Summer, for a lot of us (myself included), means more time outside sweating it out in the heat and sunshine. There is nothing more satisfying on a hot summer day then cooling off with a cold, delicious açaí bowl packed with healthy nutrients. If you’re like me- you love adding superfood boosters to help power-up your bowls with a charged punch of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. We understand that with all the different options out there it can be confusing to know which foods are the BEST, so we compiled a list of powders, oils, etc. that are awesome boosters for açaí bowls, smoothies, and other healthy treats!
Maca is a South American-grown root that is very nutrient dense and a significant source of protein, fiber, magnesium, and calcium. Maca is also an “adaptogen.” This means that it helps the body naturally adapt to stress (when consumed consistently over time), and who doesn’t need help with that sometimes? It is also said to help balance hormone levels, and boost energy, mood, and memory. It has a slightly sweet, malt-like flavor which blends great into smoothies.
Mushroom Powders (Reishi)
Reishi is a Chinese mushroom that has been used medicinally for thousands of years and translated as the “mushroom of immortality.” Throughout history it has been tied to increased immune function, longevity, and general well being. Reishi is another adaptogen like maca root, aiding the body in adapting to stress. Reishi can have a pretty bitter taste, however when you pair it with fruit in smoothies that bitterness will be masked while still getting all of the benefits!
It is very likely that you have heard of chia seeds. These little energy-packed seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, iron, magnesium, and help lower cholesterol. Having adequate amounts of fiber in your diet are extremely beneficial for balancing blood sugar levels and good digestion. If you have seen them when put into liquids, you’ll note that they create a gel-like substance around the seed. This is great for absorption, helps with the feeling of fullness, and absorbs water in the stomach. Also great about these seeds, they have no flavor and blend very well into smoothies! Add them to any smoothie you make for additional healthy fats and fiber.
MCT oil is getting a lot of buzz in the health and wellness world recently. MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, a type of fat that can be found in coconuts. Why is fat so important? It is one of our body’s main sources of fuel and very important for overall health, boosting brain function, and absorbing nutrients. Fat is your friend! Now this type of fat is becoming increasingly popular because unlike their long-chain triglyceride counterparts, they are absorbed by the liver and more readily available as an immediate source of energy. It is also completely plant-based so it is excellent for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet! It is still liquid at room temperature so blends very easily, and even better it has no taste. Add in 1 Tbsp of MCT oil (brand we prefer? Maybe nutiva?) to any of your smoothies for long-lasting energy!
Loaded with brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, this is not an oil you want to skip out in in your smoothies. It also aids the digestive system by relieving symptoms of constipation. Flaxseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid which may have properties that boost heart health and immunity. Pro-tip: buy the oil instead of the seeds for better absorption of nutrients.
If you’re looking for a smoothie that tastes like a dessert, you have to try adding cacao powder! Cacao has a bit of a bitter taste, but blended with natural sugars from fruit makes a great treat. Cacao is packed with antioxidants, may help lower blood pressure, increase circulation, and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins.
This blue-green algae powder may look intimidating, but we urge you to give it a try. It has so many nutritious benefits from being an excellent source of vitamin B12, improves stamina, is rich in antioxidants, and beta-carotene. Not to mention it is also a complete protein (just 1 Tbsp = 4 gm protein)!
Matcha has generated a LOT of hype over the past few years and rightfully so! If you’re somewhat caffeine sensitive but looking to add some into your morning routine without overdoing it, a matcha smoothie is the way to go. It has less caffeine than coffee or espresso, but will give you a nice boost of energy without the jitters due to its calming properties (how amazing is that?!), get your metabolism going, and is high in antioxidants.
Pro tip: when purchasing matcha powder, look for an unsweetened powder with no added sugars for the most benefit. Matcha can have a bitter taste by itself, but adding your own sweetener such as fruit, honey, or cinnamon will do the trick and taste great!
Want more tips? Check out the blog HERE!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!
We’re so excited to have Kathleen interning for us here at ISN! Kathleen graduated from UMass Amherst in May with her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is starting her Dietetic Internship in NYC March 2018! Growing up she knew she wanted to work in a field that allowed her to help others, and as she got older she became more drawn to the health and wellness world. Kathleen knew she found her calling from her very first nutrition class at UMass and knew she wanted to be a RD. She is passionate about leading an active, healthy lifestyle, intuitive eating, and recently acquired her 200 hour yoga teacher certification. Kathleen is so excited to share her passion with all of you!