By Hilary Sheinbaum
Collagen powder is best known for boosting the skin’s elasticity and adding hydration while promoting thicker hair, stronger nails and contributing to muscle mass. (Go on, flex those arm muscles!) And, while you could simply mix 8 oz. of liquid with 1-2 scoops of your favorite powdered varietal, there is a more creative and hand-held way to enjoy this daily part of your regimen and reap additional benefit simultaneously. (Hint: it involves your blender!)
To uncover the best mix-ins for a well-balanced, delicious (and nutritious) collagen smoothie, we asked the pros about their favorite ingredients. Here’s what they had to say.
Dr. Stacie Stephenson, DC, CNS, founder and CEO of health and wellness media venture, VibrantDoc, suggests 1-2 cups of raw spinach, baby kale, arugula watercress, chard, collard greens, or romaine lettuce. “Dark leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, vitamin K, water-soluble vitamins C and B9 — in the form of folic acid — and fat-soluble vitamins A and E,” says Dr. Stephenson. “They also contain the minerals iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, and lots of good microbiome-feeding fiber, as well as digestive enzymes.”
She also adds that dark leafy greens in your collagen smoothie can give you a significant nutritional boost first thing in the morning, setting the tone for the rest of the day.
While strawberries, blueberries and raspberries might already be your go-tos for added sweetness, berries in general add serious national benefits, says Dr. Stephenson. “Berries add a big dose of polyphenols to your smoothie,” she says, explaining that polyphenols are a specific type of anti-inflammatory antioxidant that can prevent cell damage and related chronic conditions like cancer, heart, disease, and diabetes. “They could even protect against blood clots and improve memory,” says Dr. Stephenson, who recommends a ½-1 cup in your smoothie.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for brain health, says Libby Matthews, a certified nutritionist and co-founder of Dose & Co collagen blends. She recommends 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in your collagen smoothie. “They are also high in soluble fiber which feeds friendly bacteria in the gut, slows down digestion to make you feel fuller for longer, and helps manage blood sugar levels,” she says.
Matthews says not only is coconut water abundant in several electrolytes including potassium, sodium, and magnesium, but the electrolytes in coconut water can help to regulate fluid balance, prevent dehydrations, and even ensure proper muscle function. “It also provides natural sugars to your drink,” she says, recommending 1 cup of coconut water to boost your morning smoothie.
“Iron helps to prevent fatigue and low energy levels,” says Kim Rose, RDN at Splendid Spoon, a plant-based meal delivery company. “Pea protein is a great plant-based iron source.” Rose suggests two pea protein scoops (or three tablespoons) to provide the body with five milligrams of iron, which is over 35 percent of your daily value.
Rose refers to mango chunks as paradise in a cup. “Mango is a tasty tropical fruit that’s loaded with Vitamin A,” she says. “Half a cup of mango chunks provides 15 percent of your daily recommended Vitamin A intake, an important component for healthy skin development.”
…With that, it’s about time to get to blending smoothies for a myriad of benefits!