There’s never a better time for a cold smoothie than summertime (preferably while you’re lying poolside). While you surely already load your smoothies with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, did you know about these five other superfoods you can add to boost the health benefits of your beverage?
Ground Flax Meal
Get your grind on with flax meal, which comes from grinding flax seeds, releasing their nutrients. The biggest benefit of flax meal is its high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are important for brain development, immune system function, and blood pressure regulation. Its other impressive list of nutrients includes magnesium, manganese, fiber, thiamin, and selenium. You can grind flaxseeds at home to make flax meal or you can find already ground flax meal in the cereal aisle of the grocery store.
Chia seeds have gained much popularity over the past couple of years, aside from those household plants you may be familiar with. Just one ounce of the tiny, virtually tasteless superfood offers 10 grams of fiber and five grams of protein, as well as 17 percent of your daily calorie intake, 12 percent of your iron, 23 percent of your magnesium, and a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially for those who don’t eat fish, as a one ounce serving contains five grams of them. The best part is that you can add them to your smoothie without even noticing them.
Everyone loves a good handful of sunflower seeds, so why not throw them in your smoothie? Sunflower seeds boast an enormous amount of nutrients, from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that may lower blood pressure, to vitamin E and phytochemicals that protect against heart disease and some cancers. Along with the amount of fiber, protein, folate, thiamin, niacin, and iron it offers, these seeds are just begging to aid in your healthy diet. You can find raw or salt-free sunflower seeds at the grocery store that will be the perfect addition to your summer smoothie.
Craving chocolate? Cacao, the plant used to make one of the world’s favorite sweets, is rich in flavanols and antioxidants. Flavanols can help lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, and boost brain health, while the antioxidants in cacao help keep bad cholesterol at bay. And everyone knows chocolate is good for your brain health. The best way to enjoy the chocolatey plant and all of its health benefits in your smoothies is to opt for a natural cocoa powder or unsweetened cacao nibs.
This one is for you vegans out there. Hemp powder is made from hemp seeds and is used as an alternative to protein and whey powder, which is known to contain dairy. The powder is rich in fiber and healthy fatty acids, such as the familiar omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is important to note that hemp protein is low in the essential amino acid lysine and is therefore not considered a complete protein. Nevertheless, it is still a nutritional addition to your smoothie!
These are just a few superfoods that can help you pack the most nutrients into your smoothies. While there’s no promise of gaining superpowers, be sure to try some of these out and see which ones work best for you as part of a healthy diet.