Seeds and nuts are vital elements for your smoothies as it offers proteins, fats, and they also (when used as nut kinds of butter) act as emulsifiers. The seeds and nuts add the crunch and richness that makes the smoothies we make so much more delectable.
So which seeds and nuts are the best choices for your smoothies? In this article, we will discuss the various seeds and nuts and how they can be incorporated into your smoothies. While the health benefits of seeds and nuts are listed based on information available from public sources, it should not be construed as medical or expert advice in any way or form.
Why add Seeds and Nuts to your smoothies?
- They are healthy and add fiber, protein, and fats to your diet. Fats are especially important if you’re a vegan as getting sufficient sources can be difficult from plants unless you are including nuts. (Yes, avocados are a great source of fats, but having only avocados as fats can make your diet limited and monotonous.)
- Seeds and nuts also give that satiety when you have smoothies, keeping you feeling fuller longer. If you have tried having just fruit juices you will find that after the initial energy boost their effect tends to wane and you start feeling hungry in just a few hours. Adding in fiber as well as fats will help you maintain the sated feeling for longer.
- Seeds and nuts are categorized as a superfood and are filled with nutrients and antioxidants as well as have proven anti-aging properties. There have been studies that were conducted which show that people who eat nuts tend to have lower blood pressure and better-regulated blood sugar. Contrary to popular belief, nuts do not hamper weight loss efforts and in fact aids in maintaining balanced weight.
- Adding in seeds and nuts also helps in improving the texture as a new admin cast seeds and nuts it gives a crunchy texture. If you want to add a smooth texture then adding some kinds of butter would be helpful. They also act as emulsifiers holding these ingredients together and ensuring that use movies do not separate and settle too fast when left outside. (for more information about how to prevent smoothie from separating click here)
How to add seed and nuts to your smoothies?
Here are some ways of how you can add, and use seeds and nuts in your smoothie to improve the texture as well as the nutritional value.
Once you blend the smoothie you can sprinkle in nuts and seeds picture ground or crushed on top of the smoothies and it will give that crunch and additional flavor to your smoothie. Also, it is one of the best methods to get a perfect picture of your smoothie 🙂 – for more details click here
You can blend in the nut kinds of butter to your smoothies. This will add creaminess and thickness to the smoothie due to the released oils and fats of the nuts and seeds.
Nut milk can be the liquid base of the smoothie. Add the liquid base first, and into it, you can add the other ingredients and blend. If you are Vegan and do not want to add in regular milk or yogurt then nut milk are great options to have as you can then have the smoothies in a drinkable form instead of just a thick paste or watery juice
Seeds that you can use in smoothies
Flaxseed is seen now as a superfood with a lot of scientific research focusing on identifying the benefits of flaxseed. Flax seeds are excellent sources of protein fiber and omega-3 fatty acids along with some vitamins and minerals.
Vegetarians who do not eat fish or eggs tend to include flax seeds in the diets as they contain a comparative amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. Currently, there are also studies conducted on lignans which are components of flax seeds that have antioxidant properties. Flaxseeds also contain fiber which is important for humans in bowel movement, gut health, and in lowering cholesterol as well as in regulating blood sugar.
If you are not getting adequate protein in your vegetarian diet or vegan diet you can look at flax seeds as they are full of protein and are rich in amino acids (all nine of them) such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid. For smoothies, they are excellent additions as they increase nutrition sources and the quality of the smoothie. You can add it in as a flaxseed meal or flaxseed oil. Sometimes whole flax seeds are more difficult to digest and hence it might be better to add in ground seeds rather than add whole seeds into your smoothies.
Chia seeds are seen as superfoods now. Even from ancient times, chia seeds were seen to have lots of energy and stamina giving powers. In fact, the word ‘Chiya’ means strength in the Mayan language. The Mexican Tarahumara tribe used to give the runners long run long distances a mixture of chia seeds lemon and water called Iskiate. It is believed that the runners were able to run hundreds of miles after drinking this.
Chia seeds are small and tiny white or black seeds and can be sprinkled on your smoothie. On contact with water or liquids, chia seeds tend to form into gel-like substances.
Chia seeds have tons of fiber and very little carbs that are digestible. They are one of the best sources of fiber by weight in the world. They have about 14 grams of protein which is high, compared to other cultivated seeds. Due to the high level of protein and Omega 3 fatty acid and fiber content, chia seeds can be good to help maintain overall health and aid weight loss as well as improve well being.
Chia seeds are high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein. For those who do not eat dairy, the amount of calcium in this may make it a viable alternative
Hemp seeds are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fats, especially Omega 6 and Omega 3. Some studies have found the proteins more digestible than that of soy. Hemp seeds contain arginine which is seen as beneficial for heart functions. Hemp seeds are also known as a complete source of protein having all 9 essential amino acids. Hemp seeds are rich in fiber and due to that can greatly help reduce appetite, help with weight management, stabilize blood sugar levels as well as promote gut health.
Hemp seeds also have high levels of vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. They have iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Since hemp seeds contain a substantial amount of Omega 3 fatty acids and both Omega 3 and 6 in a balanced ratio it may help reduce inflammation, improve skin as well as prevent some chronic diseases.
Sunflower seeds are basically the fruits of sunflower plants. They are usually roasted and then added in trail mixes, smoothies, yogurts, etc. They contain vitamin E, magnesium, protein and linoleic fatty acids. Linoleic fatty acids are believed to have hormone-like compounds that can relax blood vessels and promote lower blood pressure.
It may also have some effect in reducing blood cholesterol thereby supporting heart health. The sunflower seeds also have chlorogenic acid which has been shown to have effects on lowering blood sugar.
It is great for snacking and an excellent addition to smoothies. But only about a handful may be consumed at one time as high quantities of sunflower seeds sometimes have toxic effects as well.
Sesame seeds have high protein content. In 30 grams of sesame seeds, you get at least 5 grams of protein. The rest of the components are nutrients and healthy fats.
As a source of protein and fats, sesame seeds are great and tasty additions to use especially those that are roasted. Sesame seeds are high in magnesium which is known to lower blood pressure, additionally, vitamin E, lignans, etc also are abundant in sesame seeds. Calcium content is very high too, hence it can be good for bone health. Sesame seeds are also good sources of B vitamins such as Niacin, vitamin B6 and Thiamine.
Iron and copper which help in blood cell formation are also found in fairly high quantities in sesame seeds.
Vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for immunity such as selenium, zinc and copper, vitamin B6, and vitamin E make sesame seeds an important addition to your smoothie. Also, sesame seeds are available everywhere and can be easily procured from general supermarkets.
Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of magnesium zinc and fatty acids. Studies show that they have a good effect on maintaining heart health. The magnesium content could also be useful in reducing diabetes in type 2 diabetes as magnesium deficiency was noticed in some of the people with diabetes. Pumpkin seeds are good for digestive health and also so can help if you have sleeping troubles. They have an amino acid that promotes sleep which is called tryptophan.
What is called a germ of a cereal is basically the reproductive part that germinates into the plant. For the wheat germ which is part of the wheat kernel, it is usually removed as a part of the processing and used for extracting oils, etc. Due to the excellent nutritional value, it is now being produced directly for human consumption. This is available raw or in liquid form and can be used in your cooking as well as a nutritional supplement in your smoothies. So what is so great about wheat germ?
Wheat germ is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the important nutrients are vitamin E magnesium, zinc, thiamine, folate, potassium, and phosphorus. Due to this wheat germ supplementation is seen as good for heart health, skin conditions, premature aging, cognitive functions, and digestion.
Nuts that you can use in smoothies
Almonds are actually edible seeds from the almond tree mostly native to the Middle East. They are sold in stores usually having the shell removed and only the edible nut inside. Usually, they sell the nuts raw or roasted.
Almonds contain a lot of minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium. Almond nuts are one of the best sources of vitamin E which has been proven to help lower rates of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
While almonds are low in carbs, they are seen as high in healthy fiber, proteins, and fats. These are components that are seen to be helpful for people with diabetes. Magnesium is important for blood sugar control and most diabetics seem to be deficient in magnesium. Almond has high levels of magnesium which can support in lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin function.
Studies have also shown that magnesium deficiency can lead to blood pressure levels which may not be conducive for health. Rectifying deficiency in magnesium can help in balancing blood sugar levels thereby preventing issues such as heart attack strokes and kidney failure.
Almonds are also known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Moreover, almonds are seen as a weight- loss-friendly-food and they help reduce hunger and make the person feel satiated for longer periods of time.
Walnuts are energy-dense and high-calorie foods with most of the calories coming from fat. Compared to other nuts walnuts have significantly higher levels of omega-3 fats. Walnuts also seem to have beneficial effects on reducing inflammation which may be the root of many diseases.
Studies have shown that eating walnuts regularly can increase gut bacteria which is necessary for a healthy gut and overall health. They also contain polyphenols that are known to reduce certain types of cancers. While more study is required in this area preliminary studies have pointed to the benefits of walnuts in preventing diseases.
As with other nuts, walnuts help in reducing cholesterol levels and help in weight loss. Walnut has increasingly been used in studies to understand how it can help brain function. While more studies are underway some observational studies in older adults have shown better mental flexibility, memory, and cognitive processing in older adults linked to increased and consistent walnut consumption. Future studies have yet to be done to confirm this.
Hazelnut is native to countries like Turkey, Italy, Spain, and the United States. The nut comes from the Corylus tree. Hazelnuts contain vitamin B6 Phosphorus potassium zinc and folate.
They are also known for their high levels of Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids. Hazelnuts have beneficial effects on improving heart health, preventing diseases, and decreasing inflammation.
It has been found helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels and increased insulin sensitivity. The skin contains the highest concentration of nutrients and it is better to have them with skin than with the skin removed. Hazelnut butter is an excellent combination together with chocolate or cocoa. When the nut butter is added to smoothies, it gives a very high level of density and creaminess.
Unlike other nuts, peanuts are not from any tree and do not really classify as a nut. They are more related to legume families such as beans, lentils, etc. Peanuts have been heavily used in some countries in the form of peanut flour, peanut oil as well as peanut paste. Peanuts are easily available and affordable and hence a great component to supplement your diet with.
Peanuts are very high in fat and it is used as peanut oil for cooking. Peanuts contain mostly mono and poly and saturated fatty acids. Peanuts are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals which include folate, manganese, vitamin E, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. Peanuts are weight loss-friendly foods as the high protein and fat content tends to make the people who consume peanuts feel fuller faster.
Peanuts also contain heart-healthy nutrients and have cholesterol-lowering effects and more studies have been conducted in this area as well. Peanuts are known to have a lot of antioxidants, most of them located in the skin. Eating peanuts raw, with the skin may be even more beneficial as the peanut kernels include powerful antioxidants. Some people are allergic to peanuts so consuming peanuts have to be monitored if one is unsure whether they are allergic or not. Those who are allergic tend to have various ranges of adverse effects from eating peanuts.
Cashew nuts are from a cashew tree that is a tropical evergreen tree. The nut is placed outside of the fruit which is the cashew apple. Cashew nuts have been used in many cuisines for or enriching various curries and sauces. It has been also used as an enhancer of sweets and desserts as it gives a thick texture. Cashew milk has been used as an alternative to dairy milk.
It is believed that cashew originated in Brazil and traders transported it to various parts of the world. Just like other nuts, cashew nuts have been seen as extremely helpful in lowering cholesterol and growing heart health as well as in slowing down the aging process. Cashews have a powerful antioxidant called Zea Xanthine which seems to be extremely useful for preventing various eye-related infections.
Cashew nuts have high levels of selenium, iron, and zinc which are necessary for maintaining good skin and hair. They have been used in various foods from ancient times and are usually available in the form of raw cashews or as cashew butter, oil, etc. Most people enjoy cashews roasted and salted. When added to smoothies, cashew nuts bring a rich milky and thick texture to the smoothies and it can be extremely helpful for those who do not consume dairy.
Like the name suggests Brazil nuts native to Brazil especially to south American countries like Bolivia and Peru.
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium magnesium copper and zinc. Selenium is known to help in the proper functioning of the body as it is essential for enhancing the immune system and cell growth.
Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E phenols and enzymes that help in reducing inflammation as well as protecting the body from oxidative stress.
As with other nuts, Brazil nuts have beneficial effects on lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, maintaining balanced blood sugars, etc. Some studies are being conducted also to identify any link between Brazil’s nuts and brain functioning.
Again as with other nuts, it’s better not to eat too many of them as some people may be prone to allergies as well as may not react well to the toxicity of minerals. Do not add more than one or two Brazil nuts in your smoothies.
Pecans are extremely nutritious nuts that are delicious as a snack by itself or in food such as pecan pies, salads, and sauces. Pecans are full of good calories. About a single ounce of pecans gives about 200 calories mostly derived from protein and fats. Fats are mostly unsaturated and go a long way towards protecting the heart, improving metabolism, reducing and maintaining blood sugars.
Pecans have a lot of phytonutrients that have antioxidant benefits. An important component of pecans is minerals. Studies are investigating diets high in zinc and its link to lower risk proneness to many diseases with regards to age and lifestyle. Pecans also have monounsaturated fatty acids and flavonoids which was extremely helpful for maintaining heart health and reducing inflammation.
Like other nuts, they help in reducing weight as they have a satiating effect when added to smoothies or to salads. They also have manganese and copper which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Some studies have linked it is better brain functioning and for the overall improvement of cognition. Most people tend to also eat them roasted and salted but as a smoothie lover, you will love to have a few crushed pecans in a smoothie for that crunchy, rich, and buttery taste. Just a handful of Pecans in your smoothies are sufficient to increase the nutritional value and the taste of the smoothies
Nut kinds of butter for your smoothie
Nut butter is essential to smoothies especially if you do not have dairy products such as milk or yogurt added to your smoothies. Smoothies with nut butter in them have a depth, creaminess, and unique nuttiness that you will not find in other smoothies. Using nut kinds of butter in moderation can help us feel satiated and give the amount of caloric value needed to function.
How much nut butter is good?
It is better to restrict to about one tablespoon or half a tablespoon of nut butter to your smoothie.
Which nut butters are the best?
Almond butter is rich and creamy and you will find both sweet and unsweetened versions of almond butter which you can add to your smoothie. One tablespoon or half a tablespoon of almond butter would be sufficient to give a thick creamy consistency to your smoothie.
Cashew butter has a neutral flavor and can make a smoothie very smooth and creamy. Adding in a tablespoon of cashew butter to your smoothies will go a long way in meeting your nutrient needs of zinc, magnesium, calcium for the day.
Sunflower seed butter
If you like sunflower seeds then you should definitely try sunflower seed butter in smoothies, which are nutritious and delicious. They have good amounts of fat with vitamins, fiber, and protein.
You may have already tried peanut butter in your smoothies as it is not very expensive. In the United States, especially tons of peanut butter is sold every day both sweetened and unsweetened. Try adding peanut butter for enhancing taste and obtaining a silky texture for your vegan smoothie
Nut kinds of milk you can add to your smoothies
Those who do not use dairy products find nut milk as a blessing as they taste similar to dairy milk but are healthier and lighter at the same time. Nut milk can be acting as the liquid base of smoothies. If you are a vegan add nut milk instead of water to have a smoother and creamy texture to your smoothie.
Almond milk is increasingly popular now and slowly more and more we see people turning to almond milk instead of soy milk due to the additional health benefits of almonds. Almond milk has a neutral taste and gives a nutrient-rich smoothie when used with its veggies and other ingredients.
Not as popular as almond milk but peanut milk can also be an extremely good alternative to dairy and possibly cheaper and almost comparably nutritious as well.
Cashew milk is not as widely used as almond milk but equally nutritious with good amounts of magnesium vitamin K as well as calcium.
In conclusion, do not hesitate to add nuts and seeds in your smoothies and worry too much about the fats. Nuts are essential sources of healthy fats and provide antioxidants for fulfilling your nutritional needs. There are a variety of nuts and seeds available which you can choose from as discussed in this article. Prating advice is that you should try different varieties of nuts and seeds each time you make a smoothie so that your smooth journey becomes a richer and more exciting experience.