A good smoothie — mixed at home or store-bought — starts with a base of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Add the right supplements to your produce-packed blend to turn it into a nutritional powerhouse. Here are some top supplements dietitians recommend.

1. Protein powder

Why you want it: Protein helps rebuild muscles.

“You can get protein from whole food sources, like yogurt, cottage cheese, or tofu,” says Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and weight loss expert with a virtual nutrition counseling practice based in New York City. “But many people find it more convenient to add a protein powder.”

Abby Langer, RD, of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto, agrees: “Protein powder is a plus. You’ll want 20+ grams of protein if your smoothie is a meal.” 

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2. Chia, hemp, and flax seeds 

Why you want them: These seeds are all good sources of healthful, anti-inflammatory fats that can lower your risk of chronic disease. “Chia is fantastic for fiber,” Langer says. “And I love hemp hearts for omegas and protein.” 

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3. Nut butters

Why you want them: Nut butters give you protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and also provide some vitamins and minerals. The fiber in nut butters is good for more than just your digestive system — it can help keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check as well. Plus, nut butters also add a nice texture to your smoothie, Lander points out. 

Just keep an eye on your total fat. If you’re adding both seeds and nut butters to your smoothie you might be packing in too many calories. “A total of one to two tablespoons is a good range for most people,” Cassetty says.

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4. Collagen powder

Why you want it: Collagen powder may help protect your joints and tendons from wear and tear, and may reduce wrinkling. “Don’t use it in place of protein powder, though—it doesn’t help rebuild muscles,” Cassetty says.

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5. Walnuts

Why you want them: Walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids, which could help reduce your risk of heart disease, depression, and dementia. The fatty acids in walnuts could also help you stay calm and relaxed, since they help regulate dopamine and serotonin, says Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN,  Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board member.

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6. Oats

Why you want them: Oats contain a type of soluble fiber that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. They also add texture and a hearty flavor, Gellman points out.

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7. Turmeric

Why you want it: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been shown in some studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “Turmeric may be trendy for a reason,” Gellman says. 

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8. Cardamom

Why you want it: Cardamom can increase the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in your diet, says Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN with The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Those compounds may help fight heart disease and cancer.

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9. Dark chocolate

Why you want it: High-quality dark chocolate may help alleviate anxiety by increasing serotonin levels. Just remember to go easy—chocolate can be high in calories. 

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10. Beetroot

Why you want it: Beetroot may raise nitric oxide levels in your body, which could help lung capacity, blood flow, and muscle contraction. That’s a plus for people who work out regularly.

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What about CBD, ACV and activated charcoal?

You may be tempted to add trendy CBD oil to your smoothies, but be careful. The research is still in the works, though Cassetty says it has many promising benefits. “It’s a highly unregulated area so if you want to experiment with it, make sure you’re buying a broad spectrum, organic CBD oil from a reputable vendor,” she says.

“We need to stop seeing ACV as a miracle supplement. It’s just vinegar!”
–Abby Langer, RD

And dietitians say you should forego activated charcoal and apple cider vinegar in your smoothies. “There is not enough science to suggest the addition of things like charcoal to supplements is beneficial,” Palmer says.

Even worse, charcoal can interfere with prescription drugs. “Charcoal can bind to some medications and render them less effective,” says Langer. 

And apple cider vinegar has no documented health benefits at all, Langer says: “We need to stop seeing ACV as a miracle supplement. It’s just vinegar!”

When you add supplements to your smoothie, make sure you’re not adding unwanted ingredients. Cassetty says, “Supplements can be contaminated with heavy metals and other substances, so it’s a good idea to look for a brand that’s verified by a third party, such as NSF or USP, which indicates that it’s been independently tested to have the ingredients it states in the amounts listed, and that it doesn’t contain any harmful substances.”

The editors of Considerable.com determine the recommendations of products and services that appear in articles through rigorous reporting. If you buy a product from a retailer through a link on the site, Considerable.com may be paid a commission through our participation in an affiliate marketing program. These fees in no way affect our reporting or recommendations.

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