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6 Healthy Ingredients to Supercharge Your Smoothie

Posted: 08/24/2012 8:23 am

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D. Associate Nutrition Editor for EatingWell Magazine

I’m on a big smoothie kick lately. Every morning, I’ve been blending up different variations of frozen fruit and skim milk or yogurt with a handful of walnuts. It’s a refreshing breakfast on hot mornings that also happens to be nutritious.

More from EatingWell:
21 Quick & Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Best & Worst Smoothies to Buy at Fast-Food Restaurants
4 Foods to Boost Your Workout

As a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, I’ve been thinking of ways to kick up the nutritional impact of my new favorite breakfast even more. Here are six health-packed ingredients to supercharge your smoothie:

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  • Green Tea

    Really, what can green tea <em>not </em>do? The world's most popular beverage boasts cancer-fighting catechins. Those antioxidants may also help to boost your immunity. One more benefit? It may help to protect your skin from sun damage. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyparsons/3330122842/" target="_hplink">joey.parsons</a></em>

  • Silken Tofu

    Silken tofu is loaded with protein, which can help you feel full longer and curb snack attacks midmorning. If you buy calcium-set tofu, you'll also get a good dose of calcium. <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Morinu-Soft-Silken-12-Ounce-Packages/dp/B000LKZ84W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345651338&sr=8-1&keywords=silken+tofu" target="_hplink">Amazon.com</a></em>

  • Pomegranate Juice

    Preliminary research suggests pomegranate juice helps relieve sore muscles after exercise (cherry juice is credited with the same effect, so that's another juice you could try in your smoothie). But that's not all: the antioxidants in a daily cup of pomegranate juice might help to keep free radicals from oxidizing "bad" LDL cholesterol, suggested a preliminary study in the <em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em>. (Oxidized LDL contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries.) <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fisherkate/4480996999/" target="_hplink">fishbone1</a></em>

  • Vanilla Kefir

    If you haven't tried kefir, you should. It's a drinkable yogurt that's full of calcium and healthy probiotics that may help give your immune system a little extra edge.

  • Kombucha

    Kombucha is a fermented tea with a fizzy "zip," offered in flavors from mango to cayenne-watermelon. Newly available in supermarkets, it has probiotics and more antioxidants than other teas. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/inkdroid/3270983064/" target="_hplink">inkdroid</a></em>

  • Flaxseed

    The health community is buzzing about omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed and flaxmeal (ground from flaxseed) are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3. ALA may help to lower inflammation and increase blood flow in the body, reducing the risk of high blood pressure and blood clots.

What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?

By Kerri-Ann Jennings

Kerri-Ann JenningsKerri-Ann Jennings, a registered dietitian, is the associate nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, where she wields her master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University writing and editing news about nutrition, health and food trends. In her free time, Kerri-Ann likes to practice yoga, hike, bake and paint.

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