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Want to amp up your healthy smoothies this summer? These are the 5 ingredients you need

Summer is the perfect time to amp up your juice and smoothie routine. With so many different vegetables, fruits, fibers, seeds, roots, and berries out there, it’s practically overwhelming to make a grocery list of the essential ingredients you need to make healthy smoothies. Fortunately, there’s one group of foods that will supercharge your smoothies — superfoods.

On top of the foods you are presently juicing – superfoods are the easiest ingredients to add to your smoothies to boost the nutritional value. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that clear away the icky toxins we consume every day. While some of these foods might be intimidating to most, they can all be found in a health food store, and even some conventional grocery stores. All you need is a blender and some of nature’s best ingredients to get started.

Acai Berries
If you’ve been drinking juices and smoothies for the last five years, undoubtedly you’ve seen acai berries on the menu. Acai berries are loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals, as well as amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. And as a bonus, acai berries don’t have much sugar. The easiest way to add them to a smoothie is a freeze-dried powder; juices are more perishable and you’ll get a more concentrated punch of vitamins from a powder.

Yep, the parent of the chocolate we love to indulge in. Chocolate in its raw form, cacao contains tons of minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols that are especially good for heart health. Cacao powder is the best for smoothies, but if you like your smoothies a bit crunchy — say, in a more dessert-like smoothie — cacao nibs are also a good option.

We’re all about the seeds: much like hemp seeds or chia seeds, flaxseeds are packed with nutrients. They’re filled with essential fatty acids, as well as vitamin E and fiber. You can buy it in powder form, but make sure if you buy them whole to grind them in a powder; the body won’t digest the seeds in their full form.

Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant (different from the marijuana cannabis), and taste a bit like sunflower seeds. When added to smoothies, hemp seeds add a creamy texture to smoothies when blended with water (3 tablespoons of seeds per cup of water). You can find hemp powder or hemp protein powder in stores, which are best for creamy smoothies using nuts, bananas, and cacao.

Goji Berries
The “longevity fruit,” goji berries taste a bit like raisins but more tart. Still, goji berries are a great addition to just about any smoothie. Goji berry is an “amazingly balanced” superfood, thanks to its more than 20 vitamins and minerals, plus macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates). If we could name one superfood Superman, this might be it. You can find dried goji berries in health stores, but make sure they don’t have added sugars or preservatives.