Put that trusty blender to good use. These healthy smoothie recipes are perfect for post-workout shakes or healthy snacks, and we have the scientific evidence to back it up.
Blenders can be worthwhile investments for those pursuing healthier lifestyles. They make it easier to transform whole foods into satisfying beverages that are faster to consume and packed full of nutrients. Intense exercise takes a harsh toll on your body before strengthening it, so what you ingest afterwards matters. Here are some workout smoothie recipes that are scientifically proven to help speed up recovery.
3 Healthy Post-Workout Smoothie Recipes
1. Banana Cinnamon Smoothie
A banana is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6. Waiting for one to ripen so it develops brown spots will significantly strengthen its immunostimulant effects, according to research published in 2009 by the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology (JSFST). Meanwhile, numerous studies have observed the antioxidant and anticancer effects of cinnamon, which have been discussed in a 2014 report for the journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM). These findings confirm how a banana cinnamon smoothie can be an awesome and effective post-workout shake.
1 sliced ripe banana
1 cup of skim milk
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (or 2-3 drops of cinnamon oil)
1 teaspoon of brown sugar (or raw honey)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3-4 ice cubes
- Add a scoop of protein powder or egg white to help rebuild muscle.
- Use only 1/2 cup of skim milk then add 1/2 cup of nonfat yogurt for some probiotics.
- Substitute skim milk for soy milk, for more protein instead of calcium. Soy has hardly any fat and is just as good as other protein sources, according to a 2015 study by the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
- Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of oats. They help the body reduce harmful HDL cholesterol without affecting good LDL cholesterol, according to a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Try freezing the banana instead of using ice cubes.
2. Papaya Ginger Smoothie
Papaya is an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, choline, vitamin A, and vitamin C. A review published in 2013 by the International Journal of Food Properties states that papaya possesses antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immunostimulant properties. The anticancer activity of papaya is strongest during intermediate phases of ripening, according to a 2017 study published by Scientific Reports. Meanwhile, the book “Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, Second Edition” confirms ginger as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with possible antiemetic and anticancer activity. Mixing papaya and ginger creates a potent and healthy fruit shake.
2 1/2 cups of papaya chunks
2/3 cup nonfat yogurt
1 tablespoon of minced, freshly peeled ginger
1 tablespoon of raw honey
3-4 ice cubes
1 grated piece of turmeric or 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
- Cut down on the ice by refrigerating the papaya for at least one hour.
- Add two teaspoons of chia seeds to supercharge this anti-inflammatory and antioxidant workout smoothie. A review for JSFST in 2015 notes how chia seeds improve the immune system, control diabetes or hypertension, and even promote mental health.
- Add the leaves from one sprig of mint, or add freshly squeezed lemon juice for some zest.
- Add a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil.
- Use 1 capsule of curcumin-piperine powder instead of turmeric. Curcumin is the most active ingredient of turmeric that modulates cell signaling, according to a 2013 study for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Journal. However, there’s hardly any curcumin actually present in the turmeric root. Use a curcumin supplement with some piperine from black pepper. Piperine boosts curcumin’s bioavailability by 2,000%, as indicated in chapter 6 of the 10th edition of “Foods”.
3. Black Forest Chocolate Smoothie
Reward yourself after a hard workout with this decadent recovery smoothie. Use raw, unsweetened chocolate or cacao powder to unlock the real power of this healthy shake. A comprehensive 2011 review, published in the Antioxidants and Redux Signaling journal, recognizes how cacao clearly exhibits cardiovascular advantages—with potential immunostimulant, neuroprotective, and anticancer characteristics. It also contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. However, those benefits are unfortunately offset when chocolate is commercially presented with tons of sugar.
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
1 cup of pitted fresh cherries
1 small banana or 1/2 large banana
1 1/2 cups of skim milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey
3-4 ice cubes
- Use two scoops of chocolate whey protein powder instead of cacao powder to rebuild muscle.
- Mix in some blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries if you have some.
- Forego the ice cubes by freezing your fresh berries.
- Add a handful of baby spinach for more nutrients.
- Substitute skim milk with almond milk or coconut milk. Coconut milk is much higher in saturated fat, but a more varied source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Commercially available almond milk usually only contains 2% almonds; it’s mostly made of water and sweeteners. You can make your own almond milk by soaking a cup of almonds overnight, then peeling and blending them. A 2015 study on almonds, published in the Journal for the American Heart Association (JAHA), states that substituting high-carb snacks with almonds is a simple strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease.