Smoothies are an awesome nutrient-dense, quick, on-the-go meal. But you may be forgetting an important ingredient that could stop you from reaping all the nutritious benefits.
A smoothie is a drink composed of blended foods. You can do greens, other veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and more! The foods you add break down into liquid form, whilst still retaining all of their fibre and nutrients. Blending your own choice of ingredients assures you know how much of and what foods you are getting. It’s also an easy way to reach your fruit and veggie intake for the day.
I love smoothies and have been drinking them for as long as I can remember but I discovered I had been doing it wrong for years – I was missing an important ingredient.
The secret ingredient? Healthy fats
Healthy fats are unsaturated, plant-based fats in the form of oils, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds. Why do you need them in your smoothie?
Fruits and vegetables have fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K, and various minerals, that means they need fat to be eaten/drank with them to be properly broken down and absorbed by your body. So, without this fat in your smoothie, you may be throwing away those healthy nutrients in fruits and veggies.
Other benefits are:
– Adding fat to your smoothie will help ward off hunger for much longer and provide energy to fuel you throughout your day.
– Besides helping absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in your smoothie, healthy fats provide essential fatty acids which have shown to protect against hypertension, inflammation, heart disease, immune disorders, and arthritis.
How much and what kind of fat to add in your smoothie?
Some excellent types of healthy fats to add to your smoothies include: ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocado, nuts or nut butters, canola or flaxseed oil. Olive oil’s distinct taste may effect your smoothie’s flavour.
A teaspoon or so of an oil, or a tablespoon of nuts/seeds is perfect in a smoothie. A little fat can provide the needed benefits but remember that fat still provides energy in the form of calories, so try not to over-do it.
If you’re hesitant to add oil to your smoothie, try out this tested Green Smoothie recipe!
Psst, the same concept applies to salads
A recent study found that full-fat salad dressings are required to unlock the full potential from veggies in your salad. Overall, the type of dressing matters too, as shown in a study using a human trial, where olive oil and canola oil were found to be the best choice of salad dressing when it comes to absorbing nutrients from vegetables. It appears that monounsaturated fats provide the most efficient absorption of carotenoids, pigments with antioxidant activity present in vegetables and fruit.
If you’re interested in knowing which oils contain the most monounsaturated fats (in yellow), check out this fat comparison chart below.