Whether fresh or frozen, blueberries are a great addition to your afternoon smoothie. Not only are they low in calories, but they are also high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants, which are essential to neutralizing the free radicals that have been linked to the development of cancer. Blueberries have also been shown to improve memory and slow down visual loss, so treat your body and toss a handful into your smoothie.
Although peanut butter has gained a bad reputation over the years due to its high amount of calories and fat content, this spread shouldn’t be just an occasional indulgence, but rather a staple in your diet. Eating peanut butter has been proven to lower cholesterol as well as your risk for cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. As a protein-rich food, peanut butter also aids the body in building and repairing muscle tissue and keeps you feeling fuller longer. But these health benefits don’t mean you can go overboard and have spoonfuls a day. Just add one or two tablespoons to your smoothie and reap the benefits.
At only 90 calories a cup, fat-free milk is an easy way to get 50 percent of your suggested daily value of calcium, an essential mineral to maintaining bone health and strengthening teeth. The drink’s vitamin D can reduce the risk of high pressure and hypertension and its 8 grams of protein per 8 oz. glass can help refuel muscles after a workout. No wonder milk is considered “nature’s wellness drink”.
A staple fruit in the summer, watermelon is not only a refreshing snack when you’re lying on the beach, but it also offers some significant health benefits. Containing high concentrations of lycopene, watermelon has been shown to not only protect your skin against sun damage, but it has also been proven to prevent the development of certain cancers. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health, and vitamin C, which strengthens immunity.
For decades, bananas have been known to be one of the best sources of potassium, which is an essential mineral required for maintaining heart function and normal blood pressure. This yellow fruit is also rich in fiber which regulates digestion, and its high levels of vitamin B6 act as anti-inflammatory agents that help ward off cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and obesity.
Rich in the catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), green tea can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, effectively lower cholesterol, contribute to weight loss and minimize your risk of having a stroke. To reap the benefits, either add powdered green tea to the blender or brew it fresh with tea bags.
Studies have shown that the omega-3 fats and high concentrations of fiber found in flaxseed may reduce inflammation in the joints and help fight against diabetes and heart disease. Flaxseeds also contain natural, cancer-protective compounds known as liganans, which can prevent the development of colon and breast cancer and strengthen the body’s ability to defend itself against bacteria and viruses. Add ground flaxseeds to your smoothie rather than whole ones to ensure successful absorption.
Although extremely refreshing, strawberries are also a nutritional powerhouse, containing over 13 percent of your recommended amount of dietary fiber in just one cup. While the fruit’s high levels of vitamin C can ensure a healthy immune system, strawberries’ high concentration of the chemical compound, phenol, can help fight against inflammatory disorders, like asthma and osteoarthritis.
As a pure, natural and high quality protein from cow’s milk, whey protein is a rich source of essential amino acids, the building blocks for healthy muscles, skin and other body tissue. Its high levels of leucine preserve lean muscle tissue and promote fat loss, making this powdery substance a perfect addition to a smoothie.
As temperatures continue to rise this summer, there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold smoothie made straight from your kitchen. But smoothies can do more than just please your taste buds; they can also rejuvenate your body and provide essential vitamins and minerals. So throw a few of these ingredients in your blender and we promise your body will thank you.