Smoothies can be extremely healthy beverages and meal replacements, or they can be loaded with sugar, water, and not much else. I’m a proponent of the former; smoothies made fresh out of entirely healthy ingredients, serving as replacements for breakfast or lunch, to help you build a healthier lifestyle.
Some of you have asked me, “What are the benefits of smoothies?” Well, I’m here to tell you, there are a lot of them. What are they? Read on to find out.
1. Smoothies are Filling but Low-Calorie
Smoothies are a powerful way to lose weight because they’re filling and packed with fruits and vegetables, but they’re still low-calorie. A typical breakfast meal with cereal or eggs and toast or another common breakfast spread is going to be 300-400 calories, or even more if you’re eating sugary cereals. A smoothie is often under 150 calories, and just as – if not more – filling.
2. Smoothies Include Ingredients that Help Burn Fat
Flavonoids in fresh produce like berries (especially blueberries) and in green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and peppers, have been found in various studies to help stimulate your body to burn fat. After all, when your diet is healthy, your body doesn’t need to store away more fat to insulate against future starvation.
3. Smoothies Provide Fuel for Sustained Exercise
Weight loss is a two-pronged task. Cutting calories can only do so much, so you need to exercise as well. Smoothies are a great source of protein, healthy fats, and slow-digesting fiber to help give you all the fuel you need to work out. Plus, many of those nutrients go right back into restoring and healing the muscles you work out, making it even more effective to exercise.
4. Good Smoothies are Low on Added Sugars
Bad smoothies often use fruit juices for flavoring, but good smoothies use only the sweetness found naturally in fruits and vegetables, or maybe a dash of natural sugar like honey or syrup. That means you’re not going to have sugar spikes and crashes, and you’re not going to be loading up on fat-storing short-chain carbohydrates. It’s a lot better for your blood sugar too.
5. Smoothies are Full of Hydration
You know how they say that 70% of your body is water? Well, the same is true of fruits and vegetables. Smoothies, even if you use a non-water base like yogurt, are still full of water. Since your body needs water to function, this is great! It also helps you meet your water goals for the day without needing to chug glass after glass every chance you get.
6. Fiber in Smoothies Helps Keep You Sated
Fiber is a dietary ingredient that is either indigestible or very, very slow to digest. That means it passes through your digestive system very slowly, and is difficult for your body to break down. The presence of that fiber tells your body that it’s full, though, and will help cut cravings and keep you from feeling hungry or wanting a snack in between meals.
7. Protein in Smoothies Reduces Cravings
Protein helps fuel your body. It’s not as effective of a fuel as sugar, but it’s better at preventing cravings and keeping you sated for a longer period. It’s also better as a fuel for things like muscle growth, wound healing, and exercise. Plus, it can be broken down and re-used as collagen for your skin, joints, and cartilage. All of that, while cutting down on your unhealthy cravings.
8. Smoothies Ease the Effects of Heartburn
Many of the ingredients you add to smoothies, particularly in the form of green vegetables, are somewhat on the alkaline side of the pH spectrum. That means they help to counteract acid. Like, for example, stomach acid. If you get acid reflux or heartburn, smoothies might be able to help ease it by counteracting some of the acid that your stomach pumps in.
9. Smoothies are Packed with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are an incredibly important part of your ongoing diet. They have the ability to seek out and bind with “free radicals” that would otherwise bind to and damage things like DNA. In that way, it suppresses illnesses like chronic inflammation and the potential formation of cancer. To be sure, antioxidants on their own can’t prevent cancer, but they can help reduce the risks you face through exposure to free radicals.
10. You Get Many Vitamins in Smoothies
Your body needs vitamins to stay healthy. While you can take a multivitamin, it’s not the most effective way to get the full balance of vitamins and minerals you need. Eating a wide selection of fruits and vegetables is a much better way to get all of those various vitamins, and what better way to do that than with smoothies? Plus, with smoothies, you can customize a recipe to make sure you’re not getting too much or too little of a given nutrient.
11. You Get Many Minerals in Smoothies
Much like vitamins, your body needs trace minerals to help it function, for everything from wound healing to mental health. Getting enough of those minerals through your normal diet often means eating foods specifically fortified to be high in mineral content, but if you specifically work in a variety of fruits and vegetables, you’ll get a lot closer.
12. Smoothies Can be High in Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll, the molecule that makes plants green and helps them absorb energy from the sun, is easily found in green vegetables. It’s also surprisingly healthy as a dietary supplement, above and beyond just eating vegetables. You get plenty of it by adding leafy greens to your smoothies, but if you want, you can even add an additional supplement like spirulina to your smoothies to ramp it up.
13. Healthy Smoothies Help Boost Immunity
Many of the ingredients in smoothies help boost your immune system to stay in fighting shape. It’s worth mentioning that immune function isn’t always “better” the higher it is; after all, most autoimmune diseases are an immune system going into overdrive. What smoothies and a proper diet do is ensure balance in your immune system, helping it operate at peak efficiency, not driving it into unnecessary action. Unless, of course, you’re allergic to something you’re eating, but that’s a whole other story.
14. Smoothies can Help Promote Healthy Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important for a healthy life and a healthy mind. Getting better quality sleep for at least the prescribed eight hours a night is extremely important, and smoothies can help. How? Well, as it turns out, your body needs a handful of specific nutrients to help regulate sleep and perform all of your natural body functions while asleep. Those nutrients include Omega-3s, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Iron, all of which can be abundant in the right smoothie recipes.
15. Nutrients in Smoothies Help Skin Health
One of the foremost regulators of healthy, elastic, youthful skin is collagen. Collagen is a protein that forms the scaffolding on which your skin is built. Collagen is also made out of amino acids and synthesized using both proteins and vitamin C from your diet. Guess what you get in a good, well-formulated smoothie? That’s right; plenty of vitamin C and protein.
16. Smoothies Promote Easy Digestion
Getting the right balance of fiber, water, and nutrients in your diet is key to keeping your digestion “regular.” Too much or too little of any of it, and you’ll find yourself in digestive distress, from mild to severe. Smoothies often have the right balance of all of these nutrients, providing enough to keep you regular day after day.
17. Smoothies can Help Promote Liver and Kidney Health
I hesitate to use the phrase “detox” due to a lot of misinformation out there. Your body has a natural system for removing toxins from your body, and it involves your kidneys and liver. Smoothies help you out in two ways here; first, they’re all-natural, so you aren’t taking in as much of the terrible toxins in our food. Second, they help support proper organ function, including the natural detoxification process.
18. Smoothies Fuel the Brain
Do you know why humans consume so much more than most other animals? It’s all in our brains. The brain requires an immense amount of fuel and resources to function properly. Smoothies are a nutritionally-dense way of getting all of the relevant nutrients into your body without having to spend hours hunting and gathering them. That fuels your cognitive functions, memory, mood, and more.
19. Smoothies can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s healing and immune response, but it’s also pretty damaging if left alone or chronic. Luckily, smoothies approach the problem from two angles. First, they replace synthetic, inflammation-triggering ingredients you otherwise might eat. Second, many ingredients in smoothies have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce bodily inflammation.
20. Smoothies Promote a Good Mood
Your mood is generally driven by two factors: the balance of neurotransmitters and the health of your gut biome. Smoothies provide healthy prebiotics for your gut biome to thrive, and they give your body the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to build those neurotransmitters appropriately.
21. Smoothies can Even Out Mood Swings
In much the same way that smoothies can enhance a good mood by balancing out your cognitive functions, so too can they help balance out mood swings. Mood swings are often imbalances that feed back upon themselves, causing swings in too much or too little of various chemicals. Smoothies can help even those out, so you don’t swing back and forth as much.
22. Fresh Produce Promotes Strong Bones
Your bones need calcium, cartilage, collagen, and other nutrients to stay strong and healthy. Plus, strong bones aren’t just about resistance to breaking or injury; your bones are responsible for producing your blood, so strong bones means strong blood. Smoothies give you everything you need to keep your bones healthy and functioning properly.
23. Healthy Smoothies Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a wax-like substance found throughout your body. It comes in two forms, which are roughly classified as “good” and “bad.” Good cholesterol is used to build cells, heal, and produce vitamins. Bad cholesterol clogs arteries and causes heart disease. Smoothies are high in the nutrients necessary to build good cholesterol while avoiding bad cholesterol (which usually comes in the form of trans fats, which don’t show up in fresh fruits and veg.)
24. Smoothies can Regulate Blood Sugar and Minimize Diabetes
Diabetes is an imbalance in how your body processes sugar using insulin. Think of insulin as the password that sugar needs to get into a cell and fuel it. Over time, too much sugar leads to insulin resistance (to avoid over-fueling cells), but that is unsustainable. Smoothies help even out pancreatic function and insulin sensitivity.
25. Smoothies Use Whole Fruits and Veg; Nothing is Left Behind
One comparison often made with smoothies is versus juices. If you take a fruit and run it through the juicer, don’t you get the same benefits in an easier-to-consume drink? Well, not really. Juicers will mulch a fruit or vegetable and extract the liquid, but it leaves behind all of that critical dietary fiber and a lot of the minerals and vitamins present in peels, seeds, and other solids. With smoothies, nothing (edible) is left behind.
26. Smoothie Recipes are Extremely Flexible
If you check out the Smoothie Diet I wrote, you’ll note that the program is packed full of different smoothie recipes, often with very different flavor profiles. See, the “secret” with diets is that you don’t need to eat the same thing every day, so long as, on average, you get all of the nutrients you need. Smoothies do that while giving you plenty of flavor variety from day to day.
27. Smoothies are Easy to Make
While it’s not quite as simple as “toss it all in a blender and hit the button,” it’s close. Adding your ingredients in the right order matters to avoid chunks, but otherwise, it’s easy to make a smoothie. Just prep your ingredients, add them in the right order, and press the button.
28. You Get Your Daily Vegetables More Easily
A lot of people don’t like vegetables. Personally, I think vegetables are delicious when prepared properly, but everyone has different tastes. Still, you do need to eat vegetables to get the nutrients your body needs, and smoothies can be a great way to do that without tasting them.
29. Smoothies Don’t Require Extreme Dietary Shifts to Lose Weight
A lot of diets force you to cut out huge chunks of your diet to fit some norm, whether it’s low-carb, keto, paleo, or some other program. With the smoothie diet, you don’t need to do that. Your dinner should angle towards the healthier side of things, but for the most part, you can eat what you want outside of your smoothies.
30. Smoothies Make it Easy to Change Your Diet
One of the best benefits of the smoothie diet is using it as an intermediary to shift your overall diet. By the time you’re done with my plan, you’ll have “detoxed” from processed sugar and other ingredients you crave, making it easier to kick the habit and start up on a healthier diet. Why not give it a try?