There are a million and one ways that you can boost a smoothie, with the idea that, by adding in extra vitamins, minerals, protein and antioxidants, you can increase the nutritional benefits. It depends on your particular goals and state of health as to which you would get the most from. Here are a selection that are predicted to be popular in 2016.
Apple cider vinegar
It may sound a little bizarre but apple cider vinegar can have a place in smoothies as long as not too much is used. It’s quite rich in acetic acid, which has some beneficial links to metabolism and weight management. Apple cider vinegar is also a good digestive aid as it helps to lower the pH of your digestive system, allowing all the enzymes to work more efficiently.
Aloe Vera gel
Aloe Vera has been used for cooling skin but is also very good at soothing the digestive tract, with it having antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
One of the big health food trends from 2015, chia seeds are rich in Omega 3 and fibre, and are a great source of protein for vegetarians or vegans.
Available in powdered or nib form, raw cacao is high in flavanol antioxidants. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that cacao supports the immune system due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a good source of magnesium – otherwise known as “nature’s tranquiliser” because of its effects on stress levels and hormonal balance – and iron, which has beneficial links to energy and the immune system.
Vegan and lactose free, pea protein comes from – you guessed it – peas. It’s a bit more scientific than a bag of blended peas though, with it in fact the protein element found in peas, which has been isolated, concentrated and packaged in powdered form. High in lysine – an amino acid that is very good for the immune system – pea protein is also quite beneficial for muscle recovery, so is good for antioxidants post-exercise and helps reduce post-workout inflammation.
Although this does sound quite vague, most health shops sell a green powder that, when added to your smoothie, will help to boost it without affecting the taste. Look for a product that contains a mix of wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina and green algaes. These are all a good source of Omega 3 and antioxidants.
Maca is a Peruvian relative of the radish family. Known for its mood boosting, stress busting properties, it is also very good for stamina and has some evidence in reducing headaches. Maca goes quite well with coconut and almond flavours, so use it in a nutty, rather than green, smoothie.
Known historically as “Gold of the Incas”, lecuma is very good for eye health as it is high in beta-carotene. It is also rich in iron and fibre, and has a low glycaemic load. Lecuma is quite sweet and creamy in flavour – tasting similar to caramel – and goes quite well with almond butter and cacao.
An African fruit that is high in Vitamin C, baobab has a lot of benefits linked to collagen production and skin health. It’s really good after exercise and also if you’re going through stressful periods, with Vitamin C helping to reduce an overactive stress hormone.
This is essentially green tea powder, and will give you the antioxidant benefits of green tea in a more concentrated form than if you made a smoothie with green tea as the liquid.
Bladderwrack (or any other seaweed)
Bladderwrack is going to be the one of the big superfoods of 2016, with it containing high levels of Vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iodine. Use with caution though. Seaweed or seaweed powders are quite salty (because of where they come from) and can also become quite overpowering. But if you do something like one of the caramel-type flavours, using a little bit of seaweed powder can make it a taste like salted caramel.