Stuck in a smoothie-making rut? Take your usual protein shake to the next level by adding nutrient-dense superstars like chia seeds, flaxseed or coconut oil. To up the nutrition level while keeping the smooth in your smoothie, be sure to follow the blending tips below.
With their mild, nutty flavor chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and just 2 tablespoons can provide 10 grams of fiber. Chia seeds also contain protein and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Tip: To improve digestibility, soak the chia seeds in water for 10 to 15 minutes—save time by storing ready-to blend chia seed gel (one part chia seed to one part water) in the fridge for a few weeks.
The naturally found medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil are metabolized by the liver, making them a favorite of athletes or anyone looking for a quick energy boost. Research has shown that MCTs may also suppress appetite and slow down accumulation of fat in the body over time.
Tip: To prevent coconut oil from clumping in your smoothies, always add it before you add any cold ingredients. Start with the coconut oil, next add protein or vitamin powders and finish with any ice or frozen fruit.
An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed is also the number one whole-food source of lignans, a phytonutrient associated with prolonged survival in cancer patients. Unlike flaxseed oil, ground flaxseed offers some additional protein and soluble fiber.
Tip: To unlock all of flaxseed’s nutritional benefits, be sure to use ground flaxseed. Purchase it pre-ground or grind it yourself at home.