Whatever your reason for turning on your blender, you will benefit from the health-boosting properties that come with dumping the following smoothie ingredients recommended by your dietitian for longevity.
The best smoothie ingredients for longevity, according to RDs
Blackberries are omnipotent, so it makes sense for these delicious, high-fiber berries to work to enhance longevity. “They protect our cells from damage, reduce inflammation and slow down age-related changes in our brain,” says nutritionist JuicePlus + Kim Kimzzell, PhD, RD. “Participants in a 2012 study who ate the most blueberries and strawberries delayed their memory loss by up to two and a half years compared with those who did not report eating berries. “In another study, healthy people aged 65 to 77 who drank wild bilberry juice – equal to one and a quarter cups of fresh blueberries – for 12 weeks had improved blood flow to the brain and better working memory,” he said.
2. Greek yogurt
Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN notes that for a smoothie to be a balanced meal choice, it must provide adequate protein. Greek yogurt manages to do just that also providing other essential nutrients such as calcium and probiotics. “Calcium is synonymous with bone health and even plays a role in blood clotting and muscle contractions,” says Rifkin. “Bone growth and changes are constant throughout life and calcium is one of the key nutrients to support bone integrity. Depending on your protein needs – and your taste and texture preferences – half to a full cup of Greek yogurt can be added to your smoothie.
We do not often think of beans as a staple for smoothies, and that is a shame. Many people living in the Blue Zones (the regions of the world that host the longest living people) have been found to eat half a cup to a full cup of beans daily. “Beans contain fiber, heart-healthy fiber, iron, folic acid and antioxidants,” says Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN, creator of 2B Mindset and 2B Pregnant for Beachbody. “One could add white beans to a vanilla bean smoothie or black beans to a cocoa powder smoothie.”
Another popular Blue Zones food is nuts. “Most people in the Blue Zone eat about two ounces, about two handfuls, of nuts a day,” says Muhlstein. Nuts are full of protein, fiber and important minerals such as magnesium, selenium and iron.
If you are going to make a smoothie, Muhlstein recommends exchanging processed fruit juices and choosing water and fresh or frozen fruit instead. This will make the drink more moisturizing and full of fiber. “Water is the most commonly consumed beverage among the Blue Zones where people drink about seven glasses a day,” says Muhlstein. Adding a little water to a smoothie can help prevent this tedious need to stop and mix an overly viscous preparation from forming in your blender.
Spinach is extremely rich in nutrients and can enhance longevity. “Researchers have found that older people with high levels of carotenoids in their blood – found in green greens – have longer telomeres, which are the protective end caps on chromosomes,” says Dr. Dalzell. “Younger adults have experienced similar results. “Those with the highest carotenoid levels had telomeres five to eight percent higher than those with the lowest carotenoid levels.” Dr. Dalzell goes on to explain that “current studies suggest that longer telomeres may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, and lead to longer life expectancy.”
Dr. Dalzell notes that the natural substances in soy can help fight heart disease, osteoporosis and skin aging — all of which are linked to lowering age-related estrogen levels. The researchers found that adults who consumed 25 grams of soy protein a day for six weeks had significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels. “A daily intake of 38 grams of soy improved bone density and reduced the risk of fracture in perimenopausal women.” Try adding tofu silk to smoothies for the above benefits (it will add tons of vegetable protein to your drink as well).
Digestion can be slowed down as we age and plums are a great way to add fiber that strengthens the gut to your diet. “In addition to improving regularity, researchers have found that adults who consume 80 grams of fiber-rich plums — the equivalent of five or six plums a day — have higher levels of bifidobacteria,” says Dr. Dalzell. “This is a form of healthy bacteria. in the gut that help remove unwanted bacteria associated with the aging process. “Plums are also extremely rich in antioxidants, making them powerful cell protectors.”
9. Bee pollen
This naturally sweet additive smoothie contains many health benefits. “Bee pollen serves as an antioxidant to promote cellular health and is also believed to boost the immune system, relieve inflammation and boost liver health,” says Rifkin. “Consider adding up to two tablespoons of bee pollen to your smoothie for these longevity-enhancing benefits.”
10. Prepared green tea
Every smoothie needs some kind of liquid to mix the ingredients together — and if you do not want to go for water, Rifkin loves to use green tea. “In addition, compared to water, it will offer a number of additional health benefits,” he says. “For example, it contains powerful antioxidants to support your cellular health and may even help protect your mind and protect your body from heart disease and cancer.” Depending on the texture of your smoothie, you may want to add about one cup of green tea in your next smoothie.
For more on the benefits of green tea that enhance longevity according to an RD, watch this video:
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