Protein is a vital part of healthy nutrition and contrary to popular belief it is not just responsible for muscle building. Protein is a micro nutrient that is used throughout the body to repair skin, cartilage, bones and improve blood quality.
Adding protein into smoothies is an excellent way to boost their nutritional value. In many cases you would barely even notice the ingredients as they come in the form of seeds and nuts. Additionally, there are also many fruits and vegetables that contain fair amounts of protein.
Adding protein rich foods to smoothies is the easiest way for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to add more protein to their diet.
Here are 7 of the best protein sources for smoothies:
These nuts are a great all-rounder when it comes to nutrition. They provide healthy fats and fiber to leave you feeling fuller for longer. They contain around 6 gram of protein per ounce.
The protein is primarily from the skin, so make sure you don’t use blanched (skinless) almonds in your smoothies.
The protein and nutrients found in almonds have been studied in the New England Journal of Medicine, which has found that almonds can aid in weight control, a healthy heart and can help to manage symptoms of diabetes.
Medical studies that were later published in the Circulation Journal also assessed how almonds are beneficial when eaten as snacks. The studies found that they can reduce the risk of heart disease significantly. This is mostly as a result of the their high fiber and protein content.
So almonds is number 1 on our list of 7 of the best protein sources for smoothies. Don’t skip out on these little super heroes in your smoothies!
2. Chia Seeds
Being over 25% protein, chia seeds are exceptionally beneficial ingredients for smoothies and meals and have been used in everything from breakfasts to desserts.
These gluten-free seeds can be eaten raw or cooked and have been used as a key protein food source as far back as the Aztec times.
Chia seeds are a great addition to smoothies. Its texture is great to thicken smoothies. If you don’t know they are there, you won’t taste them. 🙂 You can also opt to add them on top for a crunchy layer and different texture dynamic.
Check out my favorite smoothie recipe with chia seeds here.
Many people are surprised to learn that leafy greens are quite high in protein. Want to know more? Then check out this article about the protein content of plants.
Adding spinach to smoothies is a great starting point for those who are not used to green smoothies, because they have very little flavor so won’t upset the taste you are going for.
Be warned however that spinach can thicken a smoothie so you should make sure to account for this with the liquid base you are choosing.
Avocados are excellent to add to smoothies because they help to create a creamy texture without adding dairy or banana to smoothies.
They are also full of healthy fats that promote heart health and could reduce high cholesterol levels. 1/5 of an avocado contains approximately 1 gram of protein. This may not sound like a lot, but added to the other phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that they provide, it helps to boost the effects.
Avocados are particularly beneficial for weight loss, because they keep you feeling full!
5. Pumpkin Seeds
With over 7 grams of protein per serving, it is easy to see why pumpkin seeds are a favorite snack among athletes and weight lifters.
They are easy to chow down as a snack, add as a topping to your smoothies or blend them right in.
They are also high in antioxidants and iron which are great anti-inflammatories.
The protein in pumpkin seeds can help to leave you feeling satisfied so is really beneficial in a meal replacement smoothie. This is why pumpkin seeds is number 5 on our list of 7 of the best protein sources for smoothies.
Kiwis are an interesting fruit, because not only do they provide around 1 gram of protein per serving they can also help the body break down other proteins in the body. Studies by the Advanced Food Nutrition Research found that, because they contain an enzyme called actinidin kiwis can improve the digestion of other protein rich foods. This reduces the stress placed on the digestive organs and can relieve digestive discomfort.
Kiwis are delicious additions to smoothies and work really well to offset the strong taste of green smoothies. They also pair very well with mango!
7. Sesame Seeds
These nifty little seeds are really underrated. They are one of the oldest plant species to be found that was grown for their oil and seeds rather than leaves or fruit.
There is around 2 grams of protein per tablespoon. Studies have shown that the seeds and the oil derivative have cholesterol fighting effects, which can reduce plaque buildup in the arteries and can improve health.
They are most commonly used in baking, but are perfect to add more protein to smoothies.
You now have our list of our best protein sources for smoothies and can use it to sneak more protein into your green smoothies. It will increase their nutritional value and support your health overall. Be sure to consume your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein each day. This can help your body operate effectively and can help you eat less.
Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, which of these 7 of the best protein sources for smoothies, you will be adding to your smoothies?