Smoothie Boosters

JANUARY 3, 2019 BY ELEANOR BAKER, MS, RD, LDN

Smoothie Boosters

Spirulina

Spirulina is touted by vegans and vegetarians for its high protein content. It is also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, and potassium.

In 2016 randomized placebo-controlled trial was published which found improved BMI, body weight and blood pressure in 40 individuals with hypertension who consumed 2 grams of spirulina per day for 3 months.

Does smell and taste a bit like algae so start small when adding it to smoothies or other dishes to allow your taste buds to become accustomed to the distinct flavor before upping your does. There are suggested health benefits of incorporating spirulina to your juice or smoothie so give it a try!

Matcha

Matcha in powder form

Powdered Matcha Tea has all the benefits of green tea. It is rich in polyphenols which protect against heart disease, cancer, improve blood sugar regulation, decreased blood pressure, and has anti-aging properties. Matcha tea, like green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate or ECGC which is a phytochemical (antioxidant) that helps boost metabolism.

One teaspoon of matcha tea powder contains 70 mg of caffeine, similar to the amount found in an 8 oz cup of coffee (95 mg). Since you are consuming the leaves of what makes green tea, you will get 3x the amount of caffeine that you would have in a cup of tea – this is similar to a cup of coffee.

Moringa Oleifera

Moringa Oleifera, also known as the Drum Stick Tree.

Moringa is another great addition to your smoothie. Powdered morning like this one, dissolves easily into liquids and has a distinctly “green” flavor that is bitter and slightly sweet.

As a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, B6, and A, riboflavin, iron and magnesium, moringa can help to fill in any gaps you may be missing in your diet. One study suggested that leaf and bark extracts of Moringa collected from the Saudi Arabian region possess anti-cancer activity that can be used to develop new drugs for treatment of breast and colorectal cancers. It is also suggested to decrease cholesterol and blood pressure. 

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass shots are popular at health food stores and juice bars.

Some research suggests that wheatgrass helps to improve your immunity, kill harmful digestive bacteria, and rid the body of waste. Wheatgrass has also been touted as treatment for cancer and chemotherapy side effects, anemia, diabetes, infections, ulcerative colitis, and joint pain.

Although, there is limited supporting research for these claims, wheatgrass is a nutrient power house that can give your nutrition game a leg up in just a small shot. Loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C. This immunity and smoothie booster is worth a try.

Kale

Did you know that one cup of chopped kale has more than twice the vitamin C of an orange, a whopping 684% of vitamin K, and rings in at a mere 33 calories. It makes for the perfect smoothie or juice base! Heads up though, kale can give juice a spicy little kick (relative of the radish family) so be ready.

Nutrients found in Kale helps lower cholesterol, and support cardiovascular, skin, hair, bone, and digestion health. Kale is also a great source of fiber, learn more about fiber here!

Beets

Fun Fact: Consuming beets will turn your urine pinkish-red!

Beets have been touted as a performance enhancer due to their naturally occurring nitrates. So they are a great addition to an athlete’s diet!

Packed with fiber, potassium, healthy nitrates and manganese these little babies are a great smoothie booster! Fiber is known to help move things along in the digestive system but it is also the food for the probiotics in  your gut microbiome.

Be sure to cook these little guys to help bring out their flavors and make them easier to digest. You can roast, bake, or steam this root to soften them up until tender. No time? Order these precooked vacuum sealed beets!

Spinach

If you want to be strong like Popeye… sneak in some spinach! Chock-full of B vitamins, zinc, protein, fiber, folate, calcium, and iron, spinach is a runner’s best friend.

It even has the potential to reduce cholesterol, help to improve you cardiovascular health (folate), and lower high blood pressure (magnesium).For students reading this, spinach has also been suggested to improve brain function, memory, and mental clarity.

Ginger

Ginger is often used to aid in digestion, reduce nausea, and is know to be an anti-inflammatory food. Ginger also has the potential to reduce muscle soreness, a welcome option for those who are pushing hard their workouts.

Ginger has been suggested to lower blood sugars and cholesterol levels, improve heart disease risk factors, brain function, cancer risks, and fight infections. Add a thumb-size amount in your smoothie blend or try ginger in a stir-fry or with turmeric and lemon in hot tea rooibos tea.

Turmeric

Turneric is a popular spice in Indian Cuisine.

Did you know that the the main active ingredient in turmericcurcumin is what gives the root its bright orange color? Curcumin has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has been suggested to improve brain function, lower cardiovascular disease risk, prevent and treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and could reduce arthritis inflammation.

Consume turmeric with black pepper to enhance the absorption of curcumin in the turmeric. Curcumin is fat soluble so add it to your smoothie with a little avocado or to your eggs fried in olive oil. Turmeric commonly found in curry dishes which can contain coconut milk (fat source) to help maximize your absorption of the curcumin found within it.

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