(NaturalNews) Smoothies have been in fashion for quite some time now as a quick, nutrient dense and health-inspiring way to keep the body humming and happy. Even so, it's easy to fall into a rut and miss out on a world of unusual combinations that act as potent functional foods. Whether taming inflammation, guarding against cancer or boosting energy, the following four examples can breathe new life into your daily smoothie habit.
Anti-inflammatory 1 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons grated ginger 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (or coconut cream, diluted) Raw honey to taste
Both turmeric and ginger lend substantial anti-inflammatory action. Curcumin (found in turmeric) is also known to support liver health. Piperine - the active compound in black pepper - helps to increase the bioavailability of turmeric. What's more, medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) found in coconut milk assist in reducing inflammatory response.
Spicy green superfood 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves A handful of arugula 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (or coconut cream, diluted) Stevia extract to taste
Oregano herb is antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic. Peppery-tasting arugula is an exceptional source of iron, as well as vitamins A, C and K. Arugula also contains glucosinolates -- compounds that tame free radicals in the body and prevent cancer. Coconut milk is rich in lauric acid which demonstrates antibacterial and antifungal properties. And stevia will add a touch of sweetness without aggravating fungal infections like candida.
Energy elixir 1 tablespoon bee pollen 2 cups almond or hemp milk 1 teaspoon chia seed 1/2 cup frozen acai berries Raw honey to taste
Brimming with protein and B-vitamins, bee pollen is one of the best foods to consume if you require more energy throughout the day. Chia seeds are another excellent source of protein and are known to enhance physical stamina. Indigenous to the Amazon, acai berry is an energy-boosting fruit, which also assists with weight loss, cardiovascular health and the prevention of cancer.
One of the most bioavailable and concentrated sources of vitamin C in the world, the camu camu berry will give the immune system a major boost in no time flat. Similarly, probiotic strains - like those found in kefir - also enhance immunity, thereby aiding in the defense against colds, influenza and other illness. Antibacterial and antiviral, aronia berry contains potent compounds that fortify the body against infectious disease. Not only that, the berry is a natural cancer fighter and helps to prevent cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, lungs, ovaries and skin. A brilliant purple fruit, elderberry stimulates the immune system and is considered a time-honored herbal remedy for reducing the duration of the flu.
A word of caution regarding elderberry: Do not exceed one ounce per day or use the berry for more than five consecutive days. Those who are pregnant or who have an autoimmune disorder should not consume elderberry.
A few tips for keeping it healthy and real
Always choose organically grown ingredients for ultimate benefit, nutrition and safety. Several brands of tinned coconut cream now come in BPA-free cans -- try to seek out these products in order to steer clear of this mighty endocrine disrupter. To avoid problematic additives like sugar, carrageenan and gum binders in pre-made, non-dairy milk substitutes, have a look at these recipes for coconut, almond and hemp milk.
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.