While cinnamon and nutmeg are common spices that add zip to your smoothies, there are other spices that can add a huge “wow” factor to these healthy weight loss and weight maintenance drinks—and they’re likely ones you might not ever consider.
Here’s a closer look at some nontraditional spices I’ve put in my smoothies. They’re not only healthy for you, but they step the flavor factor up several notches.
About: Very aromatic and carries a robust flavor.
Health benefits: Known to keep blood pressure in check, act as a cancer-fighter, ease stomach issues and boost weight loss. Learn more about why cardamom is good for you here.
Ideal smoothie match: I often add cardamom to one of my favorite smoothies: 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, mango or peach slices, a handful of spinach (although sometimes I omit it), a bit of water and hemp seeds. Then I sprinkle in some cardamom, blend and enjoy.
Memories of my mom’s ham dinners first came to mind when I heard about this, making it hard for me to envision adding them to smoothies of all things. I couldn’t stop my imagination from thinking my tasty banana smoothie (see below) would have a smoky ham flavor to it, but I just chalked that up to my silly thoughts getting the best of me.
Smoothies with cloves are very flavorful; many people compare its rich and warm flavor to cinnamon, likely because it pairs well with that spice. However, it adds an extra kick that gives smoothies a unique taste.
Health benefits: Cloves are linked to fighting inflammation and are considered a powerful antioxidant.
Ideal smoothie match: I’ve made smoothies with ground cloves as follows: 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of sunflower butter, ground cloves (to taste) and some cinnamon. Mmm mmm.
3. Cayenne pepper
If you’re a fan of sweet and sour blends, this one’s for you. Cayenne pepper is hot and spicy, no doubt about it. But add it to naturally sweet fruits in your blender and you end up with a heat that’s tempered nicely by, say, mangos.
Health benefits: Cayenne pepper has been touted as a metabolism booster with anti-fungal properties that aids in better digestion, relieves pain and fights headaches.
Ideal smoothie match: I honestly don’t have just one go-to smoothie that I use with cayenne pepper since I tend to toss some in with several kinds I make. I’m a fan of adding fresh or frozen pineapple, peaches or mangoes to my smoothies along with my usual 1 cup of almond milk and some water. I often add chia or hemp seeds, a dash of Himalayan sea salt and a bit of cayenne pepper for some serious zing.
What have you got to lose by throwing some of these more adventurous spices in your smoothies? It’s a good idea to treat yourself to different tastes so you don’t become bored (and gravitate towards unhealthy options), plus these spices are extremely healthy for you anyway.
Go for it!
Jennifer Lea Reynolds
U.Jennifer Lea Reynolds is a weight loss success story who enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. A fan of the elliptical, roasted asparagus and remembering to put the lid on the blender, she’s appeared in many national and local print publications. She lives in New England where she writes professionally about health and wellness in online publications including U.S. News & World Report, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, The Huffington Post, and more.