HEALTHY LIVING

Do You Know the Secret to Make Creamy Smoothies?

The art of the smoothie can be a little hit or miss at times. We’ve all downed a watery smoothie or two before. But here are some simple tricks to thicken up your smoothies and keep them nice and creamy. The best part? All these tips add extra nutritional density to your smoothies! You win on texture and you support Life Force 1: Nutrition!

Tricks to Creamier Smoothies

1. Use Frozen Components

When you use frozen fruits or vegetables in your smoothies, you cut down on the amount of ice you need to use, which can water down both the flavor and the texture when you blend them in. Keeping different frozen fruit and vegetables options on hand serves a dual purpose. You have fresh, whole fruits and vegetables on hand at all time that you don’t need to worry about spoiling. Plus, they help thicken and cool down smoothies!

2. Add Fruits With Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, creating a highly viscous (sticky) substance. Specific types of soluble fiber found in food include pectin, some hemicelluloses, beta-glucans, fructans, oligosaccharides, guar and gums. Soluble fiber delays gastric emptying so you feel full longer, plus it helps lower the risk of heart disease, controls blood glucose levels, and is beneficial for reducing high cholesterol levels. It also provides a big immunity boost for your body. A study at University of Illinois found that soluble fiber reduced the inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases and strengthened the immune system.

“Soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cells — they go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infection,” said Gregory Freund, a professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a faculty member in the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ Division of Nutritional Sciences.

When you use fruits and vegetables with a lot of soluble fiber in your smoothies, they attract some of the water and and create a smoother, creamier texture. Who knew trying to get a creamy smoothie could provide such a health boost!

Fruits and Vegetables High in Soluble Fiber That Will Thicken Smoothies:

  • Apples (ripe)

    • One medium sized apple contains almost 5 grams of fiber, about 50% comes from a pectin, a soluble fiber. Cooks will recognize pectin, used in jams and jellies to help them set.
  •  Avocados
    • Avocados are a powerhouse of nutrition. When you freeze them, you don’t have the problem of every avocado becoming ripe at the same time!
  • Carrots
  • Dates
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Mangos
    • Just half of a small mango contains approximately 2.9 grams of total dietary fiber; 1.7 grams of which are soluble fiber, according to Harvard University Health Services.
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
    • These sweet additions also contribute 3 grams of soluble fiber per peach!
  • Pears (ripe)
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
    • One cup of cooked pumpkin contains around 50 calories and 2.7 grams of fiber, or 11 percent of recommended daily value. One cup of fresh pumpkin contains more than 2.5 grams, or 10 percent of the daily value for fiber.
  • Squash
    • Like pumpkin, squash is especially rich in soluble fiber.
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potato

3. Use Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse! They have more antioxidant activity than blueberries. Chia seeds have a high concentration of the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acids (the word essential is used to describe substances we can’t get from outside sources). These essential fatty acids are part of cell membranes and play a role in heart health, the health of your cellular and artery walls, and more. Up to 60 percent of the oil that is found in chia seeds is comprised of omega-3s.

Chia is also a “complete protein” – which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids, which is incredibly rare for a plant-based source of protein. Yes, please! The gel-forming action and fiber of chia seeds slows down carbohydrate-to-sugar digestion, which stabilizes blood sugar, provides slow releasing energy, reduces cravings, helps you feel full longer – and makes for creamy, super smooth smoothies! These are just a few of the reasons chia seeds are one of the foundational superfoods that I included in my SuperLife 10-Day Nutritional Program.

So there is actually two ways to use chia seeds in smoothies: whole and ground. This is my number one tip for creamy, nutrient-dense smoothies!

I always keep some whole chia seeds soaking in the fridge. As long as the chia seeds are in an air-tight jar covered with water, they will keep for several days in the refrigerator – ready right when you need them! If you don’t have any on hand, you could choose to soak the seeds for at least 10 minutes in the liquid you are going to add to your smoothie (nut milk, water, etc.) before adding them to a smoothie.

While whole chia seeds are great, ground chia seeds are where it’s at. If you want a GUARANTEED creamy smoothie, every time, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds to your smoothie. If you have a coffee bean grinder and any spice grinder, you can just grind the chia seeds in there.

Note: You do want to include both whole chia seeds and ground chia seeds in your SuperLife diet. While studies have not shown a greater nutritional benefit in one version versus the other, as always, variety is always the best!  Also, if you are not grinding your chia seeds, you must soak them! Studies do show that soaked chia seeds are more nutritionally bio-available to your body.

4. Add Organic Nut Butters.

Nut butters will add creamy, smoothness. If you don’t have time to make them, you can buy organic nut butters. Look for versions without any other added ingredients: you should see JUST THE NUT listed. It is also easy to make your own nut butter when you plan ahead to soak the nuts! Try my easy almond butter recipe.

5. Throw in Soaked Nuts.

Adding soaked nuts and seeds gives you critical healthy fats and additional nutrients that aid your body’s cardiovascular system, metabolism, and even weight management. However, they also create a creamier smoothie. However, to truly get the benefits of nuts and seeds, you should be eating them soaked whenever possible.

Use my easy steps for soaking nuts and seeds here. Once you’ve worked through the process, you’ll be able to do it in your sleep!

6. Include Coconut Flesh (Frozen if Possible) 

Young coconut flesh is a great addition for tropically flavored smoothies. Coconut flesh is slightly sweet and it adds a nutritious boost with iron, phosphorus and zinc. Plus it has a naturally occurring high concentration of electrolytes (more than Gatorade!) and has more potassium than a banana.

Those are my top tips for creamier smoothies! Enjoy!


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Share your tips for getting smooth, creamy smoothies every time in the comments below!

Comment

  1. Fran

    Darren, for the carrots, do you cook them first, or just dump them in raw?

    Reply

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