[Healthy Smoothies] The DNA of Healthy Smoothies + 5 Iconic Healthy Smoothie Recipes
We have analyzed, deconstructed and broken down for you step-by-step what the 5 building blocks of a truly healthy smoothie are. Explore our epic tips (plus state-of-the-art healthy smoothie recipes) and learn how you can make incredibly healthy smoothies in your own kitchen, fast.
When you are slammed at work, juggling your household and managing the kids, it is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of eating out, ordering in or grabbing whatever fast food is within reach.
If you are anything like us, you probably wish you had an extra 4 or 5 hours a day, so you could devote the extra time to working out, cooking more and eating better.
But, what you may not know is this: there is a way to get the nutrients you need AND feel great about what you consume, even when you only have little time.
You can pack the goodness of acai, hemp, berries and kale into one efficient and nutrient-dense drink filled with all the vitamins and minerals your body craves.
And guess what? It only takes a few minutes to make. This magic drink can be your one-stop shop for:
cleansing your system from toxins
speeding up your metabolism
aiding your digestion
boosting your immunity
But, it’s not really magic. It’s simply a super healthy smoothie. A superfood-based, super healthy, super smoothie, to be exact.
If you are obsessed with healthy foods and healthy drinks, but don’t have the time to actually commit to a regimen consistently, we’ve made it easy for you.
We’ve analyzed, distilled and extracted the DNA of some of the healthiest smoothie recipes, so you can whip up 100% goodness for you and your family in no time.
The approach is simple: you only need a decent blender and less than 5 basic ingredients to create a healthy smoothie that can supplement or even replace a meal in less than 5 minutes.
There are a myriad of ways you can combine these ingredients to come up with healthy concoctions that are optimized to improve your health.
But, before we get into the recipes, let’s quickly go over the five core building blocks of some of the healthiest smoothies on earth.
1. Your foundation is fresh, organic greens
The secret to any healthy smoothie is to determine the right ratio between veggies and fruit. If you are new to smoothies start with a 50/50 ratio and then increase to 70 veggie/30 fruit ratio over the next 5-10 days as you familiarize your palate.
In the beginnings, you will find it easier to prioritize mild-tasting greens such as spinach, arugula, romaine and lettuce before then moving into dark, leafy greens with more noticeable flavor such as kale or chard.
But, what are some of the most nutrient-dense greens to include?
Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable, known for its antioxidant properties and the ability to help prevent cancer and reduce blood pressure levels. It is extremely nutrient-rich and contains high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium.
Kale is a trendy member of the greens family and the epitome of a superfood. It is one of the healthiest, nutrient-rich foods you can consume as it is low in fat and calories, but loaded with vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin A. Additionally, it is very high in antioxidants which help fight aging as well as prevent a host of diseases, including cancer.
Cucumbers are 0% fat, low-in calories and rich in water (95% of it to be exact). They also blend well into smoothies with their nutrient-rich flesh also feature antioxidants, Vitamin K and, did we mention, lots of hydrating water.
Wheatgrass is at the top of any health buff's grocery list, and for good reason. Available as a juice, powder or supplement, it contains eight essential amino acids as well as chlorophyll, a green plant element associated with a host of health benefits. It contains several important antioxidants such as vitamins C and E which help prevent cancer, reduce cholesterol and alleviate inflammation.
To get your foundation right, where possible, always opt for fresh and organic (pesticide-free) veggies from your local farmer's market or organic grocery store.
2. Pick a superfood super fruit
Fruit is the most fun element of any healthy smoothie, we find! This is what makes them so incredibly colorful. Below is a selection of powerhouse produce to prioritize (tongue-twister alert):
Apples are high in acetic acid and have been shown to lower blood sugar, fighting diabetes, reduce belly fat, aiding in weight loss, cut down your cholesterol, preventing heart disease.
Avocado, though often mistaken for a veggie, is an incredibly nutritious and delicious fruit that contains 20 different essential vitamins, notably Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Potassium. It is also low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol or sodium. This heart-healthy power food also helps prevent cancer, relieves arthritis and supports weight loss. Added to your super healthy smoothie, it will give your drink a yummy silk and cream-like texture.
Blueberries are tasty little treats that pack a lot of punch. They are loaded with Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and other essential nutrients. Most importantly, they are one of the best sources of antioxidants, which keep you youthful, protect from cancer, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease, to only name a few of its benefits.
More than that, blueberries add a wonderful tart-sweetness and their color gives your smoothie a very cool blue note.
Goji berries are one of the healthiest berries you can consume as they are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, iron and antioxidants. Most notably, they boost your immune system, aid in weight loss, and keep your skin and eyes clear and healthy.
Lemons are the refreshing citrus fruit you may want to add to your super healthy smoothie as they are loaded with potent vitamin C that supports heart health, weight control, digestive health and prevent cancer.
The list of superfood fruits could be extended to include bananas (rich in fiber, antioxidants and minerals including potassium), raspberries (one of the most powerful antioxidants of all fruits, they also feature Vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B, folic acid, copper and iron) and oranges (as a source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and magnesium), to name only a few.
For an entire list of ingredients to add to your healthy smoothies, check out our superfood directory.
Whatever fruit you include, remember the 70/30 ratio, so you don’t turn your healthy smoothie into a fruit sugar bomb.
Another trick to prevent the crash and burn sensation that may come with too much sugar absorbed too fast, is to add rolled oats to your smoothie. Slow digesting and rich in fiber, rolled oats help your system absorb the sugar in a slow, more steady way. Plus, rolled oats are a great way to keep you full. In short, oats are also a perfect weight loss food.
Additionally, skip fruit juices and concentrates altogether (they usually are loaded with sugar) and either add fresh fruit directly or frozen fruit to your smoothie as this makes for your smoothie's yummy thick texture.
3. Boost your hydration with a healthy liquid base
Believe it or not, not all smoothies are created equal! Many store-bought smoothies add sugary fruit juices to their base, which is about as counterproductive as it can get.
One of the core ways smoothies help you cleanse your system and flush out toxins that accumulate in your cells is via their hydrating effect. So, a healthy liquid base is imperative.
Filtered water, coconut water as well as plant-based or unsweetened nut milks, such as almond or cashew milk, are amongst the best liquid bases you can add.
4. Add powerful superfood nuts and seeds for healthy fats
Not all fats are evil, ok? In fact, some are actually crucial for a healthy, well-balanced diet as they help your body retain the precious fat-soluble nutrients contained in a host of vegetables and fruits that without these healthy fats you would straight miss out on.
For instance, did you know that vitamins A, D, E and K as well as beta-carotene and lycopene all require a healthy fat in order to be fully absorbed by your system?
So, in addition to avocado, mentioned above, you may also want to grind some of these powerful superfood seeds into your healthy smoothie.
Flaxseed is actually an ancient crop known for a range of health benefits since documented history. Just a small serving acts as an incredible source of most of the nutrients you need. They are especially rich in Omega-3 an essential fat proven to reduce inflammation, lower risk of heart disease, and reduce risk of stroke.
Chia seeds feature minimal calories and maximum nutrients like fiber, protein and calcium and are simply one of the healthiest foods in the world. They are also rich in antioxidants, known for lowering inflammation and good for losing weight.
Hemp seeds are actually the same species as cannabis, but don't worry, they are a safe and incredibly nutritious variety. Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats such as Omega-3, protein and various minerals. They promote a healthy heart, beautiful skin and good digestion.
Coconut, which is available in many different forms including oil, water and milk, has a high concentration of healthy saturated fat known to burn bad fat, boost energy, reduce risk of heart disease and promote brain health.
Almonds are super rich in healthy fats, fiber, protein and several nutrients especially Vitamin E, Magnesium and more. In fact, they are one of the best sources of Vitamin E which is in the antioxidant family and provides substantial health benefits such as lower rates of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. They also reduce hunger, making them effective for weight loss.
5. For a finishing touch, spice it up
At this point, your smoothie is nearly perfect. But, depending on your taste, you may want to add some refined aromatic notes that do not come without their own specific health benefits.
Ginger root is both an herb and a spice and has a laundry list of medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is relied on for a range of benefits from improving digestion and brain function to lowering cholesterol and reducing cancer risk.
Its powerful spicy flavor will not let you down when it comes to adding aromatic intensity to your smoothie, especially when preparing more seasonal fall and winter smoothies.
Turmeric is an ancient Indian spice with powerful medicinal and health properties that support the brain and body in many ways. Curcumin, the primary active ingredient in turmeric, is a strong antioxidant and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Nutmeg is known to offer rare health benefits, including the ability to relieve pain, improve digestive issues, strengthen brain function, detoxify, provide for clear skin, increase immune system function, and prevent cancer.
Nutmeg is also a great source of a host of minerals, including potassium, iron, manganese, thiamine, folate, magnesium, copper as well as vitamins, including B1 and B6. Ask any friends from the isle of spice (Caribbean Grenada), they even have such amazing things as nutmeg chocolate, that’s how convinced they are of nutmeg’s taste and health benefits.
Dark chocolate is a dream for any super healthy and detox smoothie. It has way more antioxidants than even blueberries, is the best source of iron and has high amounts of calcium, copper, manganese and magnesium. This heart-healthy, brain-improving ingredient also improves mood, helps prevent cancer and protects against a host of other health issues. And above all, it is tasty.
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and known for lowering blood sugar, unfolding significant anti-diabetic effects. It lowers some of the core risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
And of course, a few sprinkles of cinnamon on top of your smoothie, not only makes it right out instagrammable, but also super rich in spicy Christmas flavor.
With these five building blocks to any super healthy smoothie, you can't really go wrong. Now, if you are ready to start blending, here are a selection of our most favorite super healthy smoothie recipes.
5 Iconic Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Iconic Healthy Smoothie Recipe #1: Super Green Superhero (1-2 servings)
1 cup spinach
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
½-inch chunk fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon bee pollen (or raw honey)
Iconic Healthy Smoothie Recipe #2: Very Berry Indeed (1-2 servings)
1 cup kale
2 tablespoons rolled oats
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raspberries
2 tablespoons greek yogurt
1 cup almond milk
Iconic Healthy Smoothie Recipe #3: Season's Greetings Immunity Boost (1-2 servings)
1 cup kale/arugula blend
1 cup coconut water
1/2 tablespoon ground chia seeds
½-inch chunk of fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Iconic Healthy Smoothie Recipe #4: Oriental Delights (1-2 servings)
1 cup kale
1 cup cashew milk
1 tablespoon goji berries
2 tablespoons rolled oats
1/4 cup ground almonds
2 pitted dates
Iconic Healthy Smoothie Recipe #5: Dark Chocolate Dreams (1-2 servings)
1 cup of arugula
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon greek yoghurt
½-inch chunk of fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pieces of dark chocolate
Bonus: Superflush Detox Drink (2 servings, drink hot)
2 cups filtered water
1 squeezed lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon raw honey or bee pollen