Five Foods with Maximum Health Benefits

Positively impacting your health can be as simple as adding beneficial ingredients to some of your favorite foods. Vitamix Nutritionist Anne Thacker, M.S., R.D., L.D., recommends the following ingredients for maximum health benefits, which are easily incorporated into a variety of Vitamix recipes.

Fermented Foods
Often undervalued, fermented foods improve digestion and nutrient absorption. In addition to yogurt, there are various fermented foods to suit different tastes and preferences. Among these is kefir, a lactose-free milk fermented from kefir grains. It tastes similar to buttermilk and also comes in natural fruit flavors, both sweetened and unsweetened. Try adding it to your favorite smoothies.


Leafy Greens
It’s important to eat plenty of greens, but certain kinds are more nutrient-rich than others. Just one cup of chopped kale, for example, has 134% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Extremely versatile, kale is great in salads and smoothies; it can even be added to a purée, such as Kale Pesto. For a warming meal in the cold winter months, try the Winter Greens Soup, which contains both kale and spinach, another nutritious leafy green.

A staple in southern American diets, collard greens are brimming with vitamins and are very low in calories. Use collard greens to replace tortillas, or use as wraps for Thai Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce.

Other leafy greens include turnip greens, Swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, red and green leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce. Add 2 cups of your favorite leafy green to any smoothie to reap the benefits of these robust vegetables.


Chia Seeds
Native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, the chia plant is grown commercially for its seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds also absorb 10 times their weight in water, slowing the conversion of carbs into sugar and making you feel fuller faster.

Blend chia seeds into your favorite smoothies, sprinkle on salads, or even mix into quick bread batters and pancakes for added nutrition.

Almonds
With plenty of fiber, B and E vitamins, and essential minerals, almonds make the list of good-for-you foods. Additionally, almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which are linked to lowering LDL-cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Snacking on raw almonds is one way to achieve your daily intake, but the Vitamix machine makes it easy to incorporate almonds elsewhere. Almond Milk, for instance, is easily made in minutes, and homemade Almond Butter is a great way to avoid the preservatives in store-bought varieties. Almonds also make up the base of the vegan Not-So Cheese Sauce, perfect for drizzling on vegetables.

Blueberries
They may be small, but blueberries pack a nutritious punch. They’re low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants that combat free radicals.

Full of flavor, blueberries make great additions to smoothies, such as the Banana Blueberry Orange Smoothie. Or try the Acai Pomegranate Blueberry Agua Fresca, a refreshing beverage with a heaping 3 cups of blueberries.