Healthy Smoothies vs. Bad Smoothies

Let’s face it; a lot of us have the wrong idea about what makes a “good smoothie.”  For example, if it comes with whipped cream, the odds are excellent that it is definitely not a healthy drink.  Odds are if your smoothie has ice cream in it, or blended pieces of cookies or chocolate bits, it’s not a healthy smoothie either.

The world today is full of fattening fast food masquerading as healthy food, and the smoothie is no different. Recent studies have surfaced that some smoothies commonly served in fast food restaurants literally have thousands of calories.  When you order a smoothie, you definitely might want to take a careful look at the ingredient list.

A healthy smoothie can take many different forms, and you should be careful what smoothie recipe you choose.  Smoothie recipes with yogurt are a good place to start, as you have all the helpful stomach bacteria of yogurt, as well as high levels of calcium.  Most healthy smoothies are going to be loaded down with fruits, so look for some variety in the types of fruits in the smoothie as well.

Different combinations of fruits can yield far different nutrient profiles.  You don’t want a smoothie, for example, that is getting most of its nutrition from ripe banana calories.  Sure, bananas a great for you, but you want some nutritional variety in your smoothies too!  Look for smoothies that have at least three ingredients, like strawberry-peach-banana.  And don’t be afraid to mix colors and have a big slice of the rainbow present in your smoothie. This method is an easy way to make sure that you are getting a lot of variety in the antioxidants you are consuming.

If you really want to make your smoothie a healthy smoothie, try adding some unconventional items to it that you may have not previously considered.  Did you know that avocados can be added to a lot of smoothies and they work great?  It’s totally true.  Avocados are loaded down in very healthy fats and are one of the very best foods that you can eat in moderation, of course.  Since avocados are so high in fat, they can really make a smoothie seem all the more of a treat.  Try different combinations as well.

Almonds are another food that are really good for you, but many people just would never think of adding them to a smoothie.  Almonds, as it turns out, are very high in protein and have chemicals that are excellent for overall brain health.  Many scientists and neuroscientists consider almonds to be something of an unsung brain food.  They even have test with mice to prove it!  Apparently almonds can help mice perform various tasks quicker.  Other indications are that almonds may be effective at delaying Alzheimer’s. Studies indicate that almonds may help the brain in a variety of other ways as well, such as improving memory.  Perhaps best of all, almond butter can really add a rich buttery flavor to many smoothies.

If you like your smoothies a little lighter, consider adding carrots to the mix.  It is hard to beat the carrot for its nutritional punch.  The simple carrot is loaded in vitamin A and vitamin C, and its sweet taste will go well with most fruits.  If you are really adventuresome, try incorporating a veggie or two into your smoothie.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.

Another good way to add health benefits and nutrition to your smoothie is to toss a little fresh ginger into a grinder, then toss it into your smoothie. Ginger has a lot of great health benefits, such as powerful anti-inflammatory effects.  Why ginger has even been found to boost immunity and fight off cancer.  Not bad results for just adding a little ginger, don’t you think?

Keep an eye out for those bad smoothies and don’t be afraid to experiment with healthy ingredients.   A healthy smoothie can help you with weight loss, boost your immune system and even make you smarter!

More health tips at Healthy New Age alternative healing website.

Originally published in 2010

photo by: khawkins04