Every day we talk to patients about getting their nutrients in a smoothie. Honestly, I balked at this for years. I just didn’t think I could give up my routine in the morning: my earl grey tea and my home made gluten free toast with perhaps an egg and some greens on top. But then I was inspired by a local nutritionist who gave me her recipe. I started it in the winter thinking it even more preposterous to drink a cold drink for breakfast in the winter. Wrong I was. I began experimenting and seeing results in my energy, digestion, and my complexion. I also discovered how easy it was to sneak my trace minerals, my probiotics, and my vitamins D and A into my smoothie so I didn’t have to take each one individually. Now, it is just part of my routine. The blender is my kids wake up call, and they know what comes next – eat breakfast, get dressed and head off to school.
While I have been experimenting with goes best in my smoothie, I have never eliminated the star of the smoothie– raw kale. See “Hail Kale” blog to read more about the unending benefits that kale brings. I wanted to give you some other ideas if you too are a smoothie junkie and want to keep it lively.
1) Chia Seeds:
High in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Some say it is a more sustainable form of omega-3 fatty acids as it doesn’t require fishing the oceans to obtain it. Dubbed the miracle seed, manufacturers claim there are anti-oxidants, EFA’s, and phyto nutrients contained within this very small seed. I know for sure that they have soluble fiber- just stir some into water and watch the lignans seep out. 5 grams of fiber per 2 Tb of chia seed. Soluble fiber is low in the typical american diet and thus, a great addition to a smoothie.
2) Raw Cacao Nibs:
If you have never experienced raw cacao nibs, you should! You can typically find them in the bulk section of your grocery store. Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea! They add an interesting new layer of texture to your trail mix or granola but blending into a smoothie can give it a new, exciting flavor. High in magnesium, anti-oxidants, and flavonoids, which benefit heart health, these little “nibs” pack in quite the nutritional profile.
3) Hemp seeds:
There are over 10 grams of protein for every 3 tablespoons of this little seed, and its nutritional profile is beyond what I expected! It has nutrients galore and minerals too. Each serving has 110% of the RDA for manganese, 45% for Magnesium, 20% for Zinc and 45% for phosphorus. The iron is 20% of the RDA which makes it a great addition to your diet especially if you are vegetarian. For breakfast, use it in your smoothie, and you will soon be dreaming of other ways to use this great seed (on your cereal, in your yogurt, on your salad, in your rice dishes, and baked into cookies!)
It is quite possibly the most perfect food on earth– healthy fats, 3 grams monounsaturated fats, and .5 grams of polyunsaturated fats per 1 once serving. There are over 20 vitamins and minerals in an avocado, but the highlights include 153 mg of potassium, 2 grams fiber, 27 mcg folate and 6.3 mg vitamin K in 1/5th of an avocado. I recommend putting at least 1/2 to a whole avocado into your smoothie, which will lend not only a smooth consistency but will also, delay gastric emptying– that is, it will keep you full for longer. Many people are still wary of including fat into their diets because they are afraid it will make them gain weight. I promise you that fat will help you fight carb cravings, which is where we get empty calories which allow weight to creep on.
5) Coconut Oil:
While this is the perfect oil for cooking, sauteing, and frying food because of it’s stability at high heat, it should also be considered for use in your morning smoothie. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which contribute to its being an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral food. It is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) or medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), which is different than a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) found mostly in milk, eggs, meat, and plants. The benefit of a MCT is that it can lower atherosclerosis and protect against cardiovascular disease.
So, give these ingredients a try and let me know what you think! I’m also open to hearing your favorite smoothie recipes and what superfoods you include in them! You can find my Green Detox Smoothie Recipe HERE.