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10 Reasons to Drink a Smoothie Every Day

Still doubtful about the health benefits of smoothies? It's time to change that.
10 Reasons to Drink a Smoothie Every Day
10 Reasons to Drink a Smoothie Every Day
Still doubtful about the health benefits of smoothies? It's time to change that.

Confession: I used to hate smoothies. Too much prep. Too much to cleanup. And I like to chew my food, not sip it. But then we bought a Vitamix when our old blender bit the dust, and it changed everything. I wanted to get my money’s worth, so I committed to making a breakfast smoothie every morning before work, as my colleagues at Eat This, Not That! suggest in our new book, The 7-Day Smoothie Diet.

It was an interesting experiment. For one, the smoothies replaced those sugary cereals I was eating. No, they weren’t as sweet as Honey Bunches of Oats, but they were rich and filling. I wasn’t hungry at 10:30 in the morning. The smoothie recipes were fun to make, and they inspired me to start concocting my own by trial and error: kale, avocado, and Cocoa Puffs? Mistake. Oats, banana, and almond milk? A meal!

I started making protein shakes with chocolate-flavored pea protein powder for an afternoon snack.  It’s not a Yoo-hoo by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still delicious and gives you the chocolate taste you crave. You get used to the taste of plant-based protein and quickly learn how to sweeten it up a bit with frozen banana or vanilla almond milk. With a protein smoothie in the afternoon, I didn’t need a Philly-style pretzel from Wawa or a Cliff Bar to chase the hunger away.

Now I’m a smoothie convert. Smoothies make sense—for everyone. While a smoothie will never replace a broiled salmon fillet with a side of steamed broccoli, it’s certainly a fast and easy way to jam protein and vegetables into your diet and reap the nutritional bounty that you may be missing from your other meals.

And if you want to lose pounds, drinking smoothies as meal replacements can be a convenient and delicious way to significantly slash processed carbohydrates and the calories that come with them. A study in Current Nutrition & Food Science found that people who replaced breakfast and dinner with a high-protein smoothie lost over 18 pounds in 12 weeks.

Made right, smoothies are full of water, fiber, and protein, all of which promote “satiety,” or feeling full, and can help us avoid overeating and cut calories, according to Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Program.

But smoothies boast a tumbler full of other health benefits beyond weight loss, depending on the ingredients you toss in the blender before the blades start spinning. Try the smoothie recipes below, and see 10 surprising reasons to drink smoothies. Get ready to whip up a delicious shake that’ll do your body good.

1

Boost Metabolism

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Studies have shown that adding spicy ingredients like ginger and cayenne pepper to a shake can rev up your calorie-burning metabolism. In one study at Purdue University, people who consumed about a half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in their food burned about 10 more calories in the hours afterward, compared to people who ate the same meal but without the spice. Researchers call capsaicin, the compound in peppers that makes them hot, a thermogenic chemical that not only heats the body, but decreases hunger signals in the brain.

Recipe: Tropical Spice Smoothie
½ cup coconut water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ ripe avocado
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2” knob of fresh ginger
1 cup frozen mango.

Makes 2 servings.

2

Ease Arthritis Pain

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Aching from osteoarthritis-related knee pain? Muscles sore after a strength-training workout? Try a smoothie made with tart cherry juice, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and joint pain.

Recipe: Almond Cherry Bomb Smoothie
½ cup frozen bing cherries
½ cup tart cherry juice
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons almond butter

Makes 2 servings.

3

Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

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Several studies have suggested a possible link between eating blueberries and improved memory and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists believe the anthocyanin antioxidants in blueberries may protect neurons, improve brain cell communication, and enhance blood circulation to the brain. This smoothie recipe contains other ingredients (spinach and turmeric) known to support cognitive function, making it a smart choice for boosting brainpower.

Recipe: The Einstein Smoothie
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup water
½ cup spinach
½ cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon matcha powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ cup coconut milk
ice as needed

Makes 2 servings.

4

Rebuild Your Gut After Taking Antibiotics

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Antibiotics create a lot of collateral damage at the same time they’re eradicating the bacterium they are prescribed to kill. They destroy much of our helpful gut microbiota, which in turn causes mild diarrhea. But sometimes the widespread reduction in microbiota by antibiotics allows a more harmful bug–Clostridium difficile—to take over. C-diff can cause severe diarrhea and even a life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It’s especially dangerous in the elderly. There’s clinical evidence that repopulating the gut with “good bugs” by taking probiotics could help prevent C-diff in people taking antibiotics. Kefir, used in the good-gut-bug-building smoothie below, is one of the best probiotics (yogurt is another) and perfect for smoothie blends.

Recipe: Gut Punch Smoothie
½ cup plain full-fat kefir
1 cup frozen raspberries, peaches, strawberries
½ tablespoon flaxseeds

Makes 1 serving.

5

Crush Cravings

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Apple cider vinegar and cinnamon have been shown to stabilize blood sugar and keep cravings for carbs at bay.

Recipe: Cinnamon ‘n’ Cider Smoothie
1/3 cup coconut water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ apple, chopped
four ice cubes

Makes 2 servings.

6

Lower Blood Pressure

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Eating foods rich in potassium is a natural way to lower blood pressure because the mineral tempers the effects of sodium on the body and also eases tension on blood vessel walls. Among the best high-potassium ingredients for smoothies are bananas. One study found that eating two bananas a day can drop blood pressure by 10 percent. But before you go ape with bananas, check with your doctor. Potassium can be harmful to people with kidney problems, and it may interact with certain medications. Then try this blood pressure-lowering smoothie, which also contains vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and relaxes the walls of your blood vessels.

Recipe: Berries and Banana Smoothie
½ cup almond milk

½ cup strawberries, sliced

½ medium frozen banana

1 kiwi, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds

Makes 2 servings.

7

Beat Diabetes

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If you are worried about prediabetes, this is an ideal breakfast smoothie to replace a bowl of sugary cereal or sweetened yogurt. It tastes like an apple pie, but it keeps blood sugar levels stable with cinnamon, eight grams of fiber, and muscle-building protein. What’s more, it contains EGCG, a catechin from matcha powder that stimulates cells to release fat. To learn how to reverse type 2 diabetes with food and a simple walking exercise routine, check out The 14-Day No Sugar Diet.

Recipe: Apple Cobbler Smoothie
1 apple, cored and chopped

1 cup kale, deveined

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon matcha powder

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Makes 1 serving.

8

Look Younger

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This smoothie is a dermatologists’ favorite because it’s loaded with beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin protects the skin from UV ray damage, potentially keeping skin supple and youthful-looking. The beta-carotene in The Young Bunny smoothie comes from two ingredients, carrots and apricot. We’ve added honey and cinnamon, which have also been shown to help with skin repair.

Recipe: The Young Bunny Smoothie
½ cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
½ cup grated carrot
1 dried apricot half, diced
1 fresh apricot, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon local honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Makes 2 servings.

9

Stay Awake


A smoothie made with chilled coffee or cold-brew coffee, banana, and protein powder will not only give you an energy boost at 10 a.m., but it’ll also keep your belly satisfied until lunchtime.

Recipe: The Cold Snap Smoothie
½ cup coffee, cooled or cold brew coffee
½ cup 2% milk
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 medium frozen banana
1 scoop whey protein powder
4 ice cubes

Makes 2 servings.

10

Go to Sleep

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Cherries and tart cherry juice are concentrated sources of melatonin, a popular natural sleep aid. Try this simple concoction as a late evening snack, and you’ll drift off easily.

Recipe: The Snoozie Smoothie
¾ cup tart cherry juice
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
4 ice cubes

Makes 2 servings.

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