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A good smoothie is something to be enjoyed as a quick and nutritious meal (often breakfast) all year round.
But summer is a particularly good time for these cool, smooth, filling treats — what with all the fresh fruit and produce available.
The important thing is to throw only nutritious (and preferably organic) ingredients into that blender. Fortunately, the combinations are almost endless.
Here’s a list of ten of your best choices for the perfect summer smoothie, complete with information on the nutrition and benefits they’re known for…
Ten super ingredients for a nutritious and delicious smoothie
Blueberries. By now you surely know that blueberries are one of the premiere superfoods.
Research shows that the anthocyanins found in blueberries can help ward off heart disease, diabetes and obesity. In fact, blueberries are one of six berries that anyone with blood sugar problems should be eating regularly.
These same anthocyanins can protect your cognitive health as you age, and slash your risk of dementia.
Pomegranate. Pomegranates are readily available this time of year, but you can always purchase pure, organic pomegranate juice year-round. Look for ones without added sugars, preferably. Choose this juice to add a little liquid to your smoothie and watch your cholesterol numbers drop! Plus, they offer special benefits for male sexual health.
Avocados. Avocados are full of “good” fat, the kind that’s linked to a healthy heart and good cholesterol levels. They’ll also give your smoothie some needed weight, thickness and silkiness.
Flaxseed. Full of omega-3 fatty acids and high in fiber, flaxseed can help keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range. Milled flaxseed is better absorbed — the seeds can pass right through without being digested. A plus for the guys: Study after study shows flaxseeds are effective in alleviating an enlarged prostate.
Bananas. They’re loaded with potassium, which helps prevent stroke and improve cardiovascular health. Potassium is also good for preventing muscle cramps and regulating hormones to help control anxiety. They’ll also add some bulk to your smoothie.
Pineapple. This sweet fruit is low in calories (avoid it canned in heavy syrup!) and loaded with fiber and vitamin C. Pineapples contain nutrients that support vision, bone and digestive health and fight inflammation. It’s also the star ingredient in my favorite pain-relieving cocktail.
Yogurt. It’s the perfect base for putting the “smooth” in smoothie. Loaded with calcium, protein and probiotics, yogurt helps keep a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. Look for a brand with few ingredients and little added sugar. Avoid the non-fat options that include artificial sweeteners.
Mangos. Like squash, pumpkin and carrots, mangos are high in carotenoids, the pigment that protects both your eyesight and your bones.
Greens. Some of the most nutrient-dense leafy greens are kale, watercress, spinach, collard greens, chard, leaf lettuce, and arugula. Some folks opt for a greens powder. While they’re no substitute for eating a well-balanced diet, they tend to offer important minerals like calcium and potassium, as well as more hard-to-get minerals like selenium, chromium and iodine.
Honey. Some people need a little extra sweetness in their smoothies. The best choice for that is manuka honey, a prebiotic honey that feeds your healthy gut bacteria. Studies show that it’s effective against the dangerous gut bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which can cause ulcers.
A few recipes to get you started
Making a good smoothie may seem simple. But here are some tips that will guarantee you’ll love the result.
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