (optional add-in): 1 teaspoon- 1 Tablespoon of 2-3 of these: cacao, goji berries, dates, coconut/coconut oil, ginger, spirulina, bee pollen, cayenne
- 1 Cup Water + Additional Liquid: (total liquid should be 1-2 cups): water, coconut water, ice, veggie juice (100% juice), nut or seed milk, herbal tea
veggies: packed with nutrients
sweetness: the flavor you’re seeking, but from healthy fruits or veggies!
protein: helps you feel full and stabilizes blood sugar
fat: fuels your brain and nervous system
superfoods: extra dose of immune (and energy) boosting power
liquid: added hydration and helps achieve desired texture
Make Ahead Smoothies:
Once you know the perfect formula, you can gather all of your desired ingredients and assemble individual freezer bags (or other preferred container) of pre measured ingredients (aside from the liquid). These can be stored in the freezer until you’re ready for a smoothie. At that point, you can pour the frozen ingredients into the blender and add your liquids of choice.
This option doesn’t save you from getting out your blender often, but it does save you from the prep mess every time you want a smoothie. It saves a ton of time because you can prepare several smoothie bags in a matter of minutes!
You could also pre-make the smoothies in entirety and freeze them in mason jars, which saves you from the prep mess AND the blender mess (except for the initial prep and blend!). Just be sure to thaw them in the refrigerator 12 hours or so before you’re wanting to enjoy one.
You could even freeze the pre-made smoothies in popsicle molds and enjoy them that way, no need to thaw!
Seven recipes (with links)
Here are some recipes to get you started. Enjoy!
Stay cool out there, and if you’d like to chat further about your health, contact Erin at Insight Thermography of Oklahoma.