Smoothies have become an increasingly popular health beverage following the invention of the first blender in the 1930s. Made from mostly blended fruits and vegetables, these drinks resemble milkshakes but boast a far higher nutrient density, packing fibre, vitamins and flavour into a single glass. Through the emphasis of the need for a more varied diet and a greater focus on healthy eating and the consumption of our five a day, smoothies have become an international favourite amongst the many for a tasty snack, pick-me-up or even a nutritious meal.
We've put together a handy guide to help you identify the benefits of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, so you can build your own delicious smoothie to your tastes, preferences and needs!
Choose 2-3 different fruits or vegetables to include in you smoothie - aim for ½ cup - 1 cup of each depending on whether you're making your drink as a snack or a meal. We recommend choosing one piece of fruit and one to two vegetables in order to control the natural sugar content in your smoothie.
Apples - Apples are an excellent source of polyphenols, like the flavonoid epicatechin. These micronutrients are packed with antioxidants, helping to treat digestive issues, diabetes and some diseases, as well as promoting good gut and bones health. Apples also contain pectin, a water-soluble fibre that are thought to help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Bananas - Whilst most commonly known for being high in potassium, bananas are also a supply of vitamin B6, carbohydrate and vitamin C. Potassium plays a vital role in the regulation of heart function and can help to lower blood pressure. Plus, its high sugar content makes it the perfect choice as an energy booster before or after a workout.
Berries - Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, not only are berries a great way to mix up your smoothies, but they're also great providers of, fibre, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
Pears - Another great source of pectin, pears are not only a more satiating fruit (helping to keep you full), but they also help to ensure that bowel movements are kept regular.
Oranges, Lemons, Limes and Grapefruit - Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C. In fact, just a single orange contains 100% of your RDI of vitamin C! However, citrus fruits are also rich in other vitamins and minerals such as potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper that promote proper functioning of the body.
Spinach - Considered a superfood and known for its nutritional qualities, spinach has always been a popular addition to smoothies, juices and meals. From vitamin A to vitamin K, spinach is an excellent source of variety of vitamins and minerals, but is most well-known for its iron content, playing a central role in the transportation of oxygen around the body.
Add a healthy source of fat to your smoothie to promote satiety, keeping you full and nourished. Healthy fats are also a great way to make your smoothie creamier and more indulgent!
Add liquid to your smoothie until you've reached your desired consistency. For a thicker smoothie (or smoothie bowl), add less liquid and for a thinner smoothie, add more liquid. Always add liquid before adding powders or ice to your blender.
Switch your smoothie up with a few additional extras - adding both flavour and nutrients!
Honey - Whilst honey only contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals, honey is a great option in place of sugar as a sweetener thanks to its lower calorie content. For those that are vegan, this could also be replaced with agave syrup, or dates for an extra burst of fibre!
Protein Powder/Yoghurt - If you're opting to make your smoothie into a meal, add a quality source of protein such as a scoop of protein powder or a tablespoon of Greek or soy yoghurt. Protein is considered the most filling macronutrient, reducing the level of the hunger hormone ghrelin and boosting levels of peptide YY (a hormone that makes you feel full).
Ice Cubes - Ice cubes can be added to your blender with the fruits and vegetables to make for an cool and refreshing drink.
Experiment with your own personal favourite flavour combinations to find what you most enjoy or use the guide above to promote optimal health based on your own personal situation. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet.
We've put together a selection of our favourite smoothie recipes to get you started!
Apples, pears, spinach and ginger come together to make this vitamin packed green smoothie.
With sweet cantaloupe melon, zingy citrus fruit and refreshing mint, this hydrating, energy...
With cantaloupe melon, pears, strawberries and celery, this smoothie packs a nutrition filled punch!
A velvety smooth blend of pink and red fruits and vegetables to be shared with your loved ones on...
Packed with vitamin D, this Sunshine Smoothie is sure to brighten your day. Made with the Dualit...