Hellloo and welcome (or welcome back) to my blog! Today I wanted to post about 6 different superfoods that you can add to smoothies. I love smoothies because they are super easy to make and so good! Most days, I have a smoothie for breakfast. It’s also easy to pack them with a lot of nutrients which I am all for. This post is also a collaboration with Lexus, one of my closest friends who is also starting to post on her blog again. She has posted her favorite smoothie recipe which you can check out here.
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6 Superfoods to Add to Smoothies
What are Superfoods?
If you’ve heard the term superfood but aren’t exactly sure what it means, superfoods are basically nutrient-rich foods that enhance your well-being. You might not see any ‘magical’ effects if you eat kale once, but in the long run, superfoods can go a long ways.
Some of the main properties of superfoods comes from phytochemicals. I won’t go too much into this, but we discussed this a lot in biology classes and nutrition (college) classes that I’ve taken in the past and it’s a super interesting topic if you’re into wellness! I’ve primarily learned about the different phytochemicals through textbooks, but I can imagine there are a lot of resources online that you can read and I would highly reccommend learning more about it, if it interests you.
To be brief, phytochemicals are chemical compounds from plants that have different health affects. Different phytochemicals interact with your body in different ways. One of the more generally well known phytochemicals is antioxidents. Antioxidents prevent disease and fight free radicals that damage the cells in your body and cause cellular mutation and alter DNA, which can lead to cancer.
My Top 6 Superfoods to Add to Smoothies
Now that you know what superfoods are all about, let’s get into what you’re *really* here for. There are SO many superfoods and different ‘magical’ powders that you can add to smoothies or really any of your meals. I am just going to go over 6 of my personal favorites that I will specifically add to my smoothies.
Flaxseed is my favorite superfood to add to my smoothies. I didn’t start incorporating flaxseed into my diet until reading about it from Dr. Michael Gregor, the author of How Not to Die. Flaxseeds are loaded with alpha-linoleic acids, which is the most common type of omega 3 fatty acids. This is essential in any diet, but in common diets is not primarily obtained through a plant-based source. Omega 3 is usually associated with fish, but flaxseed is one of the best plant based sources for this nutrient. I follow a plant-based, vegan diet so I always have a bag of flaxseed on hand that I regularly incorporate into my diet.
I use flaxseed in *every* smoothie I make, and it gives the smoothie a subtle nutty flavor. To be able to make the nutrients in flaxseed accessible to your body, they need to be grinded. You can either buy flaxseed in a meal, already ground up, or you can put whole flaxseeds in your blender (or a food processor if that doesn’t work) and grind them before making the smoothie to make sure it is completely ground up. If you just consume whole flaxseeds, it will go right through your body, without being digested.
Here is the flaxseed that I use, and it needs to be refrigerated.
P.S. flaxseed is also great on salads, in oatmeal, or in PB & J sandwiches!
2. Ashwagandha Powder
This is probably one of the lesser known superfoods on the list. Ashwagandha powder is popular in the holistic health field and was previously used as a medicinal herb. The most popular use is that it helps manage symptoms depression and anxiety symptoms, along with boost brain function, and lower blood sugar levels.
Ashwagandha helps manage symptoms of depression and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. If you are constantly stressed, add this to your smoothie to reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Ashwagandha may also help with fertility and reproductive organ health, like Maca, below!
You can check out ashwagandha powder, here.
I love ginger and probably eat an excessive amount of it. I put it into most dinners I make since I make stir-fry and curry a lot. Plus whenever I use my juicer, I always load it up with ginger (or just make straight ginger shots). Have you ever put it into a smoothie? Because your green smoothie is begging for it!
I feel like the best way to incorporate ginger into your smoothies is by using a grater, unless you have a super nice blender like a Vitamix. I don’t trust my blender to completely break up ginger and I don’t want there to be chunks of it in my smoothies, so I use a grater. For my smoothies, I use a Magic Bullet. I love how portable and easy to clean up it is. It works for me and has lasted me years *without* costing me upwards of $300.
Anyways, ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Plus, as most people know, ginger helps with stomach problems and nausea. It has a spicy flavor which to me is a great kick and adds more flavor to smoothies with more vegetables and less fruit in them. Fresh ginger is the best option and can be found at most groceries stores for super cheap!
4. Maca Powder
This is another one of the lesser known superfoods on this list. Maca powder is most commonly known for its ability to increase libido and fertility (after at least 6 weeks of supplementing), but it also helps with energy. One of the claims for this superfood is that maca helps with energy, athletic performance, strength and muscle gain so it’s in some protein powders, like my Cold Brew Vega Protein & Energy Powder (which by the way, tastes really good and also contains MCT oil). On the health front, it can help healthy weight gain and fat loss.
This superfood isn’t as well researched as some of the other superfood powders out there, but it is highly nutritious and contains high levels of the essential nutrients vitamin C, copper and iron. Maca has also been shown to enhance mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression (like ashwagandha).
I don’t use maca root as much as other superfoods at my current period in life, but I think it has some pretty amazing qualities for certain stages in life (like menopause or trying for a baby). You can check out maca powder here. Trader Joes also has maca, if you’re able to get in during the stay-home order (they’re only letting in 20 people by the TJ near me).
Most mornings I make the exact same smoothie and it contains blueberries because they are a great antioxidant, among other properties. I have a 10 lb bag of frozen blueberries on hand from Costco (which is a total steal for $10). In my opinion, blueberries are basically nature’s candy. They boost your heart health, brain function, reduce your risk of cancer, lower your cholesterol. They do it all. I will be posting my morning superfood blueberry smoothie soon, so subscribe below to be the first notified, or like/follow my Facebook page here because I always put my new blog posts on that page!
6. Cacao Powder
The last of my *favorite* superfoods is cacao powder, which you probably have in your pantry right now. Cacao powder is a polyphenol, which is an antioxidant like red wine and green tea. Processing and heating up cacao can make it lose it’s health properties, which is why it’s the perfect superfood to add to your smoothies. You don’t have to cook or process it when you’re adding it to your smoothies and it will still give your smoothie a chocolate-y flavor (yum!).
Polyphenols improve the blood flow to your brain and brain function, reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Cacao may also improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It’s easy to include in smoothies and because of all the amazing properties that this superfood has, it’s one of my favorites to add!
That’s it for my 6 favorite superfoods to add to smoothies.
What’s your favorite smoothie ingredients or favorite superfoods to add to smoothies? Let me know in the comments below!