Popular Smoothie Boosters - Do we need them?
It’s non stop, health fads that will cure you’re next ailment. Health fads that will cure future ailments that you might not experience at all, or maybe just fifty years from now. So why would you spend time boosting a smoothie when you’re already healthy? That’s my biggest thing, spending time making myself eat things that will reduce heart disease, and prevent Alzheimers. The fact is that most of us can’t find the time to eat healthy, let alone find extra healthy habits to affect our future. We are busy! And it’s hard to stay motivated without a direct result. If I’m going to lift weights, it’s because I’d like muscles and if I’m going to run everyday, it’s because I’m hoping to see a difference in my curves by summer.
We want to see change and we are driven into action because of the results we are promised. So why would you rush on Amazon and buy all these seemingly obscure boosters to enhance your smoothie? Especially when we don’t know what they are or if they will actually give us the results they promise.
Lets bust some myths and get some facts about todays most popular smoothie boosting add-ins and see if any of them might work their health magic on you!
Booster 1: Collagen
Not just for your lips in the form of injections, collagen is fantastic for nails, bones, ligaments, tendons and skin. As you get older or during stressful times, your body produces less collagen. Collagen reduces wrinkles and sagging skin, it can alleviate joint pain and maintain and build muscle.
However Collagen comes from animal tissues. As a vegetarian who loves all living things, I can’t handle that it comes from the skin and bones of cattle, horses and pigs, fish scales, and egg shells. Though there are a few companies that have released a 100% plant based collagen.
The difference between them?
- Vegan collagen builders (made with plant-based ingredients) give your body the ingredients needed to make collagen, they don't actually contain collagen.
- Animal-based collagen is made from hooves, bones, and hides of animals (it is the actual collagen from these animals) and the powders can contain contaminants.
Say you don’t care about your skin, why would you want to take collagen?
Having enough collagen in your body is essential to your health. It makes up over 30% of all of your body’s protein.Your skin, bones, intestinal barrier, muscles, tendons, and joints are all dependent on your collagen levels.
So does this popular smoothie booster help when you’re young? Will it keep you younger longer? It's hard to say, as the studies currently done on this subject were small and uncontrolled, meaning that the results are far from guaranteed.
However before you rush to buy this smoothie booster, keep in mind that your collagen production slows when you don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle. Smoking, drinking, not getting enough sleep, and too little exercise all cause your body to produce less collagen. Changing lifestyle habits before adding supplement might be the first course of action.
Boost 2: Spirulina
Yummy, algae. You wouldn’t be caught licking algae off a lake bed but yet, a clean, blue-green powder form of algae is pretty innocent looking, even a little pretty. Spirulina is a cyanobacteria the has been used for centuries. The internet is sporting hundreds of blogs on health benefits, you can get Spirulina in almost any form today but is it all they say it is?
What we do know is it is rich in protein. It contains 60% more protein than most veggies! It is also rich in beta-carotene, various minerals, and gamma linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid.
Today, it’s pushed to prevent, treat, or cure a number of conditions, including high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, depression, viral hepatitis, and malnutrition. However, studies don’t necessarily promote this. According to the Harvard Medical School, there's little or no scientific evidence to back up such claims. Most tests having been small trials with inconclusive results.
Boost 3: Ashwagandha
Used for 3,000 years, Ashwagandha has helped relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration. Though how we know it’s helped people for this long… I’m not sure. Ancient notes? The bottom line is, people see results. I’ve even experienced the pick-me-up elements from Ashwagandha myself.
One test-tube study found that it increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. Though in general, like most herbs, it hasn’t gone through a ton of studies to test it’s results.
Ashwagandha also lowers cortisol levels known as the stress hormone. One study reducing chronic stress in adults by 30% and a different study showing 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia in a group taking ashwagandha for two months.
This is also one of my favorite ingredients that you find in S’moo! We’ve also see the results from our fellow S’moo Babes!
Boost 4: MCT Oil
MCT Oil, which everyone has been talking about, stands for Medium-chain triglycerides. Triglyceride is just a fancy word for fat. If you’re vegetarian, don’t freak out, these fats are mostly from coconuts. And with the wide spread love for the benefits of coconut oil, MCT has caught on.
So what does it do? People say it helps with weight loss. It’s a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. Some studies showing that it increases fullness, increases the body's ability to burn fat, and works great with a Keto diet. Though some of these studies found that MCT oil can aid in weight loss, others found no effect.
MCT oil has also been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and can help lower blood sugar levels. This oil also produces ketones, that can improve brain function in people following a very low-carb diet.
This is an easy boost to add to your smoothie or use it with your cooking. MCT oil won’t turn solid at room temperature or in the fridge, so you never have to melt it before using it in a recipe. However, if cooking with it, keep in mind that heat above 320 degrees can damage the positive fats in this oil.
Boost 5: Matcha
My first job ever was at Starbucks, it was also my first introduction to Matcha. The green powder was hard to work with at first and often I’m disappointed by the prep of this drink when I order it 14 years later. I found that mixing it in a small amount of hot water and getting it to fully dissolve before adding it to milk or a smoothie was the most fool-proof way to not get dry chunks of powder on your tongue.
Why you might want to include Matcha in your smoothie: it has a large a mount of caffeine, and antioxidants. Matcha translates to powdered tea, it’s made from ground tea leaves, minus their vines and stems. Because it’s the full leaf, you’re getting three times the amount of antioxidants compared to regular green tea.
In a small, controlled study, researchers found that matcha improved concentration, reaction time, and memory in its subjects. Many small studies have tested brain function with matcha powder, graining similar, positive results.
If you’ve been trying to leave coffee behind but still need that boost of energy, Matcha is a great substitute. This is because it contains a compound called L-theanine, which alters the effects of caffeine, but without the crash in energy levels that can follow normal caffeine consumption.
Hopefully this little run down gives you a better idea of some smoothie boosters to try and a little background on their effectiveness. It's always important to do your research before you add a new booster to your smoothie!