Smoothies can be a fast, portable and delicious way to get a load of nutrients into your body—either as a snack or as a meal replacement. Toss a handful of one of these seven super foods into the blender with your favorite smoothie ingredients to rev up your energy, promote longevity and improve your overall health.
Perfect for thickening up a smoothie, these tiny, energy-promoting seeds were consumed by Aztec warriors as fuel while running long distances or during battle. Rich in antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium and magnesium, chia seeds pack a powerful punch of complete nutrition. A clinical study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that chia seeds may halt and even reverse diabetes. Chia seeds are also rich in alpha lipoic acid (ALA), which has been clinically proven to limit the growth of cancer cells in both cervical and breast cancer. You can toss them in your smoothie as is, or presoak them from 30 minutes to 2 hours in a ratio of 1:10 chia to water to “sprout” them and create a gel.
Approximately 40 percent protein, half of which is free-form amino acids, bee pollen increases energy, improves endurance and vitality and has antibiotic-type properties to fight colds and viruses. It has been shown to normalize metabolism, helping in weight loss or gain, as well as ease hay fever and allergies. Bee pollen is contraindicated for those with hepatic disease, diabetes, pollen allergies or sensitivity to bee products or bee stings.
Hemp Protein Powder
Arguably one of nature’s best sources of plant protein, hemp is a vegan favorite with 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids that your body is unable to produce on its own. It’s also inherently loaded with more heart-healthy omega fatty acids and fiber than many other common protein powders. Proven to combat fatigue and boost the immune system, hemp powder is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, cleansing the colon and reducing constipation and toxins in the body.
This blue-green algae is a complete vegan protein and naturally high in iron. Its high iron-protein combo makes it ideal during pregnancy, after surgery or anytime the immune system needs a boost. Extremely high in chlorophyll, spirulina binds with and removes heavy metals from the body. This green powder is dense with the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and beta carotene, which may aid in the prevention of cancer and premature aging. Be sure that your spirulina is grown and harvested in a clean environment. People with shellfish, seafood or iodine allergy should avoid spirulina.
This tuber grown in the Andes has long been used in traditional medicine to raise libido and combat fatigue. Maca root has gained a reputation for boosting fertility, balancing hormones and reversing hypothyroidism. It’s an endocrine adaptogen, meaning it does not contain any hormones, but supports the body’s natural hormone production. Maca powder boasts a strong, earthy and slightly butterscotch flavor. Combine it with cacao, nuts and other creamy ingredients, and avoid using it with fruits (pineapple, dates and bananas are an exception).
These tart Brazilian super berries are chock-full of anthocyanins and flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that boost skin health, increase immunity and may help prevent cancer. Studies have shown their ability to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. High fiber from plant sterols may improve weight loss too. You can find these powerful berries in the frozen section of most grocery stores. Toss them into the blender with a little coconut water, lime juice and spinach, and voilà!—you have a berry delicious and nutritious smoothie.