Smoothies are a great way to increase your consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. Over the past 10 years of perfecting smoothies, I have found that certain fruits work better in smoothies than others, and that including high-antioxidant rich fruits into your smoothie will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Read on to discover 10 of the best fruit additions for smoothies (of all time!).
Cherries are a popular summer fruit and should be eaten while they are in season. They are very high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help lower your risk of developing heart disease and cancer. They also help promote healthy skin and brain cells. Cherries are also great anti-inflammatory fruits, and have been shown to act just as effectively as the painkiller ibuprofen. Make sure you choose deep, dark, red cherries (not light coloured – those are un-ripe), and be sure to pit the cherries before you blend.
Bananas are an amazing power food! They help individuals overcome depression because of their high levels of tryptophan (which is converted into serotonin in the brain; the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter). They protect against muscle cramps during workouts and counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones. They also improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms and help individuals lose weight via their fat-metabolizing resistant starch. Make sure to include ripe, spotty bananas in your smoothies as these are the kind that will help you gain these awesome benefits!
Berries are one of the best foods to include in your smoothies, especially because they are the fruits with the highest levels of antioxidants. Berries help lower your risk of certain cancers, and improve memory function and urinary tract health, as well as promote healthy aging. Berries are also very high in fiber which helps to maintain a healthy GI tract, lower blood cholesterol and reduce heart disease. Another compound in berries called “ellagic acid” is a potent anti-carcinogen, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. I would recommend putting around 1-2 cups of berries per smoothie (make sure you buy organic berries! Conventional berries are one of the highest sprayed fruits out there!)
Peaches & Nectarines
Peaches and nectarines are both very high in beta carotene which is essential for eye health (helps improve vision health by increasing circulation of blood in the eyes, and other body parts). Vitamin C content in these two fruits are also wonderful for skin care and reducing dark circles under the eyes and fine lines and wrinkles. Peaches and nectarines are great toxin cleansers as well, and their high fiber and potassium content reduces kidney related diseases and reduces risk of developing ulcers. Add 1 or 2 peaches or nectarines to your next smoothie – be sure to remove the pit!
Antioxidant compounds in mango have been found to protect against a variety of cancers like colon, break, leukemia, and prostate. Mangos are high in fiber, pectin, and vitamin C too, which helps lower serum cholesterol levels and helps clear the skin. Adding a cup or two of mango to your smoothie will ensure your body benefits from the mango’s amazing properties.
Who doesn’t love pineapple? Make sure you choose ripe pineapple (the green leaves on top start to turn brown when it is just about ready), otherwise, you will have battery-acid mouth for the rest of the day! Did you know that pineapples are incredibly high in vitamin C, so they help boost the immune system and keep our gums healthy. Pineapples are also high in manganese, which is a trace mineral needed by your body to help build bones and connective tissues. They also lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and the bromelain in pineapple helps alleviate inflammatory-related diseases like arthritis!
Oranges are a definite power food! They literally dissolve the mucus in your body and get rid of nasty blockages that may be causing a variety of underlying bodily issues. Oranges are rich in limonoids which help fight a number of cancers including skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. They also help reduce the risk of kidney stones and help lower cholesterol because of the high content of soluble fiber. Not only that, but this fruit is very high in potassium, an electrolyte mineral required for proper heart and nerve function. Last but not least, we all know the orange is high in vitamin C, which keeps our immune system strong and healthy! Juice a couple oranges for your next smoothie instead of buying pasturized orange juice which is very low in bioavailable nutrients.
Papaya is a great fruit for improving skin health and fighting against acne and skin infections. It is very rich in fiber which helps lower cholesterol levels and contains enzymes which prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (in turn, helping to prevent heart attacks). The enzymes in papaya are also wonderful for relieving constipation and diarrhea, and helps to cure infections of the colon. The seeds are great for ridding the body of intestinal worms too! Put 1-2 cups of ripe papaya in your next smoothie!
Grapes contain resveratrol which helps assist with weight loss by 1) reducing the cells’ ability to store fat; and 2) causing the fat to disintegrate 246% higher than normal! Resveratrol also improves blood vessel dilation, allowing blood to flow more easily through blood vessels. Grapes also protect the brain, thanks to resveratrol which cleans up brain-damaging plaques and free radicals (both of which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease). I sometimes like making an all-grape smoothie, with 1-2lbs of grapes in a blender, pulse blended for 30 seconds and you are good to go!
Finally, the kiwi is a great fruit to add to your smoothies! They contain a protein-dissolving enzyme which helps digest meals more efficiently and have high levels of potassium which helps manage our blood pressure. Kiwis have been found to protect the cell DNA from oxidative damage (something that leads to many cancers), and the high vitamin C content boosts your immunity. The fiber on kiwis are great for removing toxins from your intestinal tract too! Putting a couple ripe kiwis in your smoothie will allow you to reap these awesome benefits!