Our blenders are overachievers. The way we whip up smoothies here at HQ is something just short of wizardry and we’re glad our gal, holistic nutritionist, Kelly LeVeque is on the same page.
As well-educated smoothie addicts, we’re pretty sure our readers have graduated beyond simple milk and berry conconctions too. Use those blenders to create some serious sustenance and get sipping on body-benefiting mixes thanks to a few of Kelly’s personal favorite ingredients below. We also love her guide to pre-party smoothies here!
When made correctly, smoothies are low in sugar and full of protein, fat and fiber to balance blood sugar and hunger hormones while keeping you satisfied and energized between meals. Today’s high-grade powder supplements – like adaptogens, mushrooms, antioxidants and greens – are effortless additions for making healthy smoothies that fight oxidative stress, adrenal fatigue and inflammation.
Looking to upgrade your smoothie? Fight your ailment and upgrade your smoothie with one of my favorite natural remedies…
Add a Boost:
Adaptogens like ashwaganda, rhodiola and ginseng are herbal remedies that help the body respond to stress. When we are consistently stressed, our adrenal glands go into fight-or-flight mode, causing adrenaline to spike. If we don’t take the time to relax and calm stress, our adrenal glands go into overdrive and our body functions suffer. We may begin to feel irritable and worn out – two major symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Adaptogens combat adrenal fatigue by balancing and restoring us internally so that we are better able to cope when confronted with situations that trigger stress.
Ashwaganda: Ashwaganda helps your body reduce cortisol and combat stress. High cortisol levels and chronic stress are linked to weight gain, anxiety and decreased energy. Ashwaganda aids the body in lowering cortisol; when consumed on a regular basis, it will help relax and balance you from the inside out. Ashwaganda’s calming effects have also been associated with improved concentration and stamina during physical activity.
Rhodiola Rosea: Like most adaptogens, rhodiola restores your normal physiological response to stress, protects against stress-induced depression and modulates the immune system. However, this herb is growing in popularity because of numerous studies showing its system-wide efficacy to promote homeostasis in the body. Rhodiola is shown to prevent stress-induced heart attacks and promote new cardiac blood-vessel growth after a heart attack. A 2002 study showed a reduction in serum markers for liver dysfunction. It’s also been shown to inhibit the proliferation of leukemia cells and induce death through angiogenesis. Beauty benefits include restoring the liver’s natural antioxidant stores, stimulating an appropriate immune response to inflammation and it’s most recently been linked to weight loss.
Ginseng: Ginseng is considered the most potent adaptogen and is known for its ability to increase cognitive function and physical performance. Studies have confirmed that ginseng has a positive effect on learning and improved memory on young healthy adults. Ginseng is also linked with lowering and stabilizing blood-sugar levels, which is integral for weight loss. Add half a tablespoon of powdered ginseng to your morning smoothie to avoid high blood-sugar spikes.
Moringa Oleifera: Moringa oleifera leaves include vital trace minerals such as magnesium, selenium, potassium, calcium and iron – all of which are essential for cell and skin health. Like other adaptogens, moringa stabilizes blood-sugar levels – which is why it is used to promote a good night’s sleep. When blood-sugar levels range between 75-105 mg/dl, your body burns fat and increases energy, especially during sleep. Moreover, studies have confirmed that balanced blood sugar improves the quality and length of sleep. Moringa is also an excellent source of energy without caffeine or added stimulants.
Broccoli Sprout Powder: Broccoli sprout is rich in vitamin K, potassium, manganese and iron. Half a cup will provide you with 70% of the daily intake of vitamin C, which is needed for the production of collagen. Broccoli also contains folate, a powerful nutrient used in DNA repair. Scoop half a tablespoon of broccoli powder into your smoothie for a fiber- and nutrient-packed meal replacement.
Cordycep mushrooms: Cordycep mushrooms are powerful antioxidants with anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and fatigue combatting properties. Cordyceps naturally fight both physical and mental fatigue by increasing the production of ATP, which is our body’s major energy source. When ingested, cordyceps have been associated with controlling insulin and lowering blood-sugar levels, two factors important for protecting lean muscle mass and burning fat for energy. Cordyceps have also been associated with increased libido by restoring sexual hormones.
Pearl: Pearl is associated with nourishing the body from the inside because it delivers essential trace minerals into the bloodstream. Pearl is a good source of calcium, niacin, copper, vitamin B2, and choline, which is a member of the B vitamin family useful in the fatty portions of cell membranes production and essential for healthy skin. The beauty bonus, zinc also keeps your nails, hair, and eyes healthy too!
Acai Powder: Acai powder is associated with anti-aging properties because its antioxidants and essential fatty acids can repair damaged skin cells. In addition, acai powder is also a primary source of vitamin E, which stimulates collagen production and benefits skin elasticity. The acai berry is also a natural source of dietary fiber and electrolytes.
Ditch the Sugar:
Excess Fruit: Most smoothies contain over two cups of fruit with added superfoods like goji berries and dates that aren’t doing you any favors. Fructose turns to fat faster than any other form of carbohydrate. When it’s metabolized in the liver, fructose converts to glycerol (a sugar alcohol) that’s directly used to turn free fatty acids into fat.
fruit Juice: Not to belabor the point, but ditch smoothies made with orange, pineapple, apple, or any other type of fruit juice, and instead opt for whole fruit. The fiber can help protect against a blood-sugar roller coaster that will leave you hormonally hungry with increased cravings later. Moderation is everything.
Added Sweeteners: There is no need to add agave, honey or maple syrup to smoothies. If you’re craving sweet, add a maximum half cup of fruit or a few drops of stevia to your smoothie. Another trick to aid your sweet tooth is to add a tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT to your smoothie; the medium-chain triglycerides are easily absorbed by the body and are converted to energy.
What is the difference between the fruit juice referenced above, and the pressed juice varieties that contain orange, pineapple, apple, or any other type of fruit juice?
Great question, Lindsay! Fruit is an important part of our natural, plant-based diets. We like to let our contributors express their own views on food and Kelly, like many nutritionists, likes to keep those sugars low, even fruit sugars. Our favorite juices have just a hint of apple or pineapple, but keeping that fruit content in balance is a good note for optimal smoothie making!
A smoothie should not contain over half a cup of fruit (even if it is more than one kind). In addition to this superfoods can be added. Is that the idea?
Medical Medium would not agree with this article on the amount of fruit in your smoothie he calls it fruit fear and it is our conventional way of thinking with doctors having the wrong info because they have very little training on nutrition.