• Erica Larson

Recipe: Low Sugar, Antioxidant Smoothie

Updated: Apr 2

There are so many "buzzwords" in the health and wellness industry that leave us wondering what they mean and why they are important. So, let's first figure out why antioxidants are beneficial for our health!


Antioxidants are discussed a lot because they are powerful for many reasons. Essentially, antioxidants are molecules that fight and neutralize the free radicals in your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can harm your cells, cell membrane, and DNA. This is why a high level of free radicals can lead to illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and even speed up the aging process. Environmental and lifestyle factors that can increase free radicals in the body include air pollution, tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, high blood sugar, and so on.


Your body naturally produces antioxidants including alpha lipic acid and glutathione, but the other antioxidants must be obtained through foods and supplementation to help your immune system fight off infection. Some of the most well known sources of antioxidants are Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Berries, citrus fruits, green tea, dark leafy greens, and dark chocolate are some of the highest antioxidant whole foods. These fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants because they contain Vitamins C and E, as well as plant chemicals including carotenoids and flavonoids.


In addition to the basics of what antioxidants are and why our bodies need them, they are also great for skincare and anti-aging! If you pay close attention to skincare, you have probably noticed that Vitamin C and Vitamin E are prominent in a lot of products, and that is why! Antioxidants also contain natural anti-inflammatory properties. Skincare has as much to do with what we put into our body as it does what we put on it. So not only do antioxidants help maintain optimal health and immunity, they can slow the aging process down.


This smoothie is made up of various superfoods I love to provide my body with before an important photoshoot, around times of travel, and after a tough workout. I will explain why below ;)






Nutritional Spotlight:


Acai:

The acai berry has the highest antioxidant count of all berries - I have an entire post dedicated to this superberry. These antioxidants make acai anti-inflammatory and great for immune function and slowing oxidative stress in the body over time. Acai is low in sugar and high in fiber which is a great combination for healthy digestion, weight loss, and appetite suppression. Acai is a great source of heart healthy fats making this berry an anti-inflammatory superfood that helps improve cardiovascular health. An added bonus of heart healthy fats like Omega 3 - it is great for skin and hair!

Avocado: Avocados are high in fiber, healthy fats, and potassium, but still remain low in carbohydrates. Avocados are anti-inflammatory as well, while also helping to regulate blood sugar levels, and assist in nutrient absorption. They are the perfect low sugar addition to this smoothie to add thickness and creaminess.

Blueberries

The powerful antioxidants that blueberries contain can both power the immune system and slow down the aging process. In addition to vitamin C, blueberries also contain notable amounts of B vitamins and fiber. Studies have shown that blueberries are beneficial for both improved eyesight and memory function as well.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a powerful and tasty way to spice up your smoothie without adding sugar and unnecssary calories! It helps to regulate blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and strengthen the cardiovascular system.

Raw Cacao: Raw cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron, it has more antioxidants than berries, and it contains one of the highest food-based sources of magnesium! Cacao is known to support heart health, balance blood sugar, and regulate mood. In addition to magnesium, cacao also contains chromium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. I am a huge proponent for including cacao into your diet - not all chocolate is bad!

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are also anti-inflammatory and help to regulate blood sugar. They have high amounts of fiber, calcium, and healthy fats.

Flax Seeds: Flax seeds are another ingredient known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Flax seeds are very high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acids. These nutrients are what give flax seeds their power to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Flax seeds either come whole, or ground/milled, and for this smoothie I like to use the ground flax rather than whole seeds.

Maca: Maca root is very powerful due to high amounts of amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes. Maca helps regulate hormones, increase energy and reduce anxiety (which we can all use a little help with right now!)

Spinach

Like all dark leafy greens, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. Spinach is high in fiber, vitamins A & K, and antioxidants. This is why it is a key ingredient to all of my smoothies!

Strawberries

Strawberries are very high in antioxidants and contain high amounts of vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and potassium. They can help lower LDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.

Turmeric: Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse a natural antioxidant due to its high concentration of curcumin. It is widely used for joint health and pain relief. Turmeric can also help settle the stomach and prevent indigestion.

Plant Based Protein: I use the Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein because it is raw and plant-based with complete amino acid profiles, containing Arginine, Lysine, Leucine, and branched chain amino acids. Protein is essential for muscle growth, maintenance, and assisting our bodies in going through daily functions. My favorite flavors are vanilla and chocolate, and with these ingredients either of those tastes great!



Fruit can either be frozen or fresh! If you do not have acai puree, you can omit or add more berries (or any other fruit on hand.)



Ingredients:

1 Packet Frozen Acai Puree

1/4 Cup blueberries

1/4 Cup Strawberries

1/2 Avocado

1 Cup dairy free milk

1 Scoop Plant Based Protein

1 Tbsp. flax seeds

1 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 Tbsp. cacao powder

1 tsp maca powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground turmeric


Directions:

1.) Place all ingredients in a blender until your desired consistency and thickness! Sprinkle cinnamon or any other toppings you wish, and enjoy :)




#smoothie #recipe #nutrition #vegan #glutenfree #paleo

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