Who doesn’t love a smoothie? They’re a quick, satisfying, and easy way to get nutrients. The healing power of the smoothie begins with the quality of ingredients you use. Though most start with a base of fruit, you can elevate your smoothie to a creamier, more satisfying snack with the addition of dairy. You’ll also get important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.
Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth as well as maintenance of the gums. It can also help lower blood pressure and prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis. In addition to cow’s milk, calcium can be found in almonds, blackstrap molasses, dark green leafy vegetables, goat’s milk, sesame seeds, tofu, and yogurt—any of which can be added to a smoothie.
Dairy also provides a dose of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb and utilize calcium. Vitamin D enhances immunity and is essential for thyroid functioning. It can protect against muscle weakness and helps regulate the heartbeat. In addition to milk, other sources for this vitamin include fish liver oils and sweet potatoes—both healthful smoothie ingredients.
A Good Foundation
Before making a smoothie, consider what the base of the drink will be. Do you want to combine fruits for maximum flavor and nutrients? Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are excellent choices as they’re low in sugar and rich in antioxidants. If you prefer something less sweet, greens such as spinach are healthy picks.
A liquid ingredient is added next. Options include milk, juice, or yogurt. Ice is often added to provide a thicker texture and colder temperature. If you don’t want ice, blend a combination of fresh and frozen fruits instead. Before blending, supplements can be added for even more nutritional benefits (see our Smoothie Supplements chart below).
A good source of omega-3 fatty acids
Green Tea Extract
Helps promote weight loss and boosts the immune system.
Good for building muscles and supplying protein. Possible sources include whey, soy, and hemp.
High in B-complex vitamins.
Rich in protein and essential fatty acids.
Adds vital nutrients and can also boost flavor.
Rich in fiber.
Helps detox the body and is high in vitamins.
“Does Your Smoothie Need a Boost?” UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, www. wellnessletter.com, 9/05
“How to Add Supplements to Your Smoothies,” www.ehow.com
Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis a. balch, CnC ($29.95, Penguin Group/avery, 2006)