BY DR LYDIA THURTON
I love crazy smoothie concoctions. The more nutrients, the better. Smoothies, the breakfast of busy people everywhere. Old faithfuls like strawberry banana and blue berry mango are great, but with a few easy additions you can take your smoothie from just tasty to power packed and nutrient dense. Here are my top five favourite smoothie additions.
Ginger! This antioxidant rich root is in the same family as turmeric. Which means its loaded with antioxidants and anti inflammatory chemicals. Research on ginger has shown beneficial effects for osteoarthritis, colon cancer risks and overall digestive health. Use at least a ¼ inch slice per smoothie.
Coconut water! The water contained in a young coconut is a mineral jackpot. Not to be confused with coconut milk (also healthy), the water contains few calories. 10% of your daily calcium and magnesium and potassium can be found in a single cup coconut water. I encourage people to look for sources of calcium that do not come from dairy products. This is an easy addition.
Avocado! Bananas are out, avocados are in. To get that rich, creamy smoothie consistency avocados offer much less sugar and more healthy fats than bananas. Healthy fats are necessary for proper brain function and preventing inflammation. The correct way to peel an avocado is to “nick and peel” remove just the thin layer of skin, the dark green area found right below the skin should be kept because many of the nutrients are stored there.
Greens! Just because your smoothie looks like swamp water, it doesn’t mean it has to taste like it. Adding a little bit kale, swiss chard, collard greens or spinach with sweeter fruits will still give you a great flavour profile. Also great sources of potassium, magnesium and calcium. Greens contain a lesser known chemical, betaine. Betaine protects our cells from damage and helps our livers with a process necessary for ridding the body of waste. Too little betaine and your body is susceptible to environmental stressors.
Kefir! If lactose or dairy intolerance isn’t a problem for you, kefir is a wonderful way to get probiotics. The consistency of a yogurt drink, it makes smoothies creamy and cool. Found in the yogurt section of your grocery store kefir has even more healthy bacteria than probiotic yogurts. Kids love the taste because you can buy it in flavours like strawberry and vanilla. The more we learn about healthy bacteria the more I am impressed with how vital these little bugs are to our overall well being.
Smoothies are a great addition to busy lifestyles, especially when breakfast is a slice of toast eaten on the run. Great for the whole family, try some of these additions and see what makes your body feel amazing. Cheers!