15 Toppings and Ingredients That Boost Your Smoothie Bowl
Before you turn up your nose at algae, get familiar with its nutrition benefits. Chlorella grows in fresh water and is a good source of protein, fiber, and chlorophyll, which supports the body's natural detoxification system. This superfood is rich in antioxidants that can help lower unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. Soon you'll be seeing it in more workout supplements as it may also help you exercise longer. Need some help falling asleep? Chlorella also contains GABA, a messenger in the brain that helps promote calm and could help you get better rest.
Pomegranate Arils (Seeds)
Decorate your smoothie bowl with some ruby bling! Either pick up a pomegranate and remove the arils yourself, or get ready-to-eat POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils straight from California. A 4.3-oz cup has only 100 calories and plenty of filling fiber. They're also rich in unique polyphenols that help protect your body from free radical damage.
If you haven't tried them already, pomegranate arils have a delicious burst of juicy sweet flavor and a satisfying crunch. They're only in season from October to January, but stock up—they keep well in the freezer for several months.
Chia seeds were called "running food" by the Aztecs because they provided lasting energy on expeditions. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
In 2 tablespoons of chia seeds you're getting 11 grams of fiber and 30 percent of the magnesium and manganese most people need in a day. These minerals promote bone health, and fiber and magnesium also help keep your blood sugar stable. The result? These little guys could help you get less hangry!
With 9 grams of fiber in just one cup, raspberries help you stay full longer and support a happy, healthy digestive system. Compared to other berries, raspberries are one of the lowest in natural sugar. They're high in vitamin C, serving up 60 percent Daily Value per cup. Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, a protein that's essential for gorgeous skin.
The gorgeous red color is a hint that raspberries are packed with phytochemicals that could help slow down the aging process and fight off diseases such as cancer. Fountain of youth, perhaps? Raspberry season is only a few weeks long, but frozen raspberries have the flavor and nutrition locked in. Keep your freezer stocked up and try this yummy Raspberry Mango Smoothie Bowl.
Cacao is popular among raw foodies because it's rich in theobromine, which may help manage depression. Cacao (and cocoa) are rich in antioxidants called flavanols. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder have more antioxidant activity than 3 cups of green tea or 1 cup of blueberries!
Flavanols may also help protect the circulatory system. They reduce blood pressure, make blood platelets less likely to clot, and improve blood flow to the heart and brain. Eating chocolate in moderation (1 ounce of dark chocolate or raw cacao 3 or 4 times per week) is associated with better heart health due to reduced blood pressure and better functioning of blood vessels.
Look for Greek yogurt that has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, such as Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt. It has 15 grams of high-quality protein in a single-serve container and the bonus of vitamin D. Another benefit: This yogurt contains 6 grams of fiber, a nutrient known to help promote satiety! This prebiotic fiber acts as fuel for the healthy bacteria in your gut, which is beneficial for your overall health.
This golden spice isn't just for curries. It's delicious and adds a gorgeous yellow hue to your smoothie bowl—plus, it could help boost your health from your head to your toes (literally). Turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound that may help fight cancer and prevent Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric may also help prevent and manage inflammation and pain in arthritis.
Before you go pouring a bunch of bran into your smoothie bowl, did you know there's a prettier, yummier, and healthier option? One cup of blackberries has more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal (and they win for taste hands-down). They're also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that may help boost your immune system.
So what do you do when these bite-size gems aren't in season? Get frozen blackberries all year long! Most of these blackberries are grown in Oregon on family farms where they're picked at the peak of ripeness. Then they're frozen within 24 hours to lock in the nutrients, flavor, and juiciness. As a result, frozen blackberries can be even higher in antioxidants and vitamins than fresh berries that have traveled long distances to get to your grocery store. Plus, keeping a bag in your freezer means less waste and easy access for adding blackberries to your recipes.
This Peruvian root was used by the Inca people as an aphrodisiac and energy booster. Maca is rich in B vitamins, which promote a healthy metabolism and help convert your food into energy. It's an excellent source of vitamin C and iron, which is a perfect pairing because vitamin C boosts iron absorption. Add maca powder to your smoothie bowl (and your man's) and you could boost your mood and get some potential benefits in the bedroom.
Kale and spinach are on a regular rotation in your smoothie bowls, but now there's a new green on the scene. When you look at nutritional value per calorie, watercress gets a perfect score of 100, putting so-called superfoods like kale (score of 49) and cauliflower (score of 25) to shame.
Watercress is also rich in nitrates, compounds that can lower blood pressure. Another bonus: This leafy green is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals that help preserve your eyesight for better window shopping.
Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are an excellent source of magnesium: 1/4 cup gives you about half of what you need in a day. Magnesium is essential for the growth and maintenance of bones and for nerve and muscle function. It also helps move stool through the intestine.
Pumpkin seeds contain different types of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off viruses and bacteria. Take that, cold and flu season!
Matcha green tea powder has more than 10 times the antioxidants of regular green tea because you're getting the whole tea leaves instead of just water with tea steeped in it. In particular, matcha contains triple the amount of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant linked to heart health, compared to regular green tea.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants called catechins that may help prevent and fight cancer. It may also help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
You may think of sweet potatoes as fries rather than as smoothie material, but the sweet flavor and smooth texture make cooked sweet potato perfect in your smoothie bowl.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, with half a sweet potato providing 150 percent of your daily requirements. Vitamin A helps keep your immune system strong and your eyes healthy. Pro tip: The richer the orange color of your sweet potato, the more vitamin A it contains.
100% Orange Juice
Add some natural sweetness to your smoothie bowl with 100 percent orange juice. There are no added sugars, plus 100 percent OJ is an excellent source of vitamin C, phytochemicals and other potential disease-fighting nutrients. Dietitian tip: Make sure your juice is 100% orange juice and not orange "drink," "punch," "cocktail" or "-ade," sneaky ways to say "added sugar."
Want your smoothie bowl to taste like a creamsicle? Blend 100 percent OJ with almond milk, Greek yogurt and ice for tasty (and healthy) way to start your morning.
Want your smoothie bowl to taste like pie? Cinnamon adds a slightly sweet flavor to your smoothie, complementing the taste of the fruit and other superfood ingredients. Have a study session coming up? Be sure to feature this ingredient in your smoothie bowl. The smell of cinnamon can help boost your memory.
This spice can also help control blood sugar levels and may improve heart health. Keeping blood sugar in check isn't only important for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, but can help lower insulin levels to prevent your body from storing belly fat.