We’re fans of the kitchen-sink smoothie—all of the fruits and vegetables we’ve got in the freezer, plus whatever protein powder we’re trying out. But there’s something to be said about choosing ingredients that fulfill a similar health need, or that contain vitamins and minerals that work synergistically with each other. Since that’s significantly more research than we’d like to do on the daily, we put together this cheat sheet of ingredient pairings. These pairs are great to throw into any existing smoothie recipe, plus they’ll enhance each other’s health benefits. After all, some things are just better together.
Here are the ingredient pairings we love in our smoothies, and why they’re so healthy. If some of these sound a little weird to you, don’t worry—once they’re blended up with your favorite ingredients, you won’t even know the difference.
First, start with a base of….
- A frozen banana
- A handful of your favorite frozen berries or fruit
- Alternative milk, coconut water, or fresh juice, if additional liquid is needed
Next, add one of the following pairs…
PAPAYA + PINEAPPLE
Papaya and pineapple are both rich in enzymes that aid digestion: papain and bromelain, respectively. They’re also both high in water content and fiber, and can especially help you more easily digest protein.
We like to add: kefir
SPINACH + ORANGE
Spinach is an excellent source of iron, but our body has trouble absorbing iron without an adequate amount of Vitamin C alongside. Adding orange juice (or a whole orange) to your smoothie alongside this leafy green will both nix that spinachy flavor and help boost nutrient absorption.
We like to add: mango
FROZEN RICED CAULIFLOWER + SOY MILK
Cauliflower and soy milk are both high in a vital nutrient approximately 90% of Americans aren’t getting enough of — choline. Choline is important in healthy metabolic function, cell maintenance, and DNA synthesis. Adding 1 cup of soy milk and 1 cup of frozen riced cauliflower will get you 25% closer to hitting your daily recommended intake of choline.
We like to add: blueberries