Everyone loves smoothies! A smoothie is made with fruits and/or vegetables blended into liquid form. The combination of fruits and vegetables makes this drink a highly nutritious one. Popular ingredients for smoothies include bananas, apples, nuts, pineapples, watermelon, and dairy. Although it is entirely up to you to choose your smoothie add-ins, the mentioned ingredients are most common. For an all-green smoothie, the fruits will be replaced with vegetables.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the not-so-common smoothie ingredients. Do not hesitate to try them, as they can improve your diet quality and boost your nutrition.
Adding frozen cauliflower to your smoothie can boost the flavor. In its frozen state, you do not have to worry about a funky cauliflower taste. Instead, you’ll get a creamy consistency and the color of your blend won’t change.
Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, which helps to strengthen the immune system and supports good health. It is high in fiber, which promotes gut health, and is rich in antioxidants, which help keep your body illness-free.
Beets have a mild earthy sweet taste that blends smoothly with other flavors. They are packed with antioxidants to fight harmful invaders in the body and ward off diseases. Also, beets contain anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the purple pigment known as betalain. Beets are highly nutritious, packed with multivitamins and minerals. It is associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and optimal exercise performance.
Do not wait until fall to enjoy the nutritional goodness of pumpkins. Adding this orange-colored squash can boost the texture and flavor of your smoothie. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, which together with lutein and zeaxanthin promotes eye health and good skin. It is rich in fiber for a healthy gut and contains antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
It can be added to a weight loss diet, thanks to its low nutrient density and low-calorie count.
Don't be quick to dispose of your orange or tangerine peels, as they can add a burst of flavor to your smoothie. Citrus peels are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and potent phytochemicals like flavonoids, carotenoids, and limonene. All you have to do is rinse them well before tossing them into the blender.
It is also packed full of antioxidants to boost your immune system. Studies have shown that an orange peel contains more vitamin C per ounce than the juice, which can help you achieve the recommended daily intake. Citrus peels in your drink can help reduce the severity of certain illnesses, like cold and flu.
Avocado adds its unique flavor to every meal, and this includes smoothies. Although it is high in fat, it contains healthy fats, which promote heart health and reduces the risk of other diseases. Adding avocados to your drink aids absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins in fruits and vegetables. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K.
You will find that adding this fruit can make your smoothie creamy, giving it a milkshake consistency. Eating avocados is associated with a lot of health benefits, like lower risks of heart problems and weight loss.
Oatmeal is a smoothie add-in you may already be familiar with, but do you know that there is a myriad of whole grains that you can play around with. Quinoa, sorghum, and millet are some good options for you to try. Whole grains are packed full of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and important vitamins and minerals like iron, selenium, and magnesium.
Eating whole grains is associated with various benefits, like lower blood sugar levels, lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, and regular blood pressure levels.
Most people tend to use turmeric strictly for soups and stews, but do you know that smoothies can also include savory spices. Turmeric adds color to the drink, while also giving extra nutrition and a unique flavor. This is an add-in that you most likely already have in your kitchen cupboard, so it an inexpensive, yet healthy option.
Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, which is scientifically proven to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer's, and cancer. It contains anti-inflammatory properties to prevent oxidative stress, and antioxidants to strengthen your immune defenses against harmful invaders. Regular intake of turmeric may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.
Did you know that you can add cooked sweet potatoes to your smoothie? This is a fantastic way to add extra fiber and important nutrients like potassium to your diet. It lends a smooth, creamy texture to your drink and can be added after boiling, roasting, or steaming.
It is an excellent source of fiber, which supports a healthy gut by preventing digestive problems. Other benefits include healthy vision, enhanced brain function, strong immune defenses, and a lower risk of cancer.
Cayenne is another savory spice that works well in smoothies. It has a myriad of health benefits, and it adds a delicious contrast to sweet smoothie ingredients. Adding a little cayenne to fruits and/or vegetables can help balance out the sweetness (sugar) in fruits. A health benefit of cayenne pepper is that it increases blood flow, which supports post-workout recovery. Also, it has metabolism-boosting properties and keeps you feeling full for longer periods, which aids weight loss.
Silken tofu is a great vegan protein alternative to protein powder. It gives you a creamy and smooth drink and is a plant-based protein source, which is suitable for vegetarians.
Cut into small cubes so that it can blend easily, because too large chunks of it may cluster in your blender. Opt for silken tofu, not the regular tofu, if you don't want to end up with the wiggly tofu texture that may not blend well in a smoothie.
Get Creative With Your Smoothies
Before selecting your smoothie add-ins, ensure that they are in line with your health goals. Do not overdo it with the add-ins, or end up with a high-calorie drink when you are trying to lose weight. It is important that you first decide if it’s a snack or a meal, before choosing your ingredients.