Smoothies have become a ubiquitous association with healthy eating. While it’s true that smoothies can be good for you, they can also be laden with hidden sugars and lack nutrients. Luckily, there is no shortage of nutritious foods that can make a great-tasting antioxidant smoothie!
To help us in our quest for nutritious foods, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) devised a unit of measurement called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). The ORAC value of foods gives an idea of how helpful they can be in protecting against free radicals and oxidative damage. This kind of damage to cells is thought to contribute in large part of a variety of age-related diseases and conditions.
Plant-Based Foods and Antioxidants
One benefit of including more plant foods in your diet is that these foods contain many more antioxidants than animal-derived foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, pulses, spices, herbs, and grains contain a wide variety of compounds that help protect the plants from pests and other sources of damage. In many cases, these same compounds, which include phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, can also benefit human health.
How to Make an Antioxidant Smoothie
A great way to pack in nutrients is to make a daily smoothie with high ORAC value foods. Wondering where to start? Below you’ll find 10 of the best smoothie ingredients, along with their ORAC values:
- Indian Gooseberry (Amla Berries), Dried – 261500
- Peppermint Leaves, Dried – 160820
- Baobab Fruit Powder, Dried – 140000
- Cinnamon Spice, Ground – 131420
- Turmeric Spice, Ground – 127068
- Vanilla Bean Spice, Dried – 122400
- Acai Berry Pulp/Skin/Puree Powder – 102700
- Rose Hips – 96150
- Nutmeg Spice, Ground – 69640
- Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened – 55653
- Ginger Spice, Ground – 39041
As you’ll see from the list above, many of the best sources are herbs and spices. While these are great ingredients, you can’t use spices alone to make a great-tasting smoothie. So, consider adding in some of the following foods when devising a nutritious smoothie:
- Black Raspberries, Raw – 19220
- Pecans, Nuts – 17940
- Ginger Root, Raw – 14840
- Elderberries, Raw – 14697
- Black Chia Seeds, Raw – 9800
- Wild Blueberries, Raw – 9621
- Red Delicious Apples with Skin, Raw – 4275
- Goji Berry (Wolfberries), Raw – 3290
- Black cherry juice – 2370
- Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur, Tuscan, Black Kale), Cooked – 1773
- Green Kale, Raw – 1770
- Green Tea, Brewed – 1253
Smoothie Combinations You’ll Love
If you’re new to smoothie-making, you might be looking at the above foods with bewilderment. How can you combine the ingredients to make a smoothie that tastes good? Don’t worry! The following three combinations make delicious and nutritious smoothies:
- Crisp summer smoothie – Apple, ground cinnamon, raw ginger, and green tea
- Candy cane smoothie – cocoa powder, peppermint leaves, and kale (stems removed) with almond milk
- Winter warmer – raw ginger, ground turmeric, and black cherry juice
- Pecan pie smoothie – ground nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, raw ginger, pecans, and apple juice.
Once you’ve chosen your flavour combinations, add your ingredients to a high-powered blender (recommended if using nuts and seeds) and blend until smooth. For a refreshing summer smoothie, add ice and blend again before serving. If the smoothie is too thick, add around a cup of water or extra non-dairy milk or juice.
Also, it’s a great idea to add in a scoop of plant-based protein powder when making a smoothie. This can help balance nutrient intake and slow down the digestion of the natural sugars in fruits and fruit juices. Be sure to add a little extra liquid along with the protein, to help prevent the smoothie from being too thick.
To help provide antioxidant protection against oxidative stress, Webber Naturals has a wide array of nutrients available, such as: