Superfoods to Sneak into Your Juices and Smoothies
If you’re juicing and drinking smoothies as a way of improving your daily nutrient intake, then you’re already healthier than most. But did you know there are ways to boost your smoothies and juices with very little effort? Superfoods, a group of foods with increased health benefits, are an easy (and mostly tasty) way to improve your drinks. Here are some of our favourite superfoods that you can include. (Not into juicing, you can still include these superfoods into your meals with some handy recipes below.)
We’re certain that you don’t need any more reason to eat avocado, and luckily they’re coming into season in the cooler months. While avos may seem an unlikely addition to smoothies, they help create a creamy texture without any added flavour. Avocados are packed with (good for you!) monounsaturated fat, which helps lower bad cholesterol. They also aid the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins D, h in free-radical figE and K, in the same way that coconut oil does.
In the world of superfoods, blueberries may just be the most super. For starters they are very rich in antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, B-complex, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, selenium, zinc, iron (which promotes immunity by raising haemoglobin and oxygen concentration in blood), to name a few. They’re able to boost up your immune system, prevent infections, prevent loss of vision and lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. In winter, when they’re out of season, simply pick up a frozen pack to pop into your blender.
These quirky little seeds are rich in alpha lineic acid (or ALA) which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. It was recently discovered that ALA limited the growth of cancer cells in both breast and cervical cancers. They also contain one of the highest plant-based protein sources, and can also prolong hydration and the absorption of electrolytes due to the fact that they absorb up 10 times their own weight in water. The best way to eat them is ground up or soaked in water and added to a smoothie.
With a slightly nutty flavour, cacao nibs (dried and fermented cacao beans) can be a healthy and tasty swap for regular chocolate. They’re also incredibly good for you. A single 30g serving of cacao nibs provides 18% of your daily intake of fibre and 21% of it for iron. They are also chock-full of protective antioxidants and magnesium. In fact, raw cacao nibs are one of the best food sources of magnesium: an essential mineral involved in over 300 chemical reactions in our body, from nerve function to bone health. Add to your smoothies, or simply snack on them as is.
Often found in dried form, these little powerhouse berries contain all the essential amino acids necessary in building muscle tissue. They also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit and are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids (linked to reducing cancer risk and improving eye health) than any other food. They’re high in fibre and boast 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium. Need more encouragement to add a handful to tomorrow’s smoothie?
There is no end to the health benefits of the entire coconut fruit but coconut oil is probably the superstar, with a number of amazing properties. It’s been linked to preventing liver and kidney diseases, strengthening the immune system, as well as maintaining cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It’s also important to add a tablespoon or two to your morning smoothie so that your body can absorb Vitamins D (found in soy milk and cereals), E (in Kiwi Fruit and almonds) and K (found in leafy greens such as spinach and kale), all fat soluble vitamins.
Green tea is made of the same tea leaves as black tea, but hasn’t undergone the withering and oxidisation process. The health benefits of green tea have been celebrated for free-radical-fighting antioxidants, contains B vitamins, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), manganese, potassium, magnesium and caffeine. Brew up a teabag or two, cool the liquid and add it to your smoothie or juice.
Feeling a little fluey? With winter around the corner it’s bound to happen. Combat any flu-like symptoms with ginger, it’s known to reduce fevers, soothe sore throats, and encourages coughing to remove mucus from the chest. The chemicals in ginger give it that spicy kick that stimulates blood circulation and opens your sinuses. It’s also proven to cure upset tummies, nausea or travel sickness. Grate a piece and throw it in your smoothie (best with carrot or beetroot we think!) or juice it and feel instantly better.
One cup of kale, containing just 33 calories, contains 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fibre (which helps you feel fuller for longer), Vitamins A, C and K, and Vitamin B9 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are both proven to be key in brain development. Best way to up your daily intake is to include a handful of leaves to your smoothie or juice.
Matcha is a real buzz word presently but this powerful antioxidant green tea powder has actually been around for centuries. It’s now known as one of the most powerful superfoods on the market and along with its antioxidant properties is also a mood enhancer, a memory and concentration booster and so much more. It also contains vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, K and trace minerals. Matcha is made from Japanese tea leaves (tencha) which are grown in the shade to increase their chlorophyll content. The leaves are then harvested and ground to create this bright green super powder.
Possibly the least impressive tasting of all the superfoods, spirulina is a natural algae harvested from non-contaminated ponds and bodies of water, hence why it can taste a little like pond scum. It is unbelievably good for you though. Spirulina is 65% protein and amino acids, including the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which has gotten a lot of attention for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also especially high in Omega-3,6 and 9. Sprinkle a bit of the powder into your smoothie, so that it doesn’t taste bad.
Unlike the name suggests, wheatgrass contains no wheat at all. This little super plant, which somewhat resembles lawn clippings, is packed with all sorts of goodness. It contains high levels of nutrients (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc) and live enzymes which make it easily digestible. Because of this nutrients are delivered into your bloodstream quickly and go to work cleansing and detoxifying. Certain juicers will be able to extract this powerful green juice from freshly clipped grass, alternatively, if you don’t have a green thumb, you can purchase dried wheatgrass.
Deciding on a juicer to buy? Check out our list HERE.
Hungry for more? Subscribe to our newsletter.