7 Awesome Smoothie Ingredients to Supercharge Your Health

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I don’t know about you, but choking down wheatgrass or feasting on kale is not my idea of a good time. 

An insanely delicious smoothie, on the other hand? That I’m down for any time, any place.

That’s why my favorite health hack for boosting my micronutrient intake and getting in all of that greenz goodness is to sneak nutrient-dense (but often not-so-tasty) ingredients into my morning smoothie.

Yes, my friends, you can get your vitamins without feeling like you’re drinking pond water.

Today I’m sharing 7 of my favorite smoothie ingredients that pack a major health-boosting punch.

1. Fresh Ginger Root

Ginger is a spice that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for centuries – and with good reason! 

Health Benefits Include: 

  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce muscle and joint pain
  • Eases menstrual cramps (hallelujah!)
  • Effectively treats nausea (especially for any soon-to-be mamas suffering from morning sickness)
  • Aids in digestion
  • Can help fight inflammatory infections such as gingivitis.
  • May improve brain function and protect against neurodegenerative diseases by inhibiting inflammatory responses in the brain
  • Not to mention… it’s DELICIOUS! (Pro tip: Ginger + Lemon = BOMB AF COMBO)

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is a close relative of ginger that offers a variety of health benefits, most of which are derived from its main bioactive substance, curcumin. 

Although insanely healthy, curcumin has poor bioavailability and often passes through the digestive track unabsorbed.  

Fortunately there’s a simple solution! Pairing it with piperine (a component of black pepper) will enhance its absorption.

Health Benefits Include:
  • Increases the body’s production of free-radical fighting antioxidants
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory that helps prevent and treat symptoms of diseases like osteoarthritis, age-related cognitive decline, and some forms of cancer.
  • Boosts BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which is linked to improved brain function.
  • Can reduce symptoms of depression, demonstrating improvements on par with Prozac in some studies. 
  • Demonstrated to be an effective pain reliever at higher doses (400 – 500mg).

3. Greens powder

The average American’s diet is severely lacking in nutrient-dense, plant-based foods. While your greens powder shouldn’t completely replace vegetables and fresh greens in your diet, it’s a great way to supplement them! 

Greens powders generally contain 25-40 ingredients which vary by brand, so the specific health benefits of each will largely come down to which formula you choose to purchase.

I personally use Amazing Grass Green Superfood (a budget-friendly option), but other powders I’d recommend include Opti-Greens 50 and Athletic Greens

Health Benefits Include:
  • Highly concentrated and easily absorbed by the body so you get more of the nutrient goodness
  • Can restore PH balance in the body. The typical protein-dominant Western diet creates an overabundance of acid in the body. Greens powders are alkaline, which helps to balance this preserving bone and muscle health while decreasing inflammation
  • Usually rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory plant compounds which can help prevent chronic diseases
  • Most formulas are high in vitamins that support immune function
  • It’s a convenient way to consume loads of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that your diet might otherwise be lacking. 

4. Spinach (or other dark leafy greens)

My favorite way to eat dark, leafy greens? Definitely in a smoothie! Spinach is my go-to because it blends nicely, doesn’t have a strong effect on the overall taste and is absolutely loaded with nutrients. 

Health Benefits Include:
  • An amazing source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, manganese, folate, magnesium and more. 
  • High in fiber and water content which aids in digestion
  • Contains large quantities of vitamin A and vitamin C which are important for skin and hair health. 
  • Supports bone health because it contains Vitamin K which helps to increase calcium absorption
  • High potassium content helps to lower blood pressure
  • Contains chlorophyll which has been shown to block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines (translation: it blocks the cancer-causing agents generated when grilling foods at a high temperature)
  • Contains beta-carotene which supports eye health.

5. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a powerful, well-researched herb, that has been used over 3,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine. 

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen (a substance that helps the body adapt to stress) and anxiolytic (a substance that eases anxiety), and a definite staple in my smoothie-making routine.

Health Benefits Include: 
  • Reduces anxiety and may mitigate stress-induced insomnia, depression, and immunosuppression.
  • Reduces cortisol (the primary “stress” hormone) levels as well as symptoms of chronic stress such as fatigue or cognitive impairment.
  • Has demonstrated anti-cancer properties in animal tests by helping to induce apoptosis, the programmed death of cancer cells.
  • Decreases markers of inflammation (specifically C-Reactive Protein)
  • Reduces LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  •  Improves physical performance and power output in both sedentary people and athletes.
  • Though more research is needed, the studies we do have suggest Ashwagandha may improve brain function including memory, reaction time, task performance, and attention. 

6. Maca

Maca is a Peruvian plant and cruciferous vegetable (think broccoli or cauliflower) grown predominantly in the Andes mountains. The main edible part of the plant is the root, which comes in a variety of colors and has an earthy, nutty taste. 

While there are plentiful personal accounts attesting to the benefits experienced while supplementing with maca, it’s important to note that formal research on maca is still in its early stages. 

Health benefits include:
  • Great source of several important vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds including Vitamin C, Copper, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin B6, and Manganese 
  • Increases libido in both men and women
  • Aids in hormonal balance
  • May help relieve symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and disrupted sleep
  • Often used among athletes to help boost energy and endurance
  • Can enhance mood, reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression

7. Cacao powder

Like many other ingredients on this list, cacao (not to be confused with it’s much less healthy, processed counterpart “cocoa”) is a true superfood. It is the purest form of chocolate that you can consume, made by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans. 

Health Benefits include:
  • Huge source of antioxidants with 40x the amount of blueberries
  • One of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium – an essential mineral for heart and brain health
  • Supports healthy metabolic function
  •  Raw cacao contains arginine, an amino acid that is turned into nitric oxide in the body, which helps to regulate blood pressure and aid in muscle recovery. 
  • A natural mood elevator and anti-depressant. Cacao contains four neurotransmitters – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine – which have all been scientifically proven to increase feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

Bonus ingredient: Frozen Banana

The key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to make it enjoyable, and that’s why frozen bananas have made the list! Besides adding a healthy dose of fiber and a plethora of essential vitamins like potassium, putting half a frozen banana in your smoothie will give it a delicious, creamy texture that’s to die for! Try it! 

Now I Want to Hear From You!

What are your go-to smoothie ingredients? Which of the above ingredients are you most excited to try? Let me know in the comments below!

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