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Day 22: Smoothies with superpowers

January 22nd 2015 / Anna Hunter

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Wondering how to #StartBetter with a morning smoothie? How about a post-workout shake? For the healthiest blends, look no further

Smoothies and juices can be the most convenient, not to mention tasty, way to get all of your vital vits and goodness in one hit. Whether you got a blender for Christmas and are wondering what to whip up, are a smoothie newbie or want to mix up your current recipe rota, nutritionist and wellness expert Libby Limon has some great ideas for morning, evening and post-gym recovery. Prepare to superpower your smoothies - espresso has nothing on this lot.

Breakfast

This is the most important meal of the day - it sets the bar for your sustainable energy levels and helps you to continue to make good choices. Firstly, it’s vital to balance blood sugar, and a key way to do that is to have an adequate protein element. I suggest including organic hemp protein powder, sunflower seed protein powder or chia seeds which all have the added benefit of healthy fats, omega 3s and fibre to make you feel fuller for longer.

Secondly, cinnamon mimics insulin so has a positive effect on blood sugar balance.

It’s worth including maca powder too - it’s a potent, ancient Peruvian superfood that’s been used by indigenous Andean societies as a source of nourishment and healing for thousands of years. Maca provides an abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and sterols, so it gives a natural energy boost in the mornings. Unique alkaloids found in maca, called macainas, have been shown to nourish and support the hormone system (be aware that it’s not advisable to consume maca regularly in pregnancy).

Post workout

During exercise we need to produce more energy, and this can create oxidative stress which can be damaging to joints and tissue. It’s important to flood the body with antioxidants post workout to minimise any issues.

Add lots of greens and berries which have potent levels of antioxidants.

Matcha powder is a finely milled vibrant green tea powder made from the highest quality Japanese tea leaves and is extremely high in antioxidants, plus it boosts metabolism enhancing the body's post workout fat burning.

Baobab powder is a great addition too- it’s super high in vitamin C, one of nature’s most abundant antioxidants.

Spirulina powder is a blue-green algae and is very high in a range of antioxidants, plus it’s a fantastic plant protein source.

Splash in some raw coconut water- it’s nature’s 'Gatorade' - i’s high in electrolytes to replace those lost from sweat. Choose raw for the benefit of the enzymes and antioxidants.

Bedtime

In the evening it’s vital to include ingredients that are going to help your body to relax and wind down towards a good night’s sleep.

Soaked nuts, in particular, cashews, are high in tryptophan, the precursor for your sleep hormone melatonin. Blanched almonds are also worth considering- they are the richest natural source of magnesium, which is key for relaxation of mind and body and quality sleep. Women are often definicient in magenesium too, so this is a great (and delicious) way to top up your levels.

Include some tart cherry juice - it tastes great and is naturally high in melatonin.

Banana is a comforting addition and is high in vitamin B6 which is needed for the body to produce melatonin.

Lastly, experiment with drinking oats. These quick dissolving ones by Rude Health blend into any smoothie really quickly, and the addition of carbohydrate will help to induce sleep.

Feature written in partnership with Clinique

Are you into your smoothies or planning to start making them? What are your favourite ingredients to include? Tell us on Twitter using the hashtag #StartBetter or show us a picture of your daily smoothie on Instagram sign-up-here-nutrition.jpg

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