Smoothies can help pack healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet when you are on the go. The addition of protein powder and other dietary supplements can increase the nutritional value of your smoothies even further. However, you want these supplements to be absorbed in your body not stuck in the bottom of your glass or the sides of the blender. Some vitamins and minerals are better absorbed in combination; having the broadest spectrum of nutrients in your smoothie helps your body get the most out of it.
Add chopped fruit and vegetables to the blender. These may be added fresh or frozen; the latter can chill your smoothie without the need for ice. Fruits and veggies commonly used in smoothies include berries, bananas, peaches, mangoes and spinach. Avoid using fruits with large seeds or tough peels.
Use water as the base for the smoothie rather than milk. This will help added supplements to dissolve.
Mix protein powder separately in a shaker bottle or blend it first before adding fruit. Protein powder that sits in water tends to clump. One to two scoops of protein powder would typically be mixed with 6 to 8 ounces of water. Protein powder also contains -- by requirement -- a spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals.
Mix finely powdered supplements -- such as creatine, green-foods supplements, vitamins or mineral mixes -- with a small amount of water before adding to the mixture in the blender. This helps ensure that they dissolve properly and don't end up clumping or sticking to the side of the blender container.
Add coarse powders -- such as flaxseed meal, nut meal, seeds or fiber supplements -- directly to the blender.
Add oils -- such as flaxseed oil and other essential fatty acid supplements -- directly to the blender once other liquid has been added.
Blend the mixture into a fine texture to thoroughly dissolve all of the added supplements. Drink the smoothie immediately, as many supplements may not be chemically stable in water -- the level of those available to your body will decline as the smoothie sits.
- Gourmet Nutrition; John Berardi, Ph.D., et al.
- Juicing-For-Health.com: Healthy Smoothies
- European Food Information Council: Nutrient Bioavailability
- Nutrient bioavailability -- the proportion of nutrients that your body can absorb -- is complex, being affected by your age, diet, health, activity level and nutritional status, which involves the supply of nutrients already in your body. Having fat present in your smoothie helps fat-soluble vitamins such as carotenes get absorbed better. The vitamin C present in many fruits and the protein from milk or protein powder can also help minerals -- notably iron -- be better absorbed, according to the European Food Information Council. However, some nutrients limit the ability of others to be absorbed, such as calcium and iron from non-meat sources. Limit the amount of total supplements in a diverse diet to reduce the incidence of nutrient interference.
- Consult with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet if you are currently taking medication or are under medical care.
Chris Daniels covers advances in nutrition and fitness online. Daniels has numerous certifications and degrees covering human health, nutritional requirements and sports performance. An avid cyclist, weightlifter and swimmer, Daniels has experienced the journey of fitness in the role of both an athlete and coach.