Top 10 Superfoods for the Healthiest Smoothies Ever!

Top 10 SuperfoodsI must confess, I absolutely love superfoods! They are nutritional powerhouses that are worthy of a place in your daily diet. These are foods that are packed with nutrients and able to improve your health in a number of ways.

From the high antioxidant levels in acai berries to anti-aging effects of goji berries, and everything in between, these superfoods will have you feeling and looking your best. And, every one of them can be used in your next smoothie.

Here are my top 10 smoothie worthy superfoods in alphabetical order. You can add one or a combination of several to the majority of your smoothies. In case you’re wondering, goji berries are my favorite superfood :)

Top 10 Superfoods

Acai

Acai berries are the fruits of the acai palm tree, which is native to the Amazon region. These dark red fruits contain more antioxidants than any other food we know, including red wine, blueberries, and dark chocolate. Additionally, acai has few calories, plenty of fiber, proteins, trace minerals, and monounsaturated fats. They have been shown promising in preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol, and killing cancer cells. Use the frozen pulp of acai in your smoothies to get the whole food without added ingredients. Pair it with cacao or other fruits and add a little natural sweetener to bring out the rich, fruity flavor of these berries.

For my in-depth article on acai, click here.

Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant, mostly known as a product for easing the pain of a sun burn, is a potent medicinal plant. The gel, which comes from the inside of the thick leaves, has been shown to have a number of powerful medical effects. These include slowing tumor growth, lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, preventing kidney stones, relieving muscle and joint pain, improving digestion, relieving constipation, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and hydrating with electrolytes. For your smoothies, you can buy aloe vera leaves at the grocery store. Cut back the outside of the leaves to get to the gel inside. You can add it to any smoothie without changing the taste.

Cacao

Cacao is the seed of the cacao tree, which grows in Central and South America. They are often called beans and are the flavor behind everything chocolate. Most chocolate products do not count as superfoods because the processing has eliminated much of the nutrition. If, however, you get raw cacao, you have a minimally processed food that is packed with nutrition. Raw cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that can improve your health in a number of ways. Cacao has been shown to increase blood flow, lower bad cholesterol levels while raising levels of the good type, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and improve brain function, vision, and mood. Add cacao to a smoothie, but do not expect it to be sweet. Raw cacao is bitter and needs a little natural sweetener.

For the full download on cacao, click here.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an ancient food from Central America and Mexico. The Aztecs cultivated the chia plant and the seeds were a staple of their diet, alongside maize. These small seeds are very high in fiber, which makes them good for weight loss and weight maintenance. They are also high in healthful omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Chia seeds also have a significant amount of protein, no cholesterol, and several important minerals. Add a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds to your smoothies and you will get many benefits. They can control your blood sugar levels, prevent blood clots, reduce high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve your digestion, and give you energy.

For my in-depth article on chia seeds, click here.

Coconut Oil

The health benefits of coconut oil come as a surprise to many. We have long been told to avoid saturated fats like the plague, but the experts were wrong about this one. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but in spite of that it has been proven to aid weight loss, lower LDL, or bad cholesterol and raise HDL levels, and even help to reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil has also been shown to have an antibiotic effect. In studies, it helped to treat pneumonia and to kill the bacteria that cause acne. You can store coconut oil much longer than other oils because it does not go rancid easily. Add a tablespoon to a fruity or chocolate smoothie and you will enjoy the subtle flavor of coconut as well as all these health benefits.

Click here for everything you could ever want to know about coconuts and coconut oil.

Goji Berries

Also known as wolfberries, these tasty red berries are an excellent choice for any fruit-based smoothie you concoct. They are native to Asia and have been used there for thousands of years. The people of China, India, and Nepal have long realized that these berries are special. They are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Goji berries are an excellent plant-based source of protein, and are perfect for vegetarians and vegans. They can help protect you from heart disease and improve your eye health. Goji berries have some interesting compounds not found in many other foods. A class of oils called sesquiterpinoids that is found in goji berries boost the production of human growth hormone, which produces anti-aging effects. Other components of the fruit can improve the functioning of your immune system and even help patients with serious autoimmune disorders. Goji berries taste great in any fruit-based smoothie.

For the complete download on goji berries, click here.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant, which is also the origin of marijuana. Plants that are used for hemp products contain little or none of the psychoactive compound THC. Hemp seeds contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for combating heart disease. They also contain so-called “super” fatty acids called gamma-linoleic acid and stearidonic acid. These fats are good for your skin, help to increase your metabolism, lower cholesterol in your bloodstream, and decrease inflammation. Hemp seeds are also high in protein and fiber. They have been shown to improve immune system functioning, improve brain health, and regulate blood sugar. With a mild, nutty flavor, you can add some to any smoothie.

For more on hemp seeds, click here.

Honey and Bee Pollen

Both honey and bee pollen, which is the mixture of pollen that bees collect from flowers and enzymes that they add, are both potent superfoods. Honey has strong antibacterial properties and contains antioxidants. In fact, honey can be applied to wounds to speed healing. Honey can also combat seasonal allergies if you use a product that is made in your area. When you have a cold, honey can ease coughing and the inflammation of a sore throat. Bee pollen is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It has been used to treat asthma, indigestion, anemia, acne, arthritis, and fatigue. Like honey, bee pollen may help with allergies. Both products are easy to add to smoothies, as they provide a natural sweetness that enhances any other flavor. Doctors recommend that you never give any amount of honey to an infant.

Maca

Maca is a root that grows in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The natives of the region have long recognized the health benefits of this root. Today you can buy it in pill, powder, or liquid form. The powder is a good choice for smoothies, and you can add a tablespoon or two to any recipe. One of the main reasons the native Peruvians used maca was to enhance virility. It is thought to improve energy and mood, lower stress, and to increase sexual function and fertility. In addition to these positive effects, maca is rich in protein and B vitamins, which makes it a great supplement for vegans and vegetarians. Maca also has vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous.

For my in-depth article on maca, click here.

Spirulina

Another superfood used by the Aztecs, spirulina is an ancient type of blue-green algae that grows in lakes around the world. The Aztecs learned to harvest it and use it as an important source of nutrition. It is high in protein, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta carotene, zinc, copper, iron, and trace minerals. Spirulina can relieve allergy symptoms because it blocks histamine production. It can also improve the functioning of your immune system and help bring relief to people suffering from autoimmune disorders. Spirulina also acts like a sponge for toxins and can remove heavy metals from the body. You can get powdered spirulina and add it to any smoothie. Try using it with ingredients that have strong flavors, as many people do not like the taste of the algae.

Click here for the skinny on spirulina.

Honorable Mentions

The top ten are the best of the best superfoods, but there are others worth exploring. Camu camu is a plant that comes from South America and has berries that are very high in vitamin C. It may help to reduce inflammation and battle oxidative stress in the body. It may also improve immune function, ease arthritis pain, and fight depression.

Flax seeds have long been recognized as a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and are therefore, an excellent way to reduce inflammation. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants. You do need to grind these seeds before you use them, or they will pass right through you.

Chlorella, like spirulina, is a species of blue-green algae that is harvested from lakes. It has high amounts of protein, B vitamins, vitamins C and E, iron, magnesium, and trace minerals. Like spirulina, it can detoxify your body by removing heavy metals.

Colostrum is the milk that mammals produce soon after giving birth. It provides newborns with important nutrients and antibodies. You can use colostrum from cows as a supplement, and it is thought to help with digestive problems, to improve exercise performance, and to prevent illnesses like the flu by stimulating your immune system. Check out my article on nature’s perfect food, colostrum.

I encourage you to explore the wonderful world of superfoods and all their amazing benefits by adding one (or more) to your next smoothie. Try them all out, but use just a little to start with to gauge your body’s reaction. If you like it, increase the amount you use. In no time, you will be feeling your best thanks to the power of superfoods.

Where to buy Superfoods?

Your local health food store should carry most, if not all of the aforementioned superfoods. If you prefer purchasing online, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs and Live Superfoods.

What do you think of my top 10 superfoods list? Which superfoods do you consume regularly? Please do tell in the comments below.

Sources for this blog post include:

http://www.oprah.com/health/Acai-Dr-Perricones-No-1-Superfood
http://www.naturalnews.com/021858_aloe_vera_gel.html
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/medicinal-uses-of-honey?page=3
http://www.naturalnews.com/027165_pollen_bee_health.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/030603_cacao_medicine.html
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA365093/Chia-for-Health.html
http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/
http://www.webmd.com/balance/goji-berries-health-benefits-and-side-effects
http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/7-top-health-benefits-of-maca/
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/923.html
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/Camu-Camu.htm
http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/flaxinfo.htm
http://www.naturalnews.com/036086_chlorella_superfood_algae.html
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/completeazindex/a/benefits_colostrum.htm

24 Responses to Top 10 Superfoods for the Healthiest Smoothies Ever!

  1. Monique #

    Hi Ryan! My question is, “Is is safe to add spirulina, chlorella, cacao, maca, bee pollen, flax seeds, barley, & colostrum to a smoothie? Those are all the add ins I have. I don’t know if it’s too much or can u give me an idea of how to get them all in before the day is up? I have lots of different frozen fruits. I just don’t want to over do it & cause a healing crisis to happen! Thx for ur smoothie guide also! I appreciate u.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Monique,

      Great question. If you’re brand new to superfood smoothies and these ingredients I recommend incorporating one at a time into your smoothies. For the ingredients you listed I would start with only one of spirulina, chlorella, or barely because they’re similar green powders and if anything those could cause a mild healing crisis by way of minor detox symptoms. Flax seeds, bee pollen, and colostrum are hard to over do it with. Start off with smaller amounts of cacao and maca and work your way up. Pay attention to your body and how you feel after incorporating larger amounts of and new ingredients.

      I personally consume smoothies with an array of superfoods everyday, which is where you’ll be after a couple of weeks. I’m excited for you :)

      Cheers,
      Ryan

  2. Ashley #

    Hello Ryan,

    I really enjoyed your top 10 super foods list. I have been doing my best to keep a healthy daily diet so that I can lose the extra stubborn baby weight I gained a year ago & to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I love my morning smoothies before work & would like to incorporate all the super foods that I can. I have most of those ingredients you mentioned with a few extra. At home I have Aloe Vera Juice (99.8% pure all natural), Coconut Oil, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds (white/brown mix I grind myself), Poppy Seeds, Pure Honey (Grade A), Ground Cinnamon, Banana’s, Blueberries, Frozen Strawberries, Avocado, Kale, Spinach, Lemons, Limes, Apple Cider Vinegar, Pineapple Juice (100%), Apple Juice (100%), Mango Juice (Kerns), Almond/Coconut Milk, Health Powder w/ Vitamins+Minerals (Vanilla Flavor), L-Glutamine Powder. How many of those items can I put into 1 smoothie?? I’d like to add as many as I can or learn how to spread them out throughout the day so I can have these super foods daily..

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Ashley,

      There’s really no limit to the number of superfoods and ingredients you add into one smoothie. However, once you get past about 12 you have to be careful not to throw the taste or texture and it can get expensive. Based on the ingredients you listed here’s a smoothie with multiple variations.

      1 cup apple juice (or mango or pineapple juice or almond/coconut milk)
      Juice of 1/2 lemon (or lime)
      1 serving aloe vera juice
      1/2 avocado (or 1 banana)
      1 cup kale (or spinach)
      1/2 cup frozen strawberries (or blueberries)
      1 tablespoon chia seeds (or 1 tablespoon flax or poppy seeds)
      1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
      1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
      1 serving health powder
      1 teaspoon honey to sweeten

      Changing up your smoothie with slight variations will keep things fresh and fun. You can always consume foods you don’t blend later in the day. Fruit is a great snack.

      Cheers,
      Ryan

      • Karen #

        Hi Ryan. What do you consider a serving of aloe vera juice? Thank you.

        • Ryan Carmody #

          Around a tablespoon or the recommended dose of a particular product.

  3. cathy #

    Ryan,

    I have a few questions,,
    1. Do you have to worry about the amount of calories that are in your smoothie. For example, if I add all of the super foods above will my smoothie be 700 or 800 calories.I have seen alot of smoothies that are in fact over 1,000 calories and my friends are calling it healthy.

    2. When i add all of these ingredients i end up with a pitcher of smoothies rather than a glass, does it matter. Should we be limiting the amount that you are consuming in one sitting or as long as its healthy keep drinking. I have not had any luck with saving it for the next day, and assume it looses a lot of its healthy components.

    3. Last question , is there a certain amount to put in each smoothie. For example, you always use 2 tbsp of protein powder, or 1tsp of aloe Vera, 1 tbsp of honey..ect… this is where i think the calories can add up if you are not paying attention to the measurements of each specific item.

    Thanks for opening this up for discussion.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Cathy,

      1) Yes, you should be concerned about the amount of calories in your smoothie. The amount should be adjusted based on your age, weight, activity level, and health goals. All of the recipes on my site have nutritional info including calorie count. I don’t think any exceed 1,000. The only caloric dense superfood above is coconut oil.

      2) While you can, all of the 10 ingredients above are not meant to be used in one smoothies. Typically, you use 2-4. Adjust the amount of each ingredient to produce one glass or whatever your serving size is.

      3) Each recipe on my site includes a measurement of how much of each ingredient to include. You’re free to adjust based on your needs though. If unsure, use the recommended amount for protein powder, enough honey to sweeten to your liking, etc.

      Cheers,
      Ryan

  4. I agree on all these superfoods you listed! One I have added this past year is moringa leaf powder (or moringa in other forms but oowder best for adding to smoothies).

    • Ryan Carmody #

      I’ll have to add moringa to the honorable mentions. I just had a friend ask me about moringa two days ago. I told him it’s something I’ve used in the past and a nice green superfood powder for smoothies.

  5. elizabeth adorno #

    Good Morning Ryan,
    I have a question, what simple smoothies can I make in the morning to give me great energy and to jump start my metabolism.
    Im 46 and need a good natural boost…. Im feeling low energy most of the time….
    Any quick and easy suggestions??

    Elizabeth

  6. Ayna #

    Hello Ryan,

    Thank you very much for the great info,

    I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a month ago and I’ve decided to try Paleo diet for 90 days and I start my day with a cup of green smoothie so I was wondering if it’s safe To add spirulina powder, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds and bee pollen together?

    Thank you very much!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Ayna,

      Under normal circumstances, yes, it’s safe to use all of those ingredients together in a smoothie. However, if these ingredients are new to you, then I’d start by adding one at a time. I typically only use either chia or flax seeds and not both in my smoothies. The other more important caveat here is your MS diagnosis. I’m not a medical professional and can’t speak to consuming any of these given your condition.

      Regards,
      Ryan

  7. valerie #

    is it ok to use a nutri bullet or does it have to be a juicer Ryan

    • Ryan Carmody #

      A nutribullet will work for any smoothie recipe on my site, Valerie.

  8. One of the best antioxidants is the Mangosteen Fruit. Nutrients called Xanthones are most prevalent in the mangosteen These Xanthones strengthen the cell walls, help fight against loose radicals and prevent infections from taking place. This process in turn enhances the immune system of the body and aids the metabolic activity. Xanthones may also help people maintain flexible joints and keep lungs healthy. The same anti-inflammatory benefits also contribute to reducing the problems associated with allergies. With Mangosteen Fruit Powder you get a concentrated amount without all the work of processing fresh fruit yourself and it’s great in smoothies. See royaltropics.com.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Thanks for information on Mangosteen. I tried the powder several years back and really liked it.

  9. Alan #

    What about Carambola, is that good for smoothies?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      I’ve never had Carambola, but yes, it looks like a good option if you can procure.

  10. Rob Ellis #

    Hi I’ve I’ve just been introduced to superfood powders is it ok to combine them all currently I have 50 % leafy greens around 2 cups of fruit, 1 type of nut, then I use a teaspoon of Maca, cacao,acai,spirulina,and wheat grass then finally top of with water does this recipe sound ok I sometimes worry that to many powders might be bad for me,just wanted some advice to see if this is ok thanks rob

    • Ryan Carmody #

      From personal experience and from what I’ve read you can’t go wrong combining a host of various superfood powders, Rob. Your wallet might think otherwise :) As long as your smoothies taste good and are palatable you’re fine. That said, I recommend cycling superfoods (roughly 2-3 weeks on and 1 week off) to increase efficacy and save a little money.

  11. Donnie #

    Great info Ryan. Need some advice please. I normally have a smoothie most mornings. I was wondering if i am cancelling any benefits from the superfoods i am using in it . Can you advise please.

    Coconut and almond milk
    Spinach
    Blueberries
    Banana
    Chia seeds
    Hemp seeds
    Bee pollen
    Dates
    Water

    Thanks

    • Ryan Carmody #

      The ingredients for you smoothie look great, Donnie! The only recommendation is to incorporate a healthy fat such as coconut oil, ghee, or avocado.

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