Here are five research-backed items to try in your smoothies and shakes that could improve everything from metabolism and fat loss to muscle gain and recovery!
Taste: Malty, earthy with a hint of caramel or butterscotch
Maca is a Peruvian root that has long been used as an adaptogen, something used to generally manage stress and balance hormones. In terms of nutrients, maca contains more calcium than a comparable amount of milk and boasts a high amount of fiber, magnesium and amino acids. Studies have shown that maca helps improve
libido in both men and women while also improving overall mood and feelings of wellness. And for all you caffeine addicts out there, maca has been shown to boost energy and increase stamina without the jittery side effects of coffee, making it the perfect preworkout add-in to your shake.
Navitas Naturals Maca Powder $24.99 (16 oz)
Taste: Slightly sweet and earthy
Move over greens powders — beetroot is on the scene. Several studies have verified the efficacy of beetroot in terms of exercise, indicating that it increases muscle oxygenation and boosts endurance and stamina, due in large part to its high nitrate content. One study even found that beetroot increased oxygen uptake by 16 percent. Increased oxygen assimilation also improves brain health, helping stave off degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to researchers. Other benefits include improved sleep quality, better transmission of nerve impulses, enhanced fat absorption, reduced inflammation and reduced blood pressure.
Sunny Green Organic Beetroot Powder $26.49 (7.4 oz)
Tired of malodorous burps from fish-oil supplements? MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil could be your solution. These kinds of healthy fats are easily digested and assimilated, helping increase energy and boost weight-loss efforts by creating a thermogenic effect, according to researchers. They also improve satiety, support healthy gut bacteria, stabilize blood sugar, improve memory and boost mood. Best of all — they have no taste and no odor — unless added by a manufacturer, so go ahead and load up liberally in your blender without fear of tasting it for hours afterward.
Now Foods 100 % Pure MCT Oil $19.99 (32 oz)
Taste: Like a poppy seed when dry; sweet and soft like tapioca when soaked
Rich in protein, antioxidants and trace minerals, the tiny chia seed packs a big punch. They contain tons of essential omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy cell membranes and reduce inflammation, as well as zinc, which helps your body create leptin — the hormone that regulates appetite. Chia seeds have also been shown to help reduce dangerous visceral fat, which negatively impacts metabolism, and enhance exercise performance lasting longer than 90 minutes. Because chia seeds are high in fiber, they promote regularity, balance insulin, curb hunger and suppress appetite, and they have a thickening effect on your smoothie, making it more filling and super satisfying.
Mamma Chia Organic Chia Seed $4.99 (12 oz)
A true collagen molecule consists of many long strands of amino acids twisted together into a helix and is almost impossible for your gut to break down. Breaking it into peptides makes that collagen highly digestible, and studies indicate that as much as 90 percent gets absorbed within a few hours of ingestion. Collagen contributes to healthy skin, hair and nails and protects against the degradation of connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Research shows that collagen reduces the risk of joint injuries in athletes while reducing inflammation, preventing joint stiffness and improving performance.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides $43 (20 oz)
All products are available at the Vitamin Shoppe and vitaminshoppe.com.