The smoothie revolution is not a simply a flight of fancy – it’s a health trend that’s here to stay, for very good, very tasty reasons too. You cannot deny the convenience of whipping up a nutrient dense liquid meal that allows you to get a load of essential nutrients in one glass, with complete control over the ingredients.
Whether you are looking to improve your nutrition and health in general, lose weight, build muscle, detox, boost your immune system or just get your kids to consume some greens – smoothies are an awesome answer to your health needs.
Our ultimate guide to creating the perfect smoothie for any occasion, this smoothie building 101 is sure to be useful for rookies and the smoothie elite alike.
The Basics – Building blocks to crafting master smoothies
Smoothies are great for upping your health and can be geared towards aiding your health in whichever way you need. For instance, if you are vegan and need to make sure you have enough protein in your diet, smoothies give you a wonderful way to add natural protein powders to you diet. Or if you are fighting cancer and are trying to up your game with super nutrition from beneficial foods, a smoothie can hold much more goodness in the form of a convenient and delicious drink than trying to cram all the varied beneficial foods into your daily diet.
So depending on what your reasons are for devouring smoothies regularly, you are going to need some building blocks for creating your own unique and personalised recipes – let’s go over your options for building the best smoothie from the bottom up.
- All About the Base
First things first – you’ve got to choose a liquid base that ensures peak sip-ability and the best texture, while setting the tone for your recipe’s flavours. Both water and milk or milk alternatives are great staples, but don’t feel limited to those – coconut water, aloe water , your home brewed kombucha and even fruit juice are useful and contain their own unique health benefits that could be just what your diet needs.
Usually 1 to 2 cups of liquid will be sufficient, depending on the liquid content of your other ingredients.
Blending tip: It’s important to add the liquid to your blender before adding the solid ingredients as this will prevent the blade from getting damaged.
- Got the Goods
The bulk of your smoothie should be fresh produce, and choosing your fruits and veggies wisely is important for taste and texture. A firm favourite is banana, for its creamy texture and sweet, understated taste that is really easy to use as a base flavour for almost anything. Green smoothies are also super popular; giving you great doses of leafy goodness in one go. A nice rule is to use one fruit and one veg in your creations to get the most nutrients from both sides and not too much sugar. Fruit also adds natural sweetness, so you probably don’t have to sweeten smoothies when they already contain fructose full apples.
- Consistency is Key
Keep your smoothie creamy and smooth by adding some binding ingredients to the mix – think nut butters, yoghurt, even avocado, tofu and beans can help you reach optimal consistency and again add their own health giving benefits. Chia seeds are a wonderful addition if soaked before use, as they become almost gelatinous and their superfood status packs some powerful nutrition too.
Did you know? Sweet potato makes an awesome smoothie ingredient!
- Boosted Beautifully
Last but certainly not least, add your best health boosting ingredients like a scoop of protein powder or a spoonful of honey. This would be the time to add any supplements like specific vitamins or omega rich oils that are the perfect finishing touch to your health boosting recipe.
Smoothies for Your Health
We are what we eat – so it’s no wonder that we can heal our bodies by giving them a better nutritional foundation to fight disease. There are so many superfoods and natural ingredients that have specific health benefits to aid different bodily functions, and many of these have powerful healing abilities on specific health issues. Let’s take a brief look at some of the biggest health issues facing us today and how something as simple as a morning smoothie can seriously help your body fight them.
Whip up a quick smoothie to beat health issues like…
- High Blood Pressure
One of the most prevalent ailments in modern life, affecting 1 in every 5 South Africans, it strains blood vessels and your heart, putting you at higher risk of cardiac disease, heart attack or stroke. There are three key nutrients that can aid lowering your blood pressure levels: Potassium, Magnesium, and Fibre. It is also key to keep sodium to a minimum.
Read our full article on how smoothies can help you to keep your blood pressure in check.
Due to more people living a more sedentary lifestyle and following a poor diet high in processed, sugary foods, the prevalence of Diabetes throughout Africa and the world is steadily rising. Diet plays a huge role in this disease, so it is good to know your diet can be helpful in coping with and even preventing full blown diabetes.
Check out or full article on beating diabetes with some simple smoothie recipes.
- Colds & Flu
Those annoying sniffles are easily remedied with some tasty, fresh fruits that will boost your immune system and get rid of viruses fast. Look beyond the normal citrus fruits and you will find some pretty impressive vitamin C ratios in superfoods like baobab and moringa powders that are super easy to add to any smoothie recipe.
Have a look at our full article on smoothie recipes to help with colds, flu and seasonal sniffles.
Did you Know? Baobab powder contains more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas!
- Weight Loss
Your diet is natural a major factor in weight loss, and there are some super star ingredients from nature that can help you on your journey to a healthy, fit body. Smoothies allow you to get a load of essential nutrients in one glass, without any extra empty calories. By choosing the right ingredients, you can create smoothie blends that provide you with a good balance of nutrients while being tasty and satisfying.
Read our full article on smoothies that aid weight loss.
Smoothies by Season
Different times call for different measures when it comes to fresh, whole food smoothies. Smoothies are a wonderful addition to your detox endeavours, and by replacing just one meal a day with a wholefood cleansing smoothie you can help your body rid itself of toxin build up and get your system wonderfully balanced.
Browse our selection of delicious detoxing smoothie recipes.
- Immune Boosting
A healthier, tastier way to keep winter bugs at bay are smoothie recipes packed with fruit, veggies and organic spices that will help you heal, and keep you strong all through the winter months.
Fitness fanatics often become more health conscious, and meal replacement shakes for pre and post workout are key to many successful training regimens. Natural and organic food has everything these offer and so much more, with super smoothies making optimum nutrition easily attainable for those bulking up or building lean muscle and even just stamina for training.
Vegans in particular will love our collection of super strong protein powders in this article.
Smoothie Tips for Sipping Success
- Honing your smoothie technique
Once you have the basics down of how to tailor make the ultimate smoothie for your health with the best ingredients, and how to layer them in the blender and why, it’s time to just have fun with it and truly perfect your art of smoothie making.
When you realise that you can do almost anything you want with a smoothie, you start seeking to discover other awesome smoothie secrets that can take your creations from a healthy drink to a well oiled health supplement machine – read our Top Ten Smoothie Secrets to get all the best tips with some ingredient inspiration and cool ideas like smoothie soup.
- The Best of the Blend
If smoothie making has stolen your heart, you might be looking to invest in equipment that will keep you in the mix for many years to come. With so many options available, from the NutriBullet to the Vitamix, it might feel a little overwhelming deciding which will change your life for the better. Not to worry though, as we explore the topic of the best blenders in this article.