Are smoothies healthy?

We often get asked questions such as

  • Are smoothies healthy?
  • Are smoothies healthy for breakfast?
  • Are fruit smoothies healthy?
  • Are smoothies a healthy breakfast
  • Are smoothies good for weight loss?
  • Are smoothies bad for you?

 In this post we will attempt to answer them as clearly as possible. First let’s start by explaining briefly about smoothies.

What are smoothies?

smoothies

Smoothies are creamy drinks usually made from blended fruits, vegetables, nuts or nut butters, seeds, yogurt, kefir, dairy or non-dairy milk, supplements like protein powder, toppings like coconut and granola and herbs like maca and matcha.

How to make smoothies

To make smoothies, you need two key ingredients which are a base and fluid. You can then add these other smoothie ingredients according to your own taste. Common ingredients used for making smoothies are listed below.

how to make smoothies
how to make smoothies-Image by Greg Reese from Pixabay

Ingredients used for making smoothies

Common smoothie ingredients include

  • Fruits such as apple, berries, mango, banana, pineapple and peach.
  • Vegetables such as avocado, cauliflower, arugula, kale, cucumber, carrots beetroot and spinach.
  • Nut and seed butters such as peanut, walnut and sunflower seed butter.
  • Seeds such as chia, flax and hemp seed.
  • Herbs and spices such as parsley, ginger, basil, cinnamon and turmeric.
  • Toppings such as coconut cacao nibs and granola.
  • Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, spirulina, matcha powder, protein powder and bee pollen
  • Fluids such as water, milk, fruit and vegetable juice, coconut water, dairy and non-dairy milk and dairy or non-dairy yogurts.
  • Sweeteners e.g.  Syrups, Honey, Sugar, sorbet, dates, concentrates of fruit juices and ice cream.
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Smoothies with peanut butter

Some people like making smoothies with peanut butter because of the extra satisfying feeling and long lasting they get . If you don’t have peanut butter around, you can swap for almond or walnut butter. Some of the recipes below contain peanut butter.

Types of Smoothies

  • Fruit Smoothies e.g pineapple smoothies
  • Green Smoothies e.g kale and spinach smoothies
  • Protein Smoothies e.g smoothies with protein powder or Greek yogurt
  • Mixed smoothies e.g smoothies that contain a good mixture of ingredients.

Smoothies vs juicing

While juice and smoothies are both made from fruits or vegetables, unlike juices, smoothies retain the fiber in the fruit or vegetable. In fact, they retain the whole fruits. This is because while the whole fruit is blended while preparing a smoothie, the fruit or vegetable is pressed while preparing the juice. Fibers help keep the digestive system active and stable.

Research shows that blended fruit have more antioxidants than juice with the same ingredients. because antioxidants are primarily found in the fibrous membranes of the fruit. As smoothies are blended fruits, they contain more antioxidants and fiber than juices so will be more beneficial to health. That said, it is best to eat whole fruits and vegetables.

Are smoothies healthy?

Zee Ibrahim, a Registered Dietitian says smoothies are good. However it depends on what you have in there (the recipe). Fruits contain natural sugars and this only adds to more blood sugar and won’t help you lose weight. It is also bad for anyone with diabetes. It’s best to eat more vegetables than fruits. While fruits contain a lot of fibre, it also contains a lot more carbohydrate. A serving of fruit is the same as a serving of bread and rice. If you add milk or yogurt to smoothies, you will be increasing your sugar intake. Smoothies should be taken once in a while/moderately and always add vegetables to your smoothies.

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Are smoothies healthy for breakfast?

We get questions such as are smoothies healthy for breakfast? Smoothies can make a healthy breakfast depending on the ingredients used and amount taken. To make a healthy smoothie breakfast, you can make one that in high in fiber and protein while low in sugars. You can also include healthy fats to make you feel fuller for longer.

Smoothies for weight loss

  • Are smoothies good for weight loss?
  • Are smoothies good for losing weight?

Smoothies can be part of a healthy diet when you choose ingredients that help improve digestion, burn fat, reduce inflammation.

Healthy smoothies recipes

A healthy smoothie recipe should be one that is high in protein , fiber and healthy facts while low in sugars. It should contain vegetables and in the right portion.

Popular smoothie recipes

Below are some popular smoothie recipes.

Smoothies with pineapple

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups of pineapple juice
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cups frozen or fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
smoothies with pineapple
smoothies with pineapple: Image by Tesa Robbins from Pixabay

Smoothies with spinach

Ingredients

  • 20g of spinach leaves
  • 1 small chopped cucumber
  • 1 chopped apple   
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 100ml cold water
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 fresh ginger.
  • 1 small banana or mango to taste
smoothies with spinach
smoothies with spinach

Smoothies with kale

Kale is a superfood which contains antioxidants, fiber, calcium and vitamin A. Kale has a  tough and fibrous texture, which can sometimes make blending the leaves difficult.

Ingredients

  • 5 leaves of kale
  • 5 chunks of pineapple or mango
  • Greek yogurt
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon Peanut butter
smoothies with kale
smoothies with kale: Image by Monika Baechler from Pixabay

Spinach and Kale Smoothie

Ingredients for spinach and kale smoothie

  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 kale leaf
  • 1 sliced frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
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spinach and kale smoothie
spinach and kale smoothie recipe. Credit: redchocolate/shutterstock

About the author

Nwasom is a pharmacy graduate and a pharmacist currently practising in the United Kingdom. I have great experience communicating with patients and their family as gained through working as a pharmacist in both the hospital and community pharmacy sector. I love writing so it was a natural thing to try and pass medical and health information on through writing.