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I put together this A – Z of the best smoothie ingredients as a handy shopping list. How many times do you go to your fridge, fruit bowl, or cupboard only to find the right ingredient isn’t there?
I’ve found the best way to avoid ‘smoothie disappointment’ is to stock up and shop in advance. That way, you always have enough basics in your pantry and freezer to hand, so you can whizz up a healthy and delicious smoothie without fuss.
Your fruit and veg can be prepared in advance and popped into your freezer. Likewise, nut milk keeps well in your fridge and superfood powders, spices, herbs, and nut butter are easy to store in a cool, dark cupboard.
Once you start to become savvy with superfood powders you’ll find yourself throwing them into everything you make! They’re so versatile – you just have to find one you that you like the taste of!
Here is my go-to smoothie shopping list and store cupboard list to keep you healthy and organised.
A – Z Best Smoothie Ingredients List
A – Almond Butter
Almond butter and other nut butters such as peanut and cashew butter are such an easy and delicious way to add protein to your smoothies. Almond butter is rich in monounsaturated fats which help to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels.
Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. Great blended with other ‘creamy’ ingredients such as bananas, vanilla, oats, and coconut.
B – Banana
Bananas are one of my absolute favourite ingredients for smoothie making. Not only are they high in fibre and nutrient-rich, but they also create the perfect creamy, non-dairy base. Ideal for vegans.
They also naturally ‘sweeten’ smoothies, especially when you’re using green vegetables such as kale or celery which can be a little bitter. Bananas are also an excellent source of energy-providing carbohydrates and potassium. They also help to restore your body’s electrolyte balance after a run or workout.
Tip – Freeze banana slices in sealable freezer bags to add to your smoothies.
C – Cacao Powder
Cacao powder comes from the pods of the South American Theobroma Cacao tree. Highly-prized by the Mayans and Aztecs, cacao has over 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Pretty impressive, eh?
Cacao powder also has over 300 beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients, so it has earned its status as a superfood. High in magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, beta-carotene, and omega 6 fatty acids. Cacao also contains anandamide, a natural euphoric compound which acts as a mood booster, and tryptophan, a natural antidepressant.
Add a tablespoon to your daily smoothie.
A – Z best smoothie ingredients list
D – Dates
Dates are a great way to add natural sweetness to smoothies. High in fibre, dates also contain a variety of protective antioxidants and polyphenols, similar to those in green tea. Dates have a low glycemic impact (GI), so they’re beneficial for anyone with type-2 diabetes. On top of that, their high magnesium content can also help to reduce blood pressure.
One date contains over two milligrams of choline, a B vitamin which is a component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter linked to improved memory. Dates are also an excellent source of potassium beneficial for reducing the risk of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.
E – Eggplant
Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are high in dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6, potassium, copper, magnesium, and manganese. Rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin found in the skin of the eggplants, they are also beneficial for maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Tip – For a super-creamy smoothie, blend eggplant with bananas, almond milk, and a couple of dates for extra sweetness.
F – Fennel
Fennel is rich in fibre and has been shown to reduce inflammation, heart disease, and digestive disorders. Fennel also contains potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair.
A rich source of selenium, fennel is immune-protective – great in winter smoothies to help bolster protect against colds and ‘flu.
Fennel also contains choline, a nutrient linked to fat absorption and to memory, sleep and muscle movement.
Tip – Fennel’s aniseed flavour works well with apple, lemon, mint and cucumber.
G – Garlic
Garlic in a smoothie? Seriously! I know it isn’t an ingredient that normally springs to mind when you’re thinking of what to add to your smoothie! But blended with apple, pear, cucumber, spinach, and mint, and you’ve got a supercharged immune booster!
Allicin, the key ingredient in garlic, can help lower blood pressure. Prized by the ancient Egyptians for its medicinal powers, it has been used for centuries as a natural antiseptic.
So don’t forget to add garlic to your smoothie shopping list.
H – Himalayan Salt
Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals including iron oxide, which is responsible for giving the salt its rosy tint. As well as being a flavour enhancer, it helps to balance sweet and sour flavours.
Perfect in green smoothies with ingredients such as celery, kale, cucumber, avocado, fennel, and eggplant, or aubergine. It also has therapeutic benefits including helping to regulate the body’s water content, improving nutrient absorption, and strengthening bone density.
A pinch or two of salt is usually all that you need to adds some flavour to a green smoothie.
I – Italian Herbs
Italian herbs, such as basil and oregano, are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great way to add some ‘zing’ to green and vegetable-based smoothies.
Basil is rich in vitamin K, which is beneficial for a healthy heart, while vitamin A, prevents oxidation of cholesterol in the blood. It is also a good source of manganese, copper, and magnesium, which helps blood flow.
Oregano contains over 80 nutrients and has an array of health benefits. Like thyme, Oregano contains thymol, which is antimicrobial, helping to fight bacterial infections. And it has 42 times more antioxidants than an apple – one of the highest natural sources of antioxidants.
J – Jackfruit
Jackfruit is a firm favourite in Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, but it’s now more widely available in the UK at oriental supermarkets. Not only does it smell deliciously tropical, but it also tastes good too – a little bit pineapple, a little bit banana.
An excellent source of complex carbohydrates, these generously-sized fruits can weigh up to 25kg! Jackfruit contains vitamin C and A, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, sodium, and folic acid.
It also boasts phytonutrient properties which are thought to help reduce blood pressure and protect against inflammation, as well as being antibacterial and antiviral.
Like papaya and mango, jackfruit contains enzymes which help to improve digestion.
Tip – it’s easier to find jackfruit in a can – purchase some here.
K – Kale
Kale is one of the most nutrient-rich foods, and like other leafy greens – spinach, cavola nero, and chard – it is power-packed with potent antioxidants including Quercetin and Kaempferol, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Raw kale also contains large quantities of chlorophyll, manganese, calcium, and B-vitamins. Obviously making it one of the best all-round nutrient powerhouses – and the perfect pick for green smoothies.
Tip – I keep a bag in the freezer as it’s so easy to use from frozen.
L – Lucuma Powder
Lucuma powder may not be something you have in your larder yet, but trust me, it’s definitely one to stock up on!
Derived from the naturally sweet and deliciously caramel-flavoured Peruvian Lucuma fruit, the powder with a low GI, it is the ideal alternative to sugar and can be used by diabetics.
Prized in South America for its energy-boosting properties and known as the ‘Gold of the Incas’ in Peru, Lucuma is high in potassium, iron, and zinc, along with calcium.
Purchase Lucuma powder here.
M – Maca Powder
Maca powder comes from the root of the Peruvian Maca plant, a cruciferous vegetable from the same family as cabbage, broccoli, and kale. With a delicious, nutty flavour, Maca powder is the perfect addition to smoothies made with ingredients like almond or coconut milk, banana, and chia seeds.
Like the rest of the roots in the cruciferous family, Maca is low in calories and one teaspoon powder has just 10 calories.
In Peru, maca is used to boost energy, increase fertility and to increase libido.
Studies have also shown that maca may help to balance estrogen levels in perimenopausal women, and to alleviate post-menopausal hot flushes and night sweats.
Purchase maca here.
N – Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast comes from a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and although it’s related to Brewer’s yeast it has different nutritional properties.
Suitable for vegans and is gluten-free, it is a rich source of B vitamins, zinc and protein. With a salty, nutty flavour, Nutritional yeast is great sprinkled onto salads and used in dressing.
Tip – Great with peanut butter, almond milk, banana, chocolate protein powder and turmeric for a post-workout treat, or as a healthy but delicious alternative to dessert.
O – Oats
Oats (Avena sativa) are not only perfect for creating creamy smoothies, but they also add a nutritional boost and are an excellent source of soluble fibre.
Rich in avenanthramides – potent antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties – oats also help to lower blood pressure and are known to be protective known against heart disease.
The fibre found in oats helps to slow down digestion and help to keep blood sugar levels stable. An oat smoothie will make you feel fuller for longer, in the same way that a bowl of oat porridge is filling.
Tip – Team oats with bananas, peanut butter, and a pinch of warming cinnamon spice for a comforting morning smoothie – perfect in the winter months.
P – Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients, so they really are the perfect store cupboard must-have. Delicious toasted lightly with a sprinkling of Himalayan salt and tossed into a salad, or added to your smoothies to boost your intake of dietary fibre, protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3.
They also contain iron, selenium, calcium, B vitamins, and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.
Pumpkin seeds are also very high in magnesium which plays a key role in our metabolic function and in promoting sleep.
Try this delicious Abel and Cole Pumpkin Seed, Coconut and Banana Smoothie recipe.
Q – Quince Pears
Quince pears may not be top of your shopping list when it comes to fruit, but they should be! Why? For starters, they are high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and C and minerals, such as potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Quinces also contain tannins, including catechin and epicatechin, naturally occurring compounds called polyphenols. These have been shown to improve digestion, boost brain function, and to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Quinces blend well with bananas and berries and are best in creamy, yoghurt or nut milk-based smoothies.
R – Radishes
Radishes aren’t just great for perking up salads, they are the perfect addition to smoothies. Radishes are an excellent source of vitamins C and B, phosphorus, folic acid, and anthocyanins, proven to be protective again many types of cancer.
They can be added to green smoothies to give them a ‘kick’ but are equally delicious blended with berries and bananas.
S – Spinach
Spinach is always a staple on my shopping list – and you’ll always find it in the cooler box in my fridge. Not only is it super-rich in calcium, vitamins A and C, fibre and folic acid, it also helps to lower damaging protein levels in the blood, helping to protect again high blood pressure and heart disease.
If you’re using spinach in Green Smoothies, start with smaller quantities, as, I won’t lie, it can be bitter!
See my post on Green Smoothie Challenge for tips on making green smoothies, along with a couple of delicious recipes that include spinach.
T – Turmeric
Turmeric really is one of my top superfoods and it’s a spice I use in pretty much everything! Part of the ginger family, this brightly coloured spice is a favourite ingredient in Indian and Asian cooking.
Available as a spice or as a root that can be grated, very like ginger. Turmeric has become a must-have for women going through the menopause. The reason? It is one of the best sources of plant-based oestrogen.
For more on this super-spice, see my post on 8 ways turmeric can helping during the menopause.
And if that’s not enough to get you reaching for the turmeric, it’s also a natural antioxidant and has potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Try a turmeric smoothie with freshly-grated ginger, frozen banana, mango, almond milk, carrot and orange juice. Delicious!
There are some really good turmeric smoothie recipes here.
U – Ugli Fruit
Ugli fruit may not be the prettiest member of the citrus fruit family, but it is super-nutritious. Rich in vitamin C, Ugli fruit also contains potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants called flavonoids.
Perfect for creating smoothies with a tropical, tangy taste, Ugli fruit blend well with bananas, strawberries, mango, papaya, and other citrus fruit such as oranges and limes.
V – Vanilla Pod
Vanilla pod or extract is well worth stocking up on as it’s such a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It’s not just delicious, it’s also nutritious!
Packed with protective antioxidants, vanilla also has antibacterial properties which can help to boost your immune system.
And vanilla is proven to reduce anxiety, making it the ideal ingredient for a de-stressing smoothie.
The creamy flavour of vanilla helps to counteract and ‘soften’ the bitter flavour of kale or spinach, if you are making a green smoothie, or to enhance the flavour of smoothies made with creamy ingredients such as banana, nut milk, coconut and oats.
Smoothie Ingredients List
W – Watermelon
Watermelon is perfect for more refreshing, less creamy smoothies, especially in summer, as they contain 92 % water. High in vitamins C, B6, and C, along with antioxidants and amino acids.
Watermelon is also a rich source of Lycopene, a phytonutrient (and the compound which gives watermelon, grapefruit, and tomatoes their red colour) linked to improved heart health and a reduced risk of cancer.
Watermelon works well in green smoothies – try it with fennel, lemon juice, parsley, and Himalayan salt.
For something fruitier;
Use 2 cups of frozen watermelon chunks with a few leaves of fresh basil or mint leaves, a teaspoon or two of honey (or your preferred natural sweetener), and blend!
X – Xi Yang Shen
Xi Yang Shen or American Ginseng Root originates in Korea and China where it is renowned for its energising, fatigue-busting properties. Although Xi Yang Shen ginseng is not easy to find in the UK, its relative, Korean, or Panax Ginseng has similar therapeutic benefits and can easily be found in powder form.
Ginseng boasts a variety of health benefits from stabilising blood sugar levels to fighting inflammation, thanks to the natural steroids, such as panaxtrinol, that are found in the root.
Ginseng powder blends well with other root-derived spices such as turmeric and ginger, teamed with bananas, coconut milk, and banana.
You can purchase some here.
Y – Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a popular South American herb that is brewed like tea. The national drink of Argentina where it is known as the ‘tea of the gods’, Yerba Mate is the ideal alternative to coffee.
Jam-packed with seven essential amino acids, it is also a super-rich source of minerals and vitamins, protective polyphenols, and energy-boosting xanthines.
Add this nutty and slightly chocolatey herb to smoothies by brewing it like a tea, and allowing it to cool first.
Z – Zucchini
Zucchinis or courgettes, make a really creamy base, perfect for green smoothies. A good source of fibre and immune system-boosting vitamin C,
Zucchinis also contain high levels of potassium, which is essential for controlling blood pressure. Like oats, zucchinis are also high in soluble fibre which slows down digestion and stabilises blood sugar and insulin levels.
Zucchini blends well with bananas, blueberries, almond milk, spinach and kale.
Hope this a – z smoothie ingredients list keeps you organised!
|Natalie Shirlaw is passionate about healthy living and writes posts about wellbeing. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to pin it or share it!|