Smoothies are a nutritious way of getting a good supply of vitamins, nutrients, good sugars and antioxidants into your system. The last term may not mean much to many people, as it is often used as a tag line for doctors and health salesmen to make it sound like their products are better than others, but antioxidants are a very important part of a healthy diet.
When your body breaks down food, chemicals, and other substances in your body, a great amount of that break down is in the form of oxidation. Like rust, oxidation occurs when oxygen bonds with other materials, to make a different kind of material. When oxidation happens, it creates something called a free radical. Those free radicals are harmful to your health; they can penetrate cells, can cause damage to the cells, or worse, they can damage your chromosomes. That damage can cause your cells to go out of control, and voila, you have one of the causes of cancer and other illnesses.
So, getting these free radicals out of your system, and reducing their creation can reduce your chances of cancer. That is why antioxidants are so important in your diet, they reduce the reactions that create the free radicals that harm your cells and cause cancer, heart disease, even Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Luckily, some of the tastiest fruits and berries out there are also have some of the highest concentrations of free radicals. You might even be putting them into your smoothies all ready, just because they taste good.
Some of the highest antioxidant providing berries are:
Blueberries – A single cup of wild blueberries have almost 10 times the USDA recommended minimum intake of antioxidants, 10 times! Even cultivated blueberries have 6-7 times the USDA recommended minimum pre cup.
Cranberries – Not always the first choice for tossing into a healthy smoothie, but these tart berries have as many anti-oxidants as a cup of cultivated blueberries. Not to everyone’s taste, but they just add that little bit of contrast to a sweet smoothie you’ll love.
Blackberries, Raspberries, Marion berries – All of the berries from this family are brimming with antioxidants. Best of all, they are extremely popular, and you can usually find them as a lovely added flavor for your smoothie.
Strawberries – That’s right, the staple fruit of the smoothie is filled with antioxidant goodness. Not as much as some as the listed above, but a cup’s worth of them still have more than the recommended daily USDA value for antioxidants.
All of the above berries make fantastic additions to your daily smoothie. That said, nutritionists have said that as much as those berries provide so many antioxidants, our bodies aren’t built to take them all in a berry’s uncooked form. So they recommend getting more then you need, and mixing and matching your intake so that you get the most out of what you eat. What more can you ask for? We’re giving you an excuse to load up your daily smoothie with delicious berries of all kinds and you can truly say you are doing it for better health!