17 August, 2011
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Whether you want to start off your day with a healthy boost of energy or refuel after a workout, smoothies offer a healthy, refreshing drink option. Smoothies are packed full of vitamins and minerals, but the specific nutrients depend on what you put in the smoothie. You can make a variety of smoothies by using a few key ingredients that offer plenty of nutrients.
Fruit is one of the most common smoothie ingredients and will guarantee your smoothie is full of vitamins and minerals. Fruit such as mangoes, oranges, papayas, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon, bananas, avocados and kiwi are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts your immune system and helps protect your body from damaging elements in the environment. Bananas are rich in potassium and manganese. Papayas and mangoes are rich in vitamin A, while avocado is full of vitamin K, vitamin B6 and folate.
Ensure your smoothie is packed with calcium by adding low-fat dairy products to the mix. You can use low-fat yogurt or skim milk to add thickness to your smoothie while giving you calcium and vitamin D. For a frothy smoothie, add a teaspoon or two of dry nonfat milk, the American Dietetic Association advises. Milk also offers nutrients such as riboflavin, phosphorus and iron, while yogurt offers vitamin B-12 and riboflavin.
You can pack more protein and other nutrients into your smoothie by adding soy milk, tofu, peanut butter, nuts or granola to your smoothies. Sprinkle some nuts on top to add extra minerals to your smoothie, such as zinc, phosphorus and manganese. Granola will give you fiber, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. Fortified soy milk often offers calcium, vitamin D and riboflavin. For a tasty protein shake, mix up some chocolate soy milk, bananas and peanut butter.
Smoothies, unlike beverages such as coffee or soda, hydrate you by delivering moisture to your body. Smoothies offer an easy-to-make way to help you meet your nutrition requirements for a variety of vitamins and minerals, ranging from vitamin C to calcium. You can use your taste preferences and creativity to come up with your own smoothie recipes. Popular smoothie flavors include strawberry banana, peanut butter and chocolate, berry mix and tropical fruit. You can also create vegetable blends using tomatoes, carrots and peppers. To sweeten your smoothie, use frozen or fresh in-season fruit instead of sugar or honey.
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