10 Healthy Smoothie Recipes to Increase Micronutrient Intake and Aid Digestion
Who doesn’t love a refreshing smoothie? Not only are they delicious, but healthy smoothie recipes are one of the most popular choices in terms of healthy wellness trends. Smoothies are so popular amongst vast groups of people due to the fact that they’re very versatile and modifiable for any taste or dietary restrictions, they’re quick and easy to make, you can take them on-the-go, and are good for all ages.
1. Pros and cons of smoothies for health
- Smoothies are a popular "health" choice, but it's important to make sure the ingredients will achieve what you want.
- Smoothies are great because they are customizable, which means you can make recipes that are good for your gut.
- For better digestion, add gut healthy ingredients like chia seeds and spinach to your smoothies.
Knowing what you’re putting in your smoothies is the key to getting the utmost amount of nutrients and benefits. While natural smoothies are loaded with fruits and vegetables, others can be loaded with sugar. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the pros and cons of smoothies, common healthy ingredients, and the top ten healthy smoothie recipes to increase micronutrient intake and aid digestion.
Pros and cons of smoothies for health
1. Packed with nutrients: Healthy smoothie recipes, or natural smoothies are typically rich with healthy fat and vitamins to help your body burn fat for energy and absorb the nutrients sufficiently. You can easily add healthy ingredients that you wouldn’t normally eat to your smoothie. Smoothies made primarily from fresh or frozen produce may reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and lower your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease.
2. Hydration: If you’re not a fan of drinking water all day because of a lack of flavor, or you’re trying to kick a sugary juice/soda habit, smoothies are a nice option in your day to keep you hydrated. Smoothies are usually made with liquids such as milk, water, or even yogurt.
3. Take them on the go: Have a big commute to school or work in the morning and running late? Sometimes you may not have time to cook a big breakfast, so smoothies are a quick and easy option for a kickstart in the morning that you can bring with you. Filled with calcium, vitamins, and your daily fruit/vegetable intake, you’ll find your body satisfied until you reach your destination.
1. High in Sugar: While healthy smoothie recipes are packed with antioxidants, there are some smoothies that are packed with sugar for better taste or due to the amount of fruit in the recipe. This is due to the blending of the fruit, as natural sugars are released from the cell walls of the fruit and then become “free sugars”.
2. Not a Meal Replacement: Sometimes, people get hooked on smoothies, or they trick themselves into thinking that they only need to get their vegetable and fruit intake from their smoothie. Avoid limiting the variety in your diet and be sure you’re ingesting healthy foods through more than just a morning smoothie.
3. Pre-packaged smoothies: When you make a smoothie at home, you know exactly what ingredients you’re putting into it. With smoothies that you buy at the store or your favorite smoothie chain, they can be calorie dense and you could be getting a lot of unwanted ingredients like excess sugar, a liquid base you’re not used to, or unhealthy sweeteners (1).
Different smoothie options
Although there can be some overlap, most smoothies can be classified into the following categories:
- Protein Smoothies: Healthy smoothie recipes that are higher in protein help to rebuild and repair muscles after a tough workout, help make you feel fuller, longer, and help to curb the need to reach for a snack in between meals (2). Protein sources in these smoothies include Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder, or even tofu.
- Green Smoothies: Most unhealthy smoothies are made with just fruit and liquid, which is super high in sugar and can cause inflammation. A green smoothie, on the other hand, is made with fruit, plant-based liquid and leafy greens. Common ingredients include spinach and kale.
- Fruit Smoothies: Since the name is pretty self-explanatory, you might know what this kind of smoothie is. Fruit smoothies usually have one-three types of fruit blended with fruit juice, water, milk, yogurt, or ice cream
When it comes to healthy smoothie recipes, the most popular ingredients include:
- Fruits: strawberries, blueberries, banana, apple, peach, mango, and pineapple
- Vegetables: kale, spinach, arugula, wheatgrass, microgreens, avocado, cucumber, beetroot, and carrots
- Nuts and seeds: almond butter, peanut butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds
- Herbs and spices: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and cocoa powder/ cacao nibs
- Nutritional and herbal supplements: spirulina, bee pollen, matcha powder, protein powder, and powdered vitamin or mineral supplements
- Liquid: water, fruit juice, vegetable juice, milk, non-dairy milk, and coconut water
- Sweeteners: maple syrup, raw sugar, honey, dates, simple syrup, fruit juice concentrates, stevia, ice cream, and sorbet
- Others: cottage cheese, vanilla extract, oats, silken tofu, and dairy or nondairy yogurt (3)
Healthy smoothie recipes
- Ground flaxseeds, spinach, chia seeds, protein powder, almond milk, blueberries, and raspberries – The ingredients in this smoothie are loaded with nutrients, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Flaxseeds in particular are high in omega-3 fats, which is great if you are a vegetarian, vegan, or don’t eat fish.
- Chia seeds, matcha green tea powder, spinach, flax seeds, banana – This smoothie is super versatile, and you can add way more leafy greens and fruits if you’re craving more flavor. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, protein, calcium, healthy fat, and a lot more vitamins and minerals.
- Frozen spinach, frozen pineapple, frozen mango, and fresh banana - Blending spinach into a fruit smoothie is a great way to boost your immune system, naturally energize yourself, boost phytonutrients and fiber, and slow the absorption of sugars into your body (4).
- Almond milk, fresh papaya, protein powder, fresh turmeric root, and ginger root – Want a smoothie with a kick? This smoothie is packed with protein, as well as turmeric and ginger, which are known healthy superfoods.
- Oats, banana, vanilla yogurt, skim milk, peanut butter, honey, and ground cinnamon – This smoothie is delicious and packed with fiber and protein. Honey is also a great source of antioxidants and antibacterial properties. You can also add a tablespoon of flaxseeds for even more health benefits.
- Almond butter, coconut water, Greek yogurt, protein powder, and banana – In this healthy smoothie recipe, the almond butter provides healthy fats while the coconut water is great for hydration and restoring electrolytes.
- Coconut water, spinach, kiwi, and banana – Bananas are great for added potassium and aiding with digestion while kiwis add sweetness and vitamin C to the mix.
- Kale, apple juice, spinach, banana – This simple green smoothie is quick and easy to make with healthy natural ingredients you probably have in your refrigerator. Spinach is a fantastic source of iron, and the banana and apple flavors add the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Milk, kiwi, vanilla extract, honey, and silken tofu – This recipe is packed with protein and vitamin C. Also, for the vegans out there, silken tofu is a great ingredient to substitute for dairy in your smoothies for a creamy texture.
- Grapefruit, pineapple, Greek yogurt coconut oil, and fresh ginger – A yummy healthy smoothie recipe loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants fiber, and more to reduce inflammation, prevent cell damage, control blood sugar, and improve gut health.
Written by Selena Ponton
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