You’ve heard the hype: smoothies are vitamin-rich and mineral-dense and immune-boosting. It’s all true. Smoothies are, indeed, good for you.
But that’s not the whole story. Yes, the nutritional benefits of smoothies are many. They’re the reason for our early fascination-meets-infatuation with the predominantly fruit-flavored drinks. And they explain why, sometime between 2010 and 20-today, we all bought—likely for the first time—flax seeds and chia seeds and hemp seeds and so many seeds.
Our tastes, however, can be fickle and our infatuations short-lived. When smoothie fever first swept the nation, our thirst for bright pics of neon beverages garnished with citrus fruit and helix-striped straws knew no bounds. Pinterest, talk shows, and every food magazine known to man touted the nutritional benefits of smoothies like a mantra.
“They improve your diet!”
“They hasten weight loss!”
“They aid with digestion!”
With so much hype, smoothies took a turn. We still love them, of course. They taste good, and they’re better for you than a candy bar. But so is Swiss chard, and nobody’s singing its praises on social media. (And as a side note, not all of the nutritional claims made about smoothies were/are true for all people.) The problems smoothies faced was a conundrum all food trends eventually confront: their ubiquity makes them, how to put this gently?… Basic.
Naturally, we still love smoothies. We’re also pretty sure that you do, too. (Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with us.)
So here’s a list of the other reasons you should get back on board the smoothie train. They’re a little bit health-related, but mostly they explain why and how smoothies improve your life in general. And what’s so wrong about being basic anyway. Amiright?
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No time to cook in the morning? Don’t like bacon and eggs? Smoothies are the solution. Breakfast awakens your metabolism, essentially telling your body that it’s time to move from calorie conservation to calorie burn. Studies also show that eating breakfast improves memory and concentration, reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, and decreases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. For those practicing intermittent fasting, The Washington Post reports that substantial evidence supports breakfast as an important part of fasting. Why? Because it signals the end of the most effective fasting period, which is in the evening and overnight. Eating early has proven to be the fasting pattern that yields the most profound benefits. So invest two minutes in some light chopping and blending in the morning. It’s worth it. You’re worth it.
Try New Ingredients
Kiwi. Honey. Chia seeds. Kale. Answer: What are healthy foods you don’t eat nearly enough of? There are so many superfoods and nutritionally significant ingredients that most of us rarely, if ever, eat. Why? Because we’ve (a) never heard of them, (b) don’t realize how healthy they are, (c) don’t like how they taste, or (d) all of the above. Smoothies speak to all of these “food challenges” by introducing you to new, healthy ingredients that you can bundle and blend to produce great-tasting drinks. Bundling and blending mitigate the flavors of ingredients you’re less fond of by partnering them with ingredients you love. That means you can get the benefits of raw cabbage, kale, and beets without actually having to taste raw cabbage, kale, and beets. (And if you like raw cabbage, kale, and beets, good for you. Eat up!)
Fool Your Food Cravings
Snack attacks and stress eating are real, and so is the struggle to control them. There are a lot of reasons they sneak up on us. Take, for example, sleep deprivation. Insufficient sleep increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. It also decreases the production of leptin, which contributes to feelings of fullness. Together, ghrelin and leptin are a one-two punch that makes you feel like you’re hungry and, then, when you succumb and eat, it also makes you feel like you’re not full. Similarly, elevated levels of stress hormones tell your body to make the energy to defend itself against a perceived threat, the result of which is an appetite on overdrive. Smoothies satisfy snack attacks by swapping unhealthy foods for nutritious ones that are also tasty, leaving your sweet tooth happy and your ghrelin, leptin, and stress hormones none the wiser.
Work Out on 10
People who work out on an empty stomach often report feeling lightheaded and weak. And working out after a high-fat meal isn’t the best idea, either. A protein-rich smoothie, on the other hand, can provide the fuel your body needs to perform strenuous activities. Better still, protein-rich smoothies can help build and repair muscles after your workout.
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Photo by Linda Pugliese
Recipe: Creamy Green Strawberry Dream Serving in this recipe:1
- Calories: 236.6
- Total Fat: 3.6 g 5.5%
- Saturated Fat: 0.4 g 1.9%
- Cholesterol: 0 mg 0%
- Sodium: 358.7 mg 14.9%
- Total Carbs: 45.7 g 15.2%
- Dietary Fiber: 9.9 g 39.4%
- Sugar: 22.1 g
- Protein: 8.1 g 16.2%
- Vitamin A: 481.9% Vitamin C: 244.1%
- Calcium: 68.5% Iron: 26.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.