When we think of smoothies, we often picture fruit juices and weight loss blends. But are smoothies really good for your health?
Yes and No
Of course, like anything, it depends on what ingredients you’re using. Shop-bought smoothies are often loaded with sugars, unhealthy protein powders, additives and unnatural sweeteners to either boost flavour or suggest a ‘healthy’ alternative. The best thing you can do to ensure your smoothies are healthful is to make them yourself at home.
While some may argue that heavily loaded fruit smoothies can be potentially bad for your health because they’re loaded with sugar, natural sugars found in fruit are completely fine and the health benefits of the fruit itself vastly outweigh any potential pitfalls from having a lot of natural sugar. Blending up fruit is also far healthier than juicing the fruit as you’ll also be getting all of the fruits fibre, unlike removing the fibre with a juicer. If you don’t like your fruit drinks to be pulpy then a high powered blender can drastically cut this down compared to a lower speed blender with duller blades.
Green smoothies are extremely beneficial health wise. While eating raw may be slightly better, there’s not a lot of difference. Let’s be honest, making a vegetable smoothie that you can down in a few gulps is far easier than eating raw kale and spinach all day to make up the same amount you’d be getting from the one drink. By drinking smoothies we get in far more nutrients than we otherwise would. If you’re able to eat the same amount of fruit and vegetables in a day without having them in smoothie form, then more power to you but for most of us, making up a green smoothie in the morning is likely the only way we’re getting our greens for breakfast.
If you need some extra protein in your smoothies because you’re highly active in the day (most people do not require extra protein) rethink adding in that whey or pea protein powder. Most protein powders are highly processed and while they do indeed boost your protein levels, they can be quite unhealthy in other ways. Instead, consider adding in a handful of nuts, such as cashews to boost your smoothie’s protein and iron levels, or use an organic or homemade nutmilk as the base of your smoothie rather than water or milk.
If you’re not a big fan of the basic fruit or vegetable smoothie and you need some chocolate in your life, use a healthy nutmilk, a banana and raw cacao powder for a huge boost of antioxidants rather than using common cocoa powder, which is heavily processed and stripped of most nutrients or a sugar-laced chocolate drinking powder. If you also require some extra sweetness, then opt away from white sugar and fake sweeteners and instead try using maple syrup in a chocolate banana smoothie or raw coconut sugar.