Smoothies are the most effective and by far easiest way to get a load of nutrients into your body. Smoothies retain the fibre content of the fruits and vegetables present in them, which makes it more effective than juicing. They also contain ingredients which supply a variety of nutrients that are necessary for vital body functions. In effect smoothies make a wholesome meal, which is not only nutrient dense but also extremely filling, thereby keep hunger pangs and cravings at bay.
The best thing about smoothies is that they can be customized according to your needs and personal taste.
Smoothies can be beneficial for:
- Fat Loss: Spices like Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, blueberries etc.
- Immunity Boosting: Ingredients like Amla Juice, orange Juice etc.
- Detoxification: Ingredients like garlic, beets, papaya etc help with detoxification of the liver and purify the blood.
- Improved brain health.
- Better skin and hair.
- General health.
- Better absorption of nutrients.
- Improves brain health.
- Fights free radicals in the body.
Ingredients Used in Smoothies.
The following are the basic ingredients required for a smoothie:
- Liquid medium: This is essential for blending of the other solid ingredients. The amount of liquid necessary can be anywhere from half cup to 2 cups. This medium can be milk, almond milk, coconut water, soy milk, freshly squeezed fruit juices, herbal teas or plain water.
- Base: This ingredient gives the smoothie a creamy texture. Most recipes use bananas as a base. You can also use fruits like mangoes, peaches, apples, pears, nut butters(almond/peanut), avocado, coconut meat, yogurt, Chia seed gel etc. Use according to the consistency required. Make sure to keep an eye on the calorie count as well.
- Fresh Fruits or vegetables: This part of the smoothie is what adds the necessary fibre and nutrients and here is where you can experiment with a variety of fruits and veggies according to your taste. Use seasonal fruits and vegetables that are fresh and preferably organic to get the best nutritious value. Frozen fruits are a good way to chill the smoothie without adding ice.
A variety of ingredients like Spinach, lettuce, kale, parsley etc can be added to make a green smoothie, which is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. When adding greens make sure they are added last to the blender.
- Other Ingredients: There are a variety of ingredients that can be used as add-ons depending on the kind of smoothie.
- Spices: A host of spices like ginger(improves digestion), cinnamon(lowers blood glucose levels), nutmeg, cayenne pepper(fat burning) etc add a special zing and flavour to your smoothies while also serving a purpose.
- Salt: Pink Himalayan salt or sea salt provide vital minerals to the body.
- Protein Powders: Protein powders can be added in smoothies to provide protein to the body. These can be added especially to smoothies which are used as post-workout snacks to help restore and build muscle.
- Superfoods: There are ingredients which are added as supplements to boost the nutritive value of a smoothie. These include seeds like Chia, flax seeds, spirulina powder, wheatgrass powder, moringa powder coconut oil or flakes etc.
- Sweetners: This can be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Instead of using sugar or artificial sweetners, honey, dates or maple syrup can be used.
Once you have picked out the ingredients it’s time to blend. Try out different ingredients and adjust the quantities according to taste and preferred consistency.
Tips on Blending:
- Add half of the liquid medium and add the ingredients with the greens on top.
- Blend at low speed to start with and increase the speed. Blending time for most smoothies is usually 30-60 seconds.
- Keep adding the liquid medium as and when required.
- The smoothie must never be strained or filtered in anyway.
- Adding too many greens can make the smoothie bitter. Start off with half a cup and add a maximum of 1 cup.
- An ideal smoothie is creamy in consistency and not frothy. Frothy smoothies happen when the amount of liquid is more.
How to Drink a Smoothie:
Make sure to sip the smoothie slowly instead of gulping it all down in one go. Sipping slowly helps release the digestive enzymes in the mouth and aid better digestion. A smoothie can be had a meal substituent for an entire day occasionally when used for detoxification of the body or as a substitute for one meal a day, preferably breakfast, if consumed daily.
Go ahead and have fun creating your own special smoothies. Happy blending.