7 Must-Have Superfoods for Your Summer Smoothies
Smoothies are an excellent way to incorporate nutritional foods into your diet on-the-go, while balancing work schedules, play schedules, workouts and more for the whole family. Not only can they help take the edge off a scorching summer day, they can help work in vital superfoods to help keep your family healthy and strong.
Here are seven superfoods you can mix into smoothies for additional antioxidants, probiotics, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, essential vitamins, and other nutrients to give your body an extra boost.
Chia seeds are an easy way to boost both your fiber and your omega-3 fatty acids intake. In fact, just one tablespoon of chia seeds provides more than 20 percent of your daily fiber recommendation! In addition to being nearly tasteless, chia seeds thicken smoothies and make them more filling for the perfect breakfast on those busy school mornings.
Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
Use unsweetened Greek yogurt in your smoothie to add in probiotics — which can boost immunity and improve digestion — as well as protein for a healthy dose of energy. It also adds an incredible creaminess to your smoothie that is both filling and delicious.
Like chia seeds, ground flaxseeds are an excellent source of fiber and fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to regulate blood clotting, reduce inflammation and boost heart health. Flaxseeds also contain lignans, which may potentially aid in the prevention of some types of cancer. The nutty flaxseed flavor is very subtle, which lends itself to nearly any type of smoothie.
A tablespoon of almond butter contains fiber and enough protein to rival one ounce of meat. In addition, almond butter is an excellent source of vitamin E, iron and magnesium. Make an “almond butter and jelly smoothie” with almond butter, frozen red grapes, milk, vanilla and 1/2 an overripe banana — and watch your kids ask for seconds!
Kale is a leafy green whose health properties rival spinach. In addition to fiber and protein, kale contains a range of antioxidants including beta carotene, vitamin C, quercetin and kaempferol. When blended with fruits such as bananas, cherries or pears, the taste of kale is barely perceptible.
Adding cocoa powder to a morning smoothie can be an effective way to get picky children to eat breakfast while still enjoying those superfood benefits. Because it contains flavonoids, cocoa powder can improve the flow of blood to the heart and brain while also lowering blood pressure. Plus, cocoa powder contains almost no fat and less than 15 calories for each tablespoon serving size. It’s important to make sure that you’re purchasing non-alkalized or raw cocoa powder to obtain its full benefits.
Coconut oil combines numerous benefits with a smooth and rich taste to deliver a powerful nutritional punch to smoothies. The saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids which provide a rapid source of energy. Coconut oil could reduce the effects of LDL cholesterol — perhaps better known as “bad” cholesterol — by converting it to a form that is less harmful.
Smoothies are a quick and easy snack or breakfast. They can also be used with lunch and dinner to boost the nutritional value of those meals. Keeping the above seven superfoods on hand gives you an incredible way to whip up smoothies any time of the day or night.