Smoothies are a great route to go when you need something quick but still full of nutrients. There are many ways a person can optimize their smoothie so they are getting all the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients that keep them full and also bring down inflammation in the body.
Here are four ways to optimize your smoothie:
Include fat. This is one of the most important, if not the most important addition to a smoothie. Smoothies largely consist of fruit. While fruit is great for you, it alone can spike your blood sugar. Blood sugar spikes are damaging to our cells and cause weight gain, mood swings, and energy crashes. Fats and protein help decrease the chance of that happening by blunting the blood sugar spike. The addition of fat will also help you feel full longer. Our body will burn off carbohydrates much quicker than it burns off fat. Some great ways to add fat:
Avocado - full of fat, neutral in flavor, and adds a creamy texture to the smoothie.
Nut butters - there are a lot of unhealthy nut butters out there. Pick ones without added sugar or refined vegetable oils (palm oil). Nut butters should just consist of nuts and maybe some salt.
MCT oil - an excellent source of fat that causes a quick increase in energy.
Kefir or yogurt - Full of healthy fat and creamy texture. See below for more benefits and information on the best ones to buy.
Chia seeds and flax seed - Great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are very anti-inflammatory. They also contain fiber which your microbiome loves. Flax seeds are also helpful in balancing hormones.
Hemp milk - there is more fat content in hemp milk in comparison to almond milk. Super easy to make at home - just blend hemp seeds, water, a pinch of sea salt, and a splash of maple syrup.
Include real greens and vegetables. Greens powders are great but good ol’ fashioned fresh vegetables have even more benefits. Consuming vegetables when they are at their freshest and before they have been turned into a powder means there will be more vitamins and more fiber. The more fiber in your day the better. And then of course, all the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that come from the vegetables help fight disease, cancer, and inflammation. Here are some great vegetables to add:
All leafy greens - spinach, kale, arugula, spring mix, romaine, dandelion greens, chard, radish top greens, and parsley
Others: Bok choy, cucumbers, celery, carrots
Tip: Add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to cut through the bitterness of the greens (especially parsley, chard, dandelion greens, and arugula).
Mix it up. The more variety in our diet, the better. Switch up the greens, switch up the liquid bases, and switch up the fruit. Diversity in the colors we eat provides different vitamins and phytochemicals. Diversity in the fiber we eat breeds diversity in our GI microbiome.
AddProbiotics. The addition of grass-fed kefir or yogurt is a great way to get natural probiotics in your smoothie. Probiotic supplements can be helpful for a variety of issues but probiotic foods are more beneficial. Fermented food helps heal the GI tract which not only helps gut issues but also improves full body health because all disease begins in the gut. It is very important to find well sourced kefir and yogurt. If the yogurt or kefir is from cows then it should be from 100% grass-fed cows. Goat kefir is also a great option. Make sure both the kefir and yogurt don’t have any added sugar or flavorings. People that are lactose intolerant aren’t usually as bothered by kefir or yogurt because the naturally occurring bacteria in them help break down the lactose.
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