Gone are the days of taking a few basic ingredients and throwing them into a blender. Bananas, strawberries, and yogurt? So last year. Now that you've discovered the wonderful world of kale, chia seeds, and spinach, it's time to expand your smoothie-making skills even more. The following five food items are guaranteed to increase the nutrient (and flavor) quotient of your smoothies.
- Avocado: Besides the nutrient content, avocados help add a creamy, smooth texture to smoothies. If you are not an avocado fan, add only one-half of an avocado to a smoothie — you'll barely taste it (yet still reap all the health benefits). Here's a basil avocado smoothie recipe to help get you started.
Here are more nutritious ingredients to add to your shakes.
- Maca: Maca is a Peruvian root plant that is slightly sweet and has been shown to increase energy, endurance, and improve sexual function. The best form for smoothies is when it's in a raw, powered state, like this Navitas Raw Maca powder ($18/16 oz). When using maca for the first time, start with a tablespoon of powder since the flavor is quite distinctive. If you'd like to add more, a banana or berries can instantly mask the taste.
- Ginger: With ginger's ability to kill ovarian cancer cells and relieve nausea and inflammation, why not include it? Just a 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to your smoothie concoction can go a long way. Here's detoxifying orange ginger smoothie for inspiration.
- Cacao: In case you missed the mint chocolate chip shake recipe earlier this month, cacao nibs are an excellent addition to a smoothie because they give you your chocolate fix minus the calories and sugar. Research shows that cacao is full of antioxidants called flavonoids, which can also improve heart health. Keep in mind that cacao nibs are more bitter than cacao powder.
Source: Flickr User katjung