Whenever I hear the term “superfood” my brain debates between two images: One is a Superman-dressed avocado wearing the proud light-blue tights and the red slip on top smiling to the sunset proudly. The second is me in my teenage years hiding out the spinach from my mom and then throwing it away when nobody noticed it.
Today we are not going to speak about either of those rather embarrassing situations.
Truth be told I had to start getting more energy into my life. I don´t have any kids yet but am perfectly conscious I want to give them a great life when they come so I am working a lot to make that safe cradle and nurture their smiles. I had to become an adult (man up, man!) and start eating superfoods. I tried them in most ways imaginable and came to a conclusion: the best way is to drink them in a smoothie. Furthermore, doing it in the morning kick-started my day like few other things (yeah, kiss Red Bull good-bye!).
Those ready to effortlessly change your day to day energy levels please follow me (don´t worry, we won´t hurt Captain Avocado in the process).
What Are Superfoods?
To begin with, let´s clear out what superfoods are not: this is not a science-backed term, but a marketing trick. Yes, it is a term coined to sell more of those that fall into the category. No, I am not talking about a scam, but rather about a weird moment in history when science and marketing give us the same advice: eat more of those.
What doctors and nutritionists in the world warn about superfoods is that they are not miracle-makers. They will elevate your levels of energy, protect your immune system, and make you feel great adding some antioxidants to the combo but need to be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle to maximize results. Our hero, Captain Avocado can and will do a lot for you, might even change your life, but can´t do it all on its own, it needs your help.
Why Are Superfoods Important?
To answer this question in an easy-to-follow, neat way, I´ll give you the info on the most important ones. These are my daily saviors for a full day of working hard in a good mood. If you want a complete list of all superfoods with a medical approach full of complicated jargon, you can check this page. Otherwise, read on and check why you need these fruits and vegetables in your life right now.
Yes, the most common and widely used smoothie ingredients in the world are bananas. You can find them anywhere, are easy to peel, and are usually very cheap (even organic ones). Plus, they are portable because are wrapped in their very own recyclable and waterproof natural packaging.
- Bananas cover 15% of your daily Vitamin C needs plus 25% of your daily vitamin B6 needs.
- Bananas give you a very strong potassium shot that can help you lower your blood pressure and also to replenish electrolytes in your body (AKA balance your body fluids).
- Finally, bananas are a great way of including healthy carbs into the diet. They provide all the energy without the hard crash of processed sugar.
To many experts, spinach is one of the world´s healthiest foods. Besides, you can use it with most other ingredients in every preparation since it is mild-tasting. Once you outgrow the teenage years of sugar-packed snacks and energy excess, you can appreciate just how good it is for your body.
- Spinach adds the right amount of magnesium to your body which translates into feeling stronger throughout the day. I wouldn´t say you go full-on Popeye, but you will feel an extra boost.
- Folate is a nutrient found in spinach that helps your body get the nutrients out of the food you consume and turn them into usable energy.
- Finally, alkalizing your body is a great way of staying energetic throughout the day. To achieve this alkalization you need to ingest alkaline food and guess what? Yes, spinach is alkaline by nature.
Flaxseeds (& chia too)
The best thing about seeds is that you can add them to mostly anything and they will not ruin it. For example, I started adding seeds to my pasta dishes, and hence I no longer feel guilty of eating “empty carbs”. Adding them to the morning smoothie is as easy as it gets. Sometimes, when I forget to blend them, I just sprinkle them on top and voilà! I got a smoothie with a topping!
- Flaxseeds and chia seeds are one of nature´s biggest sources of Omega-3 and fatty acids. These regulate your energy levels so they are stable throughout the day. For you to have an idea, it is the opposite of sugar rushes in which you go through euphoria and then extreme tiredness.
- Also, these seeds can be considered a huge hit of antioxidants and proteins while also reducing inflammation. You´ll feel that even your skin thanks you for using them in your smoothie.
- Finally, and this is my favorite attribute: they reduce sugar cravings and help balance hormones. I no longer have that imperious need of stopping the world and getting a chocolate bar to stop my brain complaining about it.
Speaking of chocolate, you weren´t expecting to find this here, right? Well, chocolate is not the villain fighting Captain Avocado, but the secret ally behind enemy lines. The thing is to avoid using its processed, sugar-packed version and going for the real thing.
- We already spoke about magnesium when speaking about bananas, but this is another great source for it. Magnesium helps to boost your energy, and more importantly, reducing fatigue (my go-to from on Fridays).
- Speaking about fatigue, raw cacao is hugely rich in flavanols, a plant-based powerful antioxidant that helps potassium fight fatigue (which is the true villain in the story, right?).
- Finally, raw cacao contains proteins and fiber which makes it a great superfood for energy smoothie, maintaining a strong muscle structure, and having a healthy tummy.
Going down the unexpected names, we have shredded coconut. Wait, what? Coconut is an energy booster? It is not only that but the source of a plethora of benefits. The best of it in my opinion is that I can add it to a spinach-rich smoothie and forget I´m playing Popeye and tasting that sweet coconut.
- Perhaps you are not familiar with them, but mid-chain triglycerides help our body use the fuel efficiently avoiding peaks and valleys. Coconuts are a great source of it.
- Although not all of us know this, we need fiber in our diets to help lower sugar peaks. Dietary fiber is another great feature of shredded coconut.
- Finally, shredded coconut adds a serious amount of protein, iron, and zinc to our diet. No, you´re not turning into Iron Man, just adding strength to your daily life.
I just love berries. They are the quintessential mix of flavor, texture, and juice in the shape of an easy-to-get snack. Besides being a great-tasting superfood ingredient for your energy smoothie, berries pack a lot of goodies for your body.
- Polyphenol is the name of the antioxidants found in most berries that help fighting back against free radicals, another major villain for the human body. By fighting back against free radicals, polyphenols work as strong antioxidants.
- Strawberries are the berries with the highest concentration of Vitamin C, a great ally for the cold months of the year. It will also help your immune system grow stronger.
- Finally, berries add a great amount of fiber to your diet helping your tummy stay healthier for longer and reduce sugar peaks and valleys that affect our energy levels and mood throughout the day.
While berries are my all-time favorites, avocados are coming close. They just have this creamy texture and neutral flavor that makes every smoothie just better. Plus, as you are about to see, they have many benefits for us, humans.
- Healthy fats are a must for our body and not-so-common to find. Avocados are very rich in them and thus can help you maintain optimum fat levels in your blood. This also enhances the absorption of nutrients which can be stored in our bodies to be used as energy.
- The carbohydrates found in avocados are 80% fiber. This means they help you regulate blood sugar levels without adding unnecessary calories to your diet.
- Finally, avocados are very rich in Vitamin B which boosts energy levels naturally besides helping our eyes, brain, and digestion. I know, avocados are really cool.
Recipes for Energy Smoothies
Well, that was more than enough preliminary talk, it is time to get to the smoothies recipes. Most of them are my own creations with the above ingredients and some more I love. You can play with them as much as you like and add others to create new flavors. In the end, it is all about having fun blending and drinking healthy, delicious smoothies.
Babe Ruth Smoothie
You might be wondering about the name on this smoothie, it´s very simple: it´s always a home run. This smoothie tastes so good and is so packed with energy that you will definitely hit it out of the stadium on a steady basis after drinking it. I´m sure if Babe was alive, he would drink it every morning to improve his legend status.
- 1 cup of strawberries (sliced & frozen)
- 1 banana
- 2 cup of orange juice
- 1 cup of pineapple
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 tablespoon of chia or flaxseeds
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt
It is better to avoid ice and instead freeze all the ingredients on the list, ice can make your smoothie more watery which can cause a separated smoothie. This super loaded smoothie requires a particular, very important step: add the liquids first. If you want to put in some milk of your choice, it will also taste amazing. What I do sometimes is using the seeds as a topping instead of blending them in. You are going to love the taste of it and the uplifting mood it will put you in.
I love my greens
This is my mantra while I am preparing this smoothie. I sing it to myself slowly while I am putting all that spinach inside the blender. The energy bonus I get whenever I drink this, though, makes it all worthwhile. Feel free to add more sweet stuff to it as long as it is in the list above.
- 1 cup of pineapple
- 1 cup of berries (your choice)
- 1 banana
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 cups of orange juice
- 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut
Just like in the previous one, make sure you add the orange juice first. If you want it to be creamier, replace it with milk. The banana, berries, pineapple, and spinach should all be sliced small and frozen for a better result. Finally, that shredded coconut will add the extra touch either as a topping or as a part of the mix.
I called this one choco power because it has a lot of raw cocoa on it which makes it taste amazing and also be super energetic. A weird thing happens to me when I see the whole thing go brown: it reminds me of my early days drinking cocoa milk and watching cartoons. It makes me smile for about five seconds, then I remember I have to go to work and the smile goes away, but the energy boost is there for the entire day.
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 scoops of raw cacao
- 1 banana
- 1 cups of coconut milk
My secret with this preparation that brings that smile upon my face is adding the raw cacao to the glass instead of the blender. This way I think the flavor is more present in the preparation (or is it just my brain?). You can always replace the coconut milk with almond or any other kind of your choice. Finally, if you want even more of a boost, just add some shredded coconut or chia seeds as a topping.
Let´s introduce two extras I love and add a lot of energy to your day as well: ginger and turmeric. We are going to leave the ginger as optional since not everybody likes it. In my opinion, they make an awesome combo, they are a one-way ticket to Tastyland. Plus, both add a lot to the overall energy boost of the drink.
- 1 cup of peaches
- 1 banana
- 1/2 mango
- 1 cup of orange juice (or milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
I freeze everything the night before and then blend it all. Turmeric and ginger need to be added before blending otherwise you might come across a bulky cluster of it and it will ruin your palate for the day. I do it with very little amounts such as ¼ of a teaspoon, but it is kind of a trial-and-error thing in terms of proportions. Just follow your instinct on that, you can add some seeds or shredded coconut on top and replace juice with milk for creaminess.
Minty berry delight
The minty berry is the freshest of the list. This is an ideal smoothie for hot days and hot seasons. It gives you the exact amount of powerful ingredients you need to start your day like a rocket and also keeps it fresh and light, you just won´t believe how much difference a little mint does to preparation like this.
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of berries
- 3 sprigs of mint
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 avocado
- 3 tablespoons of walnuts
- 1 cup of freshwater
- 1 teaspoon of chia seeds/shredded coconut/raw cacao
The first thing you´ll notice perhaps is the inclusion of water as an ingredient, this is because lime or lemon juice doesn´t go well with milk. I leave it up to you to try it, but to me, it doesn´t taste good. What really does taste good is adding walnuts. You´ll add texture to the content as opposed to just drinking it like a juice. Finally, the topping is something optional but bear in mind that topping the smoothie with superfood is a great way of adding more power it effortlessly.
Your mood, energy levels, and your overall feeling of well-being are directly related to your nutrition. It is not the only thing that will influence your life, but definitely not one to overlook either. As I said at the beginning, Captain Avocado and the amazing team of superfoods will help you in this endeavor a lot, but can´t work any miracles. If you really want to enjoy that pump in your energy you also need to stop some bad habits like eating too much-processed food or sugar-flooded snacks.
The road to a healthy life is not straight or easy, but it is the best one to take. Enjoy blending these ingredients and if you have some amazing new flavors to add, feel free to test it by yourself!
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