Barbara Depta - June 21 2021

How To Supercharge Your Smoothie

Any smoothie can become a recipe for success or disaster. In this article, we will give you the best and the worst smoothie ingredients so you can gratify your taste buds while supporting your health. In addition, we want to help you supercharge your smoothie at home and when going out so you can create a recipe for success no matter where you are.

You can hardly go to a smoothie shop these days without being enticed with the latest and greatest smoothie addition. Yet, not all of them are good and healthy for you. This is why we want to share with you easy steps on how to use powerful plants to supercharge your smoothie and still keep it tasty. 

What Makes A Smoothie Healthy?

#1 Superfoods

There are many ways to use powerful ingredients and still gain creamy, velvet-smooth consistency.

How may you ask?

Add liquid first. Then start your blender at a lower speed, get all superfoods moving down towards the blade, and increase the speed. Next, for a creamier consistency, use frozen berries which contain pectin, a type of fiber that has a gelling effect. If your smoothie is too thick, add more water or put a few ice cubes. If your smoothie is too thin, use ½ avocado, and if it's too sweet, squeeze fresh lemon or even a pinch of Himalayan salt to balance the flavor.

We consider smoothies a convenient vehicle for the healthiest foods on Earth. And for people who hate red and green leafy veggies, it is an easy way to sneak a few handfuls of chard, arugula, beets, or spinach and still make it taste delicious. Also, making the right berry choices can result in the most effective and yummy combinations to fight inflammation. See our lists below for what superfoods go in a healthy smoothie.

#2 Macros: he Right Blend of Clean Carbs, Fats, & Proteins

Protein is the number one supplement people add to their smoothies (see below for why that's not always a great idea). A quality protein helps you gain muscle mass, increases tendon strength (not whey protein), makes you feel full for longer, and provides the base materials to make hormones, enzymes, DNA, and your physical tissues. Make sure the protein you add is 3rd party certified for quality and does not contain banned substances. Otherwise, you're playing Russian roulette with your health.Healthy fats are a great addition to most smoothies not only to help keep the smooth consistency, but they fill you up and provide essential nutrients your body uses to keep your brain, skin, and your heart healthy.

Avocados with their monounsaturated fats, flaxseed oil with anti-inflammatory lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and coconut cream with its plant-based medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are some of the most common fat additions in a smoothie. As long as these stay at a moderate amount, they are each healthy but cut these (and any) extra calories out if you're gaining weight unintentionally.

Even though many people make a smoothie as a 'healthy way to get their sweet fix, it's the least sweet fruit that I reach for in the most nutritious smoothie.

See our list below for some of the most powerful fruits to be added to yours!

#3 Probiotics & Prebiotics & Fiber

Smoothies made with unsweetened and unflavored yogurt can enrich your gut microbiome, which directly leads to better gut health. The obvious side effects of better gut health include better bowel movements, less gas and bloating, better nutrient absorption, and anti-inflammatory benefits that only good bacteria can provide.

Those are just the direct reasons to be eating yogurt or other probiotics, though. The gut and brain have a highway of hormones and signals that coordinate each other's functions, so if you've got brain fog or mental health problems, your stomach is one of the best places to start. A happy gut can boost a lagging immune system, it can help you lose weight more effectively, it can improve the health of your heart and your circulation, and it may even play a role in reducing the pain from arthritis!

If you want more variety, I ranked the worst and best probiotics so you can spice up your smoothie here: Best Probiotic Drinks For A Healthy Gut.

Synergy of Ingredients

Some bioactive foods are almost entirely inactive without other ingredients. Take turmeric, for example. Clinical studies show that your body is so good at getting rid of it that almost no turmeric makes it to the tissues that need it. But, if you add an emulsifier (like lecithin), a fat (MCTs in coconut oil are particularly good), a pinch of black pepper (for its piperine), and some ginger, your absorption will go up more than 1000 percent. Talk about efficiency!

Other examples include fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, which are better absorbed alongside a source of fat and with other food.

Collagen protein — which has enormous potential for fixing joint pain and connective tissue issues — might work best when combined with vasodilators that open up blood vessels. Blood starts to flow to those tissues that normally only passively absorb nutrients, which could lead to massive improvements in protein distribution. The synergy of heart-healthy ingredients can be a game-changer for your musculoskeletal health as well. This protein source is great for post-workout recovery or your pre-activity remedy: plant-based nitrates in green and red leafy veggies increase the blood flow-enhancing hormone nitric oxide; mango improves microcirculation in your tiny blood vessels, and turmeric, ginger, cacao, and polyphenols can each enhance the way you make nitric oxide itself. Take just one of these, and you might not get a noticeable benefit, take all these together, and you will be truly unstoppable!

#1: Sugar!

Let's be clear here. There's a difference between a nutrient-packed smoothie and a cookie and ice-cream smoothie with enough sugar to put you in a post-slurpee slumber. It is possible, however, to make a healthy, yummy smoothie without the unnecessary sugar. Just check out my guide below. If your regular smoothie is a decadent dessert packed with sugar, here are some ways to lower the sugar content:Add ½ or one fruit instead of fruit juice or syrup. Ultimately, you want to lower the total amount of sugar you eat, including fructose sugar from fruit. But, adding fruit — with its healthy antioxidants and fiber — instead of plain sugar can be an excellent first step on your journey to better health. Add stevia or monk fruit if you need to have some sweetness without the calories. Remember, these ingredients are great for helping you calibrate your sweet tooth back down to a healthy level, so use them as you transition to eating less sweet things in general.

Add other flavors. Vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, and cocoa nibs are all great options to improve the taste of a smoothie without adding unnecessary sugar.

Last tip: a pinch of salt can bring out the subtle natural sweetness in a fruit shake

#2 Too Much of Anything Creates More Imbalances 

Too much of anything is a bad thing. Is your smoothie a 1500-calorie feast in one sitting? Or is it a carbo-loading daydream with 2 cups of mango and a single leaf of kale? If you add too many ingredients, especially high-calorie or high-sugar ingredients, they can contribute to unwanted weight gain and even inflammation. Keeping things in moderation is key, and switching up your ingredients regularly is another clue to remember!

#3 Digestive Miss-Match 

Anything that gives you digestive problems is a no-go. Gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, constipation… you don't want any of those, so find the offending foods and combinations and avoid them.

Here are some common culprits for a gassy smoothie:

Whey protein - if you still want the benefits of whey in your smoothie, opt for a whey protein isolate and avoid whey protein concentrate. Besides the stink, there are other reasons to complement your whey protein: whey can deplete your glycine levels, so take it with a glycine-rich collagen supplement, and don't sacrifice your gains! Especially if you are injury-prone or you are recovering from injury. Gelatin-hydrolyzed collagen provides the same amino acids without the GI pain. Plus, your body absorbs hydrolyzed collagen protein better than plain gelatin.

Combining fruit and fats - this comes up most when people make smoothies with high-sugar tropical fruits like pineapple or mango with high-fat ingredients like avocado or coconut cream. Just cut the amount in half if this combo affects you significantly. Too much fiber at once or too soon - if you're adding a fiber supplement to your smoothie (chia, flax, psyllium., etc.), start low and go slow! It takes time for your gut bacteria to adapt to their new food source, so wait until you don't feel bloated anymore before upping your dose. What's the best practice? Take one teaspoon of fiber three times a day instead of taking 15-20 grams at once.

Natural sugar alcohols are found in many fruits, but at least 10% of the global population is sensitive to them. The most common culprits are apples, apricots, cherries, figs, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, prunes, and raisins.

Starting With The Worst Things To Add To Your Smoothie

If you want your smoothie to work for you, not against you, avoid these below at all costs. These are the smoothie mistakes I see most often.

Sugar

With so many names for sugar, I had to create a resource about this worst smoothie ingredient to help people choose better options. See if any of the secret names for sugar in this article make it into your smoothie, and then cut them right out! Some familiar places you'll find sugar sneaked into your smoothie ingredients include: Sweetened almond milk, Sweetened protein powder, Fruit juice, and Fat-free flavored yogurt.

Always choose the sugar-free version of these, preferably without any added artificial sweeteners either.

Why is sugar so bad, anyway? Stiff joints, more injuries, cavities, chronic inflammation, diabetes and the list goes on.

We take a deep dive in this article: Joint Pain And Sweet Tooth: What Can You Do About The Undeniable Link? but these are just some of the more common issues to expect if you're overeating sugar. You can still have your dessert smoothie sometimes, but keep it as a special treat! not an everyday menu item.

Dairy

If you're intolerant — and a good proportion of the population is — dairy can trigger gut issues and challenges like acne, blemishes, oily skin, and other skin problems, making it another bad smoothie ingredient. The gut effects are real, too, so if you have any discomfort after eating dairy, try cutting it out for a while to see if that makes you feel better.

Ice cream, being a combination of the two ingredients worst for your health, is patently the worst smoothie ingredient you could possibly add. Just say no, it is not that hard!

Protein Powder

This one comes as a surprise to most people, so let me clarify. I'm not talking about never using a protein supplement. I'm talking about never using a protein supplement that isn't standardized and certified for its quality. How do you know if your protein is? It should have a label that would say either. It might not seem like a big deal; protein is protein, right? Wrong. Check out the one-star reviews of protein supplements that don't meet high-quality standards. You'll see hundreds of complaints about headaches, acne, mystery pains, and nasty smells from a run-of-the-mill bottle of protein powder.

Being in the supplement industry, We know the deceptive tactics other companies use to spike their protein with low-quality amino acids and the corners manufacturers take in production.

When a manufacturer doesn't meet my high standards, I walk away. I want you to know that the Resync Collagen Blend only contains the best ingredients at the exact amounts listed on the bottle.

Some other things to keep in mind are the downstream effects of different proteins. For example, whey protein actually depletes glycine, one of the most important amino acids to support tendons and ligaments' strength. You might not think about your collagen connective tissues much. Still, when you exercise, the entire force of your workout is carried by collagen tissues like joints, ligaments, cartilage, and fascia. Without enough glycine and collagen amino acids, these tissues may become weak and more prone to injury. It's not enough to think about your muscles. You have to consider the strength of your entire connective tissue system.

Make your smoothies at home for the best quality control, and take note of what ingredients you should avoid adding to your smoothies for optimal health.

INCREASE YOUR NUTRITIONAL KNOWLEDGE   

Get a list of the healthiest carbohydrates - their fiber, sugar, micronutrients, bioactives & polyphenols breakdown - An exclusive & free sneak peek of our Recover Every Layer Of Your Body eBook 

Get instant access to the breakdown researched and prepared by a registered dietician & stay healthy with weekly up-to-date nutritional guidance in your inbox.

Healthiest Smoothie Ingredients - Your Superfoods

It's hard to rank these because each is so beneficial for its own reason. Put all these in one, and you've got a bona fide longevity elixir for a better heart, radiant supple skin, and the body of a greek statue. I can't tell you these ingredients will help you live longer, but each contains vital ingredients to achieve optimal health, as shown in numerous research studies.

Seeds and Nut Butters

Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and almonds are some of the richest sources of B-vitamins, copper, magnesium, zinc, and critical polyunsaturated fatty acids to give your calorie-burning engine the boost it needs on a long day. Make sure you're using the butter (tahini is another name for sesame butter), unless, of course, you want a crunchy smoothie experience.

Flax, chia, or hemp are another great source of minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and heart- and gut-healthy fiber. Use them ground up — otherwise, you don't absorb anything at all! Flax oil is a great alternative to add, and it provides an even greater dose of healthy fats and anti-inflammatory lignans to your smoothie.

Best Berries

Are fruit smoothies healthy? Well, it depends on which fruit! When it comes to fruit, go beyond the basics. Strawberries, cherries (are typically inflammatory, unless you use tart cherries), raspberries, and blueberries are healthy in moderation, but let's see if we can raise the bar for fruit smoothies. Wild blueberries are the bare minimum, elderberries, acai, and goji berries are a step up, and Aronia berries have the highest antioxidant capacity in the natural world. If you want a fruit smoothie that's actually healthy, focus on these super-performers of the berry world rather than selecting for sugar content.

Greens

Green veggies have a reputation as superfoods for a reason. The nutritional powerhouse spinach, the anti-cancer anti-inflammatory kale, the colorful rainbow chard, and even spicy arugula are some of the richest sources of vitamins, minerals, and unique antioxidants you can't find anywhere else. Each of these are some top sources of plant-based nitrate, too, which your body uses to make the heart-healthy nitric oxide. When it comes to nitrates, B-vitamins like folate, and some carotenoids, you're going to get more in the best red vegetables than green vegetables, but considering how common these are, I wouldn't say no!


Reds

Betalains in beets, anthocyanins in wild blueberries and Aronia berry (chokeberry), plant-based nitrates in red leafy veggies like red spinach (amaranth), and so many other examples make red fruit and vegetables a crucial component of the healthiest smoothies. Betalains have performance-promoting effects, while anthocyanins may help with cognition and recovery from exercise. Plant-based nitrates — highest in red spinach (aka amaranth) — serve your performance, recovery, heart health, immune function, and gut health, so if you're not paying attention to your plant-based nitrate sources yet, you should start now!


Quality Protein

We cannot understate the importance of a quality protein supplement.Quality protein can help you build muscle, make stronger tendons, support tissue integrity (ie, skin health, gut health), and your body's ability to make proteins, enzymes, and DNA. But do you know what's in your protein powder?

Check out this press release from Clean Label Project, an independent chemical analysis non-profit dedicated to consumer health. Most of the protein powders on the shelf (especially the vegan ones!) are filled with unacceptable levels of lead, other heavy metals, pesticides/herbicides, manufacturing contaminants, and mold, to name a few!

A protein powder that gives you results, rather than mysterious symptoms of heavy metal toxicity, is one that's independently certified by a third-party testing lab. We covered the merits of a few different certifications in this article on the best collagen supplements. Still, We'll boil it down for you: NSF sport and Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) offer the most rigorous testing in the supplement industry. And you know what? We are proud to say that Resync Premium Collagen Blend and Resync Recovery are certified by one of those.

Resync Premium Collagen Blend is the premier synergistic combination of ingredients backed by clinical research to enhance your recovery and improve your game day after day. If you're not making collagen smoothies for a performance advantage, you'll be left in the dust by the athletes that do!

Other Functional Foods And Superfoods


Cacao nibs, cocoa powder, carob powder, matcha, turmeric, ginger, Boswellia serrata, and plenty of other functional foods provide unique benefits. Like We said before, though, make sure you're taking them with the right synergistic ingredients in order to actually get the benefits.

Putting It All Together: How To Make The Healthiest SmoothieIf you want the hands-down healthiest smoothie recipe, you can simply mix the whole list of healthiest smoothie ingredients together with some yogurt, and you'll have an unforgettable smoothie experience. It may not taste great, but it sure will put some pep in your step!As you can tell from the title of my recent book, Recover Every Layer of Your Body: 40 Science-Based Recipes For Better Sleep, Faster Recovery and Healthier Connective Tissues is all about the science of using vital ingredient combinations for unstoppable energy, incredibly fast recovery, and the soundest sleep you've ever had.

Each of these ties together to help you live your best life. It starts with the best grab-and-go smoothies for breakfast, powers through the day with savory bowls, and ends with healthy dessert smoothies that even a carb-conscious nutritionist would approve of.

If you want the best ingredients to put in a smoothie that still tastes good, you will want to check out our ebook. You can also choose a sample that focuses on skin, joints, or other connective tissue layers important to you.

Here is a smoothie recipe just for you

Resync researched the best breakfast smoothies, healthy smoothies for recovery, and sleep elixirs so that you can have all the resources right in one place. Check it out for the best smoothie recipes backed by science! 

Learn more about our easy to follow research and science-based recipe eBook

Recover Every Layer of Your Body
Recover Every Layer of Your Body
Recover Every Layer of Your Body

We want to hear from you!

Want the practical details on how to eat and supplement to support your exercise, heart health, beauty, and energy? Subscribe to our feed and never miss our best content! If you want more, leave a comment or question below, and we'll get back to you! While other companies push clickbait and fake news, what we say is backed by research. When you have the right information, you are empowered to make the right decision, that's why we break down complex science into practical takeaways you can use today. If there's something you want to know more about, let us know by contacting us or getting in touch on social media!Helping you lead a healthier life,The Resync Team

References

Bodkhe, Rahul, et al. "The Role of Microbiome in Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment." Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, vol. 11, SAGE Publications, Jan. 2019, p. 1759720X19844632. SAGE Journals, doi:10.1177/1759720X19844632.Borgeraas, H., et al. "Effects of Probiotics on Body Weight, Body Mass Index, Fat Mass and Fat Percentage in Subjects with Overweight or Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials." Obesity Reviews: An Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, vol. 19, no. 2, Feb. 2018, pp. 219–32. PubMed, doi:10.1111/obr.12626.Clean label project. "New Study of Protein Powders from Clean Label Project Finds Elevated Levels of Heavy Metals and BPA in 53 Leading Brands." Clean Label Project, https://cleanlabelproject.org/blog-post/new-study-of-protein-powders-from-clean-label-project-finds-elevated-levels-of-heavy-metals-and-bpa-in-53-leading-brands/. Accessed 14 June 2021.Prasad, Sahdeo, et al. "Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: The Golden Pigment from Golden Spice." Cancer Research and Treatment : Official Journal of Korean Cancer Association, vol. 46, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 2–18. PubMed Central, doi:10.4143/crt.2014.46.1.2.Written by Barbara Depta and registered dietitian, Detrick Snyder, MPH, RDN. Updated on 06/21/2021.

Disclaimer

This content is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute the practice of any professional healthcare service, INCLUDING the giving of medical advice. No provider-patient relationship is formed. The use of this information, and the materials linked to this content is at the user's own risk. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should abide by the advice of their healthcare provider, and should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have.

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