Powder-Free Protein-Rich Green Smoothies for Athletes
Green smoothies are all the rage these days more popularly for its weight loss benefits. However, green smoothies just don’t prove to be a health advantage for obese and overweight individuals but even for those who want to maintain wellness, and, as what a recent documentary has shown – it is greatly beneficial for athletes, too.
The study by Sergei Boutenko showed that 10 superathletes who each drank a quart of green smoothie daily, for 6 weeks, experienced significant improvements in their bodies. The participants were suffering from different injuries before starting their smoothie regimen, including sore shoulders and elbows. Amazingly, these health problems slowly disappeared and they were even able to resume doing workouts that they couldn’t do before due to their injuries. When the athletes stopped drinking their smoothies after 6 weeks, the soreness started to flare up again.
Physically active individuals, athletes and those who work out need more protein ingredients in their smoothie regimens. Proteins help to build, repair, and maintain lean muscle mass that is maximized during exercise sessions and sporting events. When the body does not have enough protein, it can have a harmful effect on the fat-to-muscle conversion and proper metabolism. And what best way is there to easily and effectively spike consumption of proteins but through green smoothies since our bodies can only take as much fruits and green vegetables through consumption of table food.
To increase protein intake in green smoothie drinks, there needs to be an increase of high-protein ingredients. While protein powders are in abundance and may conveniently be used to achieve this purpose, these are processed ingredients. In addition, most protein powders aren’t budget-friendly. Besides, why resort to buying this when there are natural and healthier ways to make protein-rich green smoothies.
Try these 5 protein-packed real foods instead.
1. Chia Seeds – Since the ancient times, chia seeds have already been considered as a superfood because of its amazing nutrient content. It’s power packed with 4 grams of protein per tablespoon, in addition to fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. Just soak it for a few hours and its ready to be added to be blended in.
2. Oats – Many studies have proven that oats are beneficial for heart health, weight loss and diabetes. With 3-5 grams of protein per ½ cup, it’s very easy to have a protein-rich drink. Add 2 cups spinach which contains about 5 grams per cup and you easily get 13-15 grams of protein!
3. Kale – Don’t just add any green to your green smoothies because there are greens that are protein-packed like kale. One full cup of kale has about 3 grams of protein. You think a cup is too much? You will not notice its taste as soon as it is blended with your choice of fruits.
4. Almond, Soy or Organic Milk – Dairy is still an all-time excellent source of protein. A glass of any of these milk products will give you 6 – 8 grams protein. Use milk instead of water in your smoothies and you don’t only have a more delicious smoothie, but a protein-rich drink, too.
5. Hemp Seeds – Many people choose hemp seeds as their favorite protein ingredient and for good reason. Two tablespoons of this food product immediately gives about 9 grams of protein. And it doesn’t stop at being high up there on the protein content as it’s also packed with magnesium, iron and omega-3s. Bonus health tip: The healthy fats in this smoothie ingredient complement to help the body absorb the nutrients of kale better.