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Turn an ordinary smoothie into a nutrient-packed weapon against disease with delicious and nourishing superfoods, writes Jane Carstens.

“The term ‘superfood’ started appearing in the late 1990s, and since then consumers have become much more conscious of the nutritional content of food,” says Jessica Loyer from the University of Adelaide’s Food Values Research Group. “Consumers are drawn to superfoods because they view them as somewhere in between food and medicine.”

Leanne Elliston, accredited practising dietitian and program manager at Nutrition Australia (ACT), cautions, “Smoothies are a good way of helping to meet your two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies each day - but they can also be loaded with kilojoules, especially from too much fruit and nut pastes,” she explains. “Many superfoods don’t just do one specific job in the body, but we can use them in ways where their effect is more focused. An example is adding more citrus foods to a winter smoothie which will boost your vitamin C intake to fight colds and flu.” Here are five superfood smoothie recipes from Ellerston, and one from Purely Delicious by The Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter.

Morning magic

Serves 1
½ cup chopped fresh watermelon
1 whole orange, peeled
½ banana
a handful of frozen berries
2 teaspoons chia seeds
Ramp it up: Add greens to boost veggie intake, such as 1 cup of spinach, or one big trimmed silverbeet leaf.

Love your guts

This combination supports production of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.
Serves 1
1-1½ cups of kefir
1 cup frozen mixed berries
½ banana
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 ml aloe vera juice
handful of greens, e.g. spinach, kale, mixed greens
Ramp it up: Add ½ teaspoon of wheatgrass for extra nutritional punch.

The flu fighter

This smoothie is packed full of antioxidants that support the immune system.
Serves 1
½ cup frozen berries
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
½ to 1 cup of almond milk
½ fresh banana
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon pepitas
1 tablespoon coconut flakes, for sprinkling on top
Ramp it up: Add a tablespoon of fresh pomegranate seeds or 1 teaspoon of pomegranate powder for an antioxidant booster shot.

Skin saviour

This creamy smoothie is like a facial in a glass.
Serves 1
¼ avocado
1 cup coconut water
1 cucumber
1 orange (peeled)
1 kiwi fruit
1 teaspoon chlorella
1 teaspoon flaxseed
Ramp it up: Sprinkle bee pollen on top for some protein-packed crunch.

Ease inflammation

Serves 1
This is a two-for-one deal: it helps counter inflammation in the body, and supports digestion.
2 cups chopped watermelon
1 cup of greens e.g. spinach, kale
1 tablespoon chopped parsley and mint
½ cup chopped pineapple
1 orange (peeled)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
Ramp it up: Add some ginger (powdered or fresh) or wheatgrass for an extra digestion kicker, or powdered turmeric for extra anti-inflammatory power.

Beauty smoothie

This smoothie is high in hydrating, restorative minerals and antioxidants that infuse straight into your cells to give your skin the goodness it craves.
Serves 2
1½ cups coconut water
1 cup frozen blueberries
4 leaves of baby cos lettuce
1 tablespoon coconut yoghurt (or natural Greek-style yoghurt or kefir)
small handful of goji berries
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed or whole chia seed
2 tablespoons Healthy Chef Pure Native WPT Protein
1 tablespoon Healthy Chef Organic Superfood.

Top smoothie tips
* Pack your blender in this order: leafy greens, liquids, fruits and veggies, dry ingredients (powders, seeds), and then frozen fruits and ice. Reverse this for a single serve blender.
* You can prep then freeze individual ingredients or almost the whole smoothie ingredient list to make it quicker to grab, blend and go.
* Remove stems and stalks from some of the stronger-tasting greens, such as kale, silverbeet and parsley, to avoid their bitter after taste.

Add a little bit of ...
* Bee pollen The food for young bees contains nearly all of the nutrients our bodies need, and is about 40% protein.
* Berries They come a close second behind herbs and spices as the most antioxidant-packed food category. Collectively, they average nearly 10 times more antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables.
* Chia seeds They are packed with fatty acids, protein, fibre, amino acids, iron, calcium, and antioxidants.
* Chlorella This blue-green algae is rich in phytonutrients.
* Flaxseed Also known as linseeds, these contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (that are different from those found in oily fish), and antioxidant substances called lignans that promote hormonal balance.
* Kale A powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
* Kefir A fermented product from cow, goat or sheep's milk that tastes like a drinkable yoghurt. It’s a rich source of vitamins B12 and K2, calcium, magnesium, biotin, folate, enzymes, and probiotics.
* Ginger Contains a range of important vitamins and minerals as well as the compound gingerol, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
* Goji berries High in protein and fibre, they contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals.
* Turmeric Has antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties, and is loaded with nutrients.
* Wheatgrass High in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, it also contains chlorophyll which is (among other things) a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier.