Smoothies are always an instant hit whether it is in the scorching days of summer or as a simple beverage to quench one’s thirst. But for serious health buffs, a good smoothie is one that can help them build their muscle, boost their cognitive prowess, burn fat, and even help the heart. Smoothies are not just sweetened drinks, after all. By choosing the right ingredients to use in the best healthy smoothie recipes, you can also guarantee better health. The question now is what ingredients can be considered the best for smoothies.
The Smoothie Formula
Before we get into the best ingredients for smoothies, let us first understand the three fundamental components of a basic smoothie. You can produce a number of variations by simply modifying these three basic ingredients.
- 2 to 3 parts of your chosen fruit or vegetable
- 1 to 1 and ½ parts of liquid
- ½ part of thickener, although yogurt is best
These three basic components offer you a lot of latitude when it comes to finding the best possible ingredient for your smoothie. You can go fancy or healthy on the solids or the fruit or vegetable component. You can also go with plain water or even fancier stuff in the liquid component. Of course, you can do the same thing on the thickening agent.
Your understanding of these basic components can help you decide on what to include in your smoothie ingredients shopping list.
Fruits or Vegetables
If you’re looking for healthier additions to your smoothies, it is best to pick certain fruits especially those that are naturally rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals. Fruits are generally preferred to vegetables because of the natural sweetness that they provide to the drink. Regardless, you can still put vegetables into your smoothies recipe if that is what you wish as some vegetables are known to contain certain vitamins and minerals in greater amounts than fruits. Plus, they are more fibrous, too.
You can include any of the following in your smoothie.
If you’re looking for healthy smoothie ingredients for weight loss, you can never be wrong with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries as well as the other edible members of the berry family. These fruits are packed with powerful polyphenols that have been associated with more efficient weight loss. They are also filled with antioxidants that can have other health benefits. Plus, they provide a different kind of sweet-tangy taste to your smoothie.
These little red babies are rich in fiber and vitamin C which can be good news for those seeking to improve their skin and hair. It’s also a great fruit to include for those with arthritis especially since Vitamin C is also recognized as a powerful antioxidant.
You will never go monkey with a banana in your smoothie. Rich in potassium, bananas are perfectly combined with peanut butter as a thickening agent in smoothies so you get that delicious flavor you’ve always enjoyed as a kid.
This tropical fruit is best known for its beta-carotene and vitamin C, two very potent antioxidants that can help give you a more robust skin while also aiding in the prevention of certain types of cancer. Plus, it has a very distinct sweetness that goes well with yogurt and milk.
When it comes to the liquid component of smoothies, there are a lot of choices. The safest, of course, is plain water. However, using plain water may not give you the richness of smoothies that you are looking for in such a drink. As such, here are a few suggestions.
- Fat-free Milk
If you’re looking to lose weight by consuming smoothies, then you should always go for fat-free milk. Milk is rich in proteins as well as fats. If you’re on a mission to shed some pounds, then choosing a dairy product that has its fat content removed is a wise move. You can also go for low-fat milk or even skim milk if you want. Soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and even rice milk can be used to give your smoothie the calcium and protein that your body needs.
- Pineapple-Orange Juice
Whether it is consumed as a drink in itself or as a venerable component to your smoothie, a combination of PJ and OJ will surely bring a vastly different kind of taste to your beverage. Orange juice is packed with vitamin C which we already know its benefits. Pineapple juice, on the other hand, contains bromelain which is an enzyme believed to play a role in the reduction of certain inflammatory processes and the inhibition of certain pro-cancer molecules.
A smoothie is never a smoothie if it is runny. Given that the first two components of a basic smoothie is a solid and a liquid, then the third component must act more like glue that will marry the solid and liquid components together. This is the fundamental role of the thickening agent in a smoothie. Here are your options.
Yogurt remains the go-to thickener in smoothies. It’s rich in probiotics which can spell good news for your digestion and immune functioning. It’s also a good source of proteins and calcium as well as other nutrients. Get a low-fat vanilla yogurt if you want the classic vanilla sweetness in your smoothie. Alternatively, you can get a fat-free frozen chocolate yogurt for a more decadent taste. You can always get Greek yogurt or even coconut milk yogurt if you wish.
- Peanut Butter
A more interesting thickener is peanut butter especially if you’re going to use bananas for the solids. Peanut butter is rich in protein, niacin, and manganese which can help ensure healthier heart and a more robust brain function.
- Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Hazelnuts are rich in proteins, minerals, and fiber. When you add the antioxidant benefits of chocolate, you’ll get a very interesting and healthy thickening agent in your chocolate hazelnut spread. Putting Nutella into your smoothie can, thus, give your beverage a very unique twist.
Creating the perfect smoothie is all about understanding the formula for a basic smoothie. From here, you can easily pick the best ingredients to use in your smoothie creation.
- Best and Worst Smoothies – WebMD