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Drink to Your Health!
5 Fabulous Superfoods that are Perfect for Smoothies
You’ve heard the term thrown around by the likes of Dr. Oz, Oprah and health.com – but what are “superfoods” really, and what do they mean for our health?
While there is no universally accepted definition for superfoods – the term is generally used to characterize various foods with high nutrient or phytochemical content and low saturated fats or other negative properties. Superfoods were first referenced by Aaron Moss in the journal Nature Nutrition in August of 1998, where he stated, "Humans have many options when it comes to fueling their bodies, but the benefits of some options are so nutritious that they might be labeled as superfoods."
Today, we recognize a number of superfoods for their anti-aging, heart health and brain boosting benefits. These include nuts, berries, seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, whole grains and more. Many of these foods taste amazing all on their own (Wild Blueberries anyone?) but others, such as kale, might be a little bit more difficult to serve up to a picky eater, especially kids. That’s where superfood smoothies come into play. Check out the health benefits of these 5 popular superfoods, then toss them into a blender, mix up a fresh summer smoothie and enjoy a delicious drink to your health!
1. Wild Blueberries
With only 45 calories per 100 grams, frozen Wild Blueberries are packed with nutrients – and are naturally low in fat and easily accessible anytime of year., What makes these berries so special is that they are smaller, and have a higher skin to pulp ratio than the larger cultivated blueberries, giving them an added antioxidant boost. In fact, they have twice the antioxidant power compared to cultivated blueberries. High in fiber and manganese (important for bone development), Wild Blueberries also deliver anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect against diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. And since Wild Blueberries are typically found in the frozen section of the grocery store – they’re perfect for smoothies. Their rich color and sweet flavor also combines well with many other smoothie ingredients, even spinach or kale. Here's a great Wild Blueberry Smoothie recipe.
Loaded with vitamins A, K, D and E, spinach is also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants – both of which contribute to brain and heart health. The vitamins and minerals in spinach have been shown to aid in bone strengthening, as well as prevention of certain eye diseases including macular degeneration. And while it might not seem like the ideal smoothie ingredient, the relatively mild flavor of spinach actually makes it an easy vegetable to cover up. Just make sure you mix it with a sweet, dark colored fruit like frozen Wild Blueberries to mask the green color, making it more kid-friendly! Try this Blueberry Spinach Smoothie recipefrom the blog Alaska from Scratch.
|Photo Courtesy of Alaska from Scratch
Like many of the other superfoods listed here, honey is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Additionally, because it contains trace amounts of pollen, honey is also incredibly helpful in battling seasonal allergies. To get the most effective allergy protection, choose a locally made raw honey. Lastly, honey is a natural antibacterial – so it’s great for fighting various infections, including those that can cause gum disease. And because of its deliciously sweet flavor, honey makes for a fantastic smoothie ingredient. To get it to blend smoothly, try mixing it first with unsweetened yogurt. Here’s agreat smoothie recipe from Marie Claire that features honey as an ingredient.
Oatmeal is stacked with important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – which all work together to help lower cholesterol, aid in digestion and improve metabolism. Not to mention, it adds great texture and thickness to a smoothie - like this delicious Blueberry Cream Oatmeal Smoothie recipe from The Law Student’s Wife blog. Don’t forget to swap Wild Blueberries for the frozen ones called for in the recipe!
|Photo courtesy of The Law Student’s Wife
5. Dark Chocolate
Even though most of us don’t need a reason to chow down on some dark chocolate, there actually is some truth to the hype about it being a superfood. It’s packed with polyphenols, which have been shown to aid in heart health – specifically lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow. Careful though, chocolate is calorie dense, so a little bit goes a long way. To use dark chocolate in a smoothie, simply blend dark chocolate chips with other more liquid ingredients like milk, yogurt, or bananas. We found this delicious recipe Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie, on the blog Eat Good 4 Life.
|Photo Courtesy of Eat Good 4 Life
Looking for more information about the health benefits of superfoods such as wild blueberries? Wildblueberries.com/news is jam packed with research showing the many health benefits of these incredible little berries!
And if you want more delicious superfood recipes, Wildblueberries.com is full of tasty ideas for smoothies, snacks, salads, desserts and more!