Plus, a carb-cutting smoothie recipe from the newly-released Zero Belly Smoothies book.
David Zinczenko 1 / 13
Studies show that high-protein smoothies are highly effective at rushing nutrients to your muscles—which is why I recommend you have one of your two drinks immediately after exercise—and that blended fruit drinks, which include all the fiber, will actually keep you fuller longer than fruit juice. That means that your body can immediately begin healing the damage to your muscles caused by exercise. (It’s the process of damage and repair that makes muscles grow stronger.) A 2013 review of studies in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that having a high-protein meal before and after exercise (with the meals not more than four hours apart) led to the best possible outcome for muscle building.
The newZero Belly Smoothies book is packed with recipes, tips, and ingredients you need to make the best post-workout smoothies humanly possible. Here, excerpted from the book, the top ingredient "boosts" to make the most powerful smoothie ever. Try adding them to your go-to recipes or try some of them in the Smoothie Carb-Cutter recipe on slide 13.
Pick up your copy of Zero Belly Smoothieshere today!
I can’t confirm whether Confucius had a six-pack (or suffered from a chronically queasy tummy), but legend has it the Chinese philosopher ate ginger with every meal. And now there’s science to suggest that ginger can improve a number of gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition to curing bellyache, ginger may have a unique ability to accelerate gastric emptying, a study printed in the Journal of Gastro enterology and Hematology suggests.
Throw an impressive curveball at your next brunch by whipping up some virgin Bloody Mary smoothies, extra spicy, and burn off the dietary sins of the night before. Capsaicin, the natural compound that gives chili peppers that beautiful burn, has been proven to reduce belly fat, suppress appetite, and kick-start the body’s ability to burn food as energy. Daily consumption improved belly-fat loss, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.
What doesn’t wheatgrass offer for a mere 30 calories? Even a tiny dose like this packs fiber, protein, tons of vitamin A and K, folic acid, manganese, iodine, and chlorophyll, to name a few. You don’t need to know what each nutrient does for you; just know that a single tablespoon of wheatgrass will have you operating at peak performance levels.
Mix some cocoa powder into your smoothie for a boost of more than just flavor. In addition to delivering a gram of protein for every 12 calories, it will also give you 4 grams of fat-burning fiber and 20 percent of your daily value for the essential muscle-making mineral manganese.
One of the best spices for weight loss, cinnamon also contains those magical polyphenols, which have been proven to slim bloated bodies and improve insulin sensitivity. A study published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics showed that the consumption of cinnamon led to reduced belly fat in animals. And a series of studies printed in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to a carb-heavy meal could help stabilize blood sugar, preventing munchie-inducing insulin spikes.
Remember that added sugar in any form—and that includes “natural” sugars like honey, maple syrup, or agave—is going to cut the healthfulness of your smoothie. As long as you’re using fresh or frozen fruit, you shouldn’t need added sugar. But if you do, honey at least gives you something in return, namely a host of phytochemicals that have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Add it in powdered form, or find some fresh at the farmer’s market, then peel, slice, and freeze it for easy smoothie use. The compound curcumin, found in turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps reduce the action of genes involved in belly-fat storage.
Fish oil has been canonized by hordes of wide-eyed nutritionists over the years, but the case for its sainthood sure is compelling. The tide of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil (usually made from fatty fish like salmon and sardines) may be the most versatile nutritional weapon out there, known to help protect the heart, fight inflammation, boost the brain, and reduce blood pressure, among other things. Look for a brand with a subtle flavor that will add all the nutritional punch without leaving your smoothie tasting like a can of sardines. I like Carlson Fish Oil liquids.
Often sold under the name “psyllium husk” (for the seeds this powder is ground from), a dose of fiber is going to do more than promote a healthy colon. Fiber will slow the digestion of the smoothie in your stomach, which means not only will you stay fuller longer but also the sugar from the fruit will have a less dramatic impact on your blood sugar levels. And if the Quaker Oats dude has taught us anything, it’s that fiber promotes a healthy heart as well.
Ingredients: 3/4 cup frozen berries 1/2 cup frozen spinach 1 tablespoon chia seeds Dash of cinnamon Dash of turmeric 1 cup unsweetened almond milk 1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder
267 calories 7 g fat 24 g carbs 9 g fiber 10 g sugar 29 g protein
“I love this protein shake because it’s loaded with nutrients but void of excess calories and sugar. I recommend berries as they are high in fiber, low in calories and loaded with disease fighting antioxidants—and chia seeds add ‘staying power’ as they help to keep you full and provide tons of omega 3 fatty acids. The cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar levels and may help with weight loss and almond milk has fewer calories than cow’s milk and a mild flavor that adds 5 grams of heart-healthy fat but not extra carbs!”