One of my favorite ways to easily get the nutrients needed to squelch inflammation and naturally balance hormones is by incorporating smoothies.
They’re also just one of my favorite summer nutrition staples (although, let’s be honest, I could down a smoothie any time of year!)
Smoothies can be very nutrient-dense and satisfying when done well, but on the flip side of that, it’s very easy to get them wrong as well.
So let’s talk about some reasons to love smoothies, especially when it comes to balancing hormones and halting inflammation, as well as my tips on how you can craft the perfect smoothie with those two goals in mind.
For starters, here are the top 5 reasons I love smoothies for everything from natural hormone balance to healing inflammation:
1. They’re a Fast Meal Option:
A smoothie can be ready in 5 minutes flat! With time being an issue for many of us in this fast-paced world, this is a huge benefit. No need to sacrifice your health and wellness because you’re short on time when you’ve got the perfect quick meal to keep you on track and feeling your best!
2. They’re an Easy Way to Sneak in More Fruits & Veggies:
According to the CDC, over 80% of American adults don’t get the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies daily! This means most of the population is lacking in fiber and the beneficial micronutrients that only fruits and veggies provide to us as well as our friendly gut bacteria. Smoothies are a way to get closer to that daily recommendation with very little effort.
3. They’re Versatile:
The combinations are endless when it comes to making smoothies, which also makes them easily adaptable to different palates, hard to get bored with and a great way to add more nutrient variety to your diet.
4. They’re Great for Detoxification:
When done right, smoothies provide gentle, everyday detoxing because of the fiber, enzymes and antioxidants that they contain. This is extremely important especially when it comes to caring for and optimizing the delicate endocrine system.
5. They’re Filling:
Smoothies are packed with fiber and micronutrients that can keep you full and satisfied for hours. This can help minimize things like cravings, mid-day low energy, bloating and brain fog (all of which are rooted in inflammation and hormone imbalance)!
Now that we’ve covered a few benefits to including smoothies in your meal rotation – here are 5 things to keep in mind when crafting your perfect smoothie:
1. Always Use Whole Food Ingredients:
Not using quality whole food ingredients is a big mistake many people make and one that turns many smoothies into glorified adult milkshakes! Be sure that you are using unprocessed whole foods in your smoothie and/or products with clean ingredients – otherwise you’re risking contributing to hormone imbalance and inflammation instead of optimizing and healing – no, thank you!
2. Include All 3 Macronutrients:
Healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – each should be represented in your smoothie. Doing this will increase the amount and variety of nutrients in your smoothie and will help you stay satisfied.
3. Skip the Juice:
Pure fruit and vegetable juices are nice to have on occasion, but be aware that although they’re made from whole foods, the juices themselves are not “whole” by definition. This is because much of the beneficial nutrients have been removed leaving just the sugar. So skip the juice when crafting your smoothies and stick to whole foods so that you can reap the full benefits that the plants you’re including have to offer.
4. Spice Things Up:
Spices are nature’s best kept secret. Not only do they add robust flavors to your meals, they’re also micronutrient powerhouses. Many spices aid in digestion and blood sugar regulation and offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits! So be sure to include a few in your next smoothie.
5. Include Herbs, Seeds & Superfoods:
Smoothies are the perfect place to add in some herbs, seeds, and superfoods which are loaded with benefits as well. One of the reasons why smoothies are the perfect place for these whole foods is that many beneficial processes occur when plants are chopped or cut and eaten raw. For example, one of the biggest benefits to eating crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.; I consider these to be “superfoods”) is their ability to provide the body with the powerful plant compound, sulforaphane, which is shown to have anticancer, antidiabetic, and anti-aging properties. But here’s the kicker – the process by which sulforaphane is made within these plants is heat-sensitive and only occurs after the plant has been chopped or cut (or blended like in a smoothie!). Which is why these plants are best eaten cut and raw. Many people don’t like the taste of these raw veggies though so disguising their flavor in a smoothie gives you the best of both worlds – deliciousness and nutrients! Another example is with seeds. Flaxseeds, for example, have anticancer properties and have been shown in clinical studies to help manage cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and aid in digestion. Here’s the kicker though – in order to reap the benefits of the seeds, they need to be ground (like in a smoothie!) otherwise much of the seeds will pass straight through the digestive tract fully intact without the production and release of the powerful compounds they offer. This is why it’s better to buy milled/ground seeds OR just blend them up in your favorite smoothie or smoothie bowl recipe.
Whether you use smoothies as a meal replacement or you take them in addition to your meals, they’re a great way to get that much closer to your health and body goals.
I hope these tips help you knock your next smoothie out of the park.
Try a few of my favorite smoothie recipes and whole food meals when you order your Dream Body Recipe Book bundle!