Smoothies: What to Avoid

Smoothies can be a super food! But they can also be dangerous to your health. It’s all about choosing the right ingredients.

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Smoothies are a great way to fuel your body with the powerful nutrients it needs from whole plant foods to create a vibrant health and glow. Smoothies in your diet help you get vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients, and fiber, and they also make the foods easier to digest because they are blended. Blending a smoothie allows you to use the whole fruit or vegetable so you can make the most of its nutrition, including that all-important element of cleansing fiber.

That doesn’t mean, however, that all smoothies are created equal. Just because it’s called a smoothie, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

Unfortunately, stopping for a smoothie at the mall can be an extremely unhealthy endeavor unless you use caution. Many smoothies from stores and restaurants are loaded with sugar, fat, calories and other unhealthy ingredients that can have a negative impact on your health.

We all know which ingredients make a smoothie healthy: fruit and veggies. Be aware of other, unhealthy ingredients that sneak their way into store-bought smoothies, and make wise choices at home when blending up your own.

Ingredients to avoid:

Dairy

Many smoothies, especially commercially made smoothies, contain dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream. While this gives the smoothie a creamy base and can help thicken it, the jury is still out on whether dairy is unhealthy for humans. Dairy is also high in fat, and may contain numerous hormones and antibiotics. Instead, try unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or thicken smoothies with a tablespoon of soaked organic chia.

Fruit juice, sugar, and agave

If your smoothie has a fruit juice base, then there’s a good chance it’s been sweetened with sugar. Additionally, fruit juice adds calories without fiber, and contains high levels of fructose, which can be taxing on your liver. Sugar, of course, also causes blood sugar to spike, leading to a release of insulin and potentially increased hunger and cravings. Agave has very high fructose content. Instead, opt for filtered water with whole fruit or coconut water. You can add a little sweetness with some stevia, which doesn’t affect blood sugar and is 100% natural.

Peanut butter

Many brands of peanut butter contain sugar. Peanuts also contain aflatoxins, a carcinogen produced from molds commonly found in peanuts and cashews. Peanut butter is also high in fat and calories. It is not a beauty food! Instead, if you want a little bit of nutty flavor, try chia seeds or opt for creating almond butter by processing a tablespoon of raw almonds before adding your remaining smoothie ingredients.

Artificial sweeteners

In order to save calories, many people add artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda) or aspartame (NutraSweet) to their smoothies. These ingredients increase your body’s chemical load. Likewise, many maintain these chemicals are neurotoxic and can cause a host of health problems. Artificial sweeteners may even cause weight gain! Instead, sweeten with whole fruit or a little stevia.

Soy milk

Genetically modified soy makes up 91 percent of America’s soy crops. GM foods present a number of health dangers including DNA damage and reproductive issues. Soy has also been linked to treatment-resistant breast cancer tumors. Instead, skip the soy milk and opt for almond milk or filtered water as a base for your smoothie.

5 Ways Yogurt Keeps Skin Glowing & Gorgeous

So what’s for breakfast? Decisions. Decisions. Hmmm, oatmeal or yogurt? Both will give your body healthy nutritious goodness, but if you want some seriously sumptuous skin, I’d eat the oatmeal and save that creamy yogurt to add to your collection of homemade beauty products (not that oatmeal doesn’t have a place in skincare, too!).

Chock full of protein, calcium, vitamin D and probiotics (the healthy bacteria that aids digestion), there’s no doubt yogurt provides delicious benefits for your insides. But it can also do beauty wonders for your outsides as well, namely for your skin.

When topically applied to the skin, velvety yogurt will help moisturize, fight acne, prevent premature aging, relieve sunburn and reduce discoloration. It’s an all-around beauty multitasker.

Just be sure to use a plain, organic variety. You don’t want unnecessary additives and sugar anywhere near your body. I’m sure you’re curious, so go ahead. Grab that tub of yogurt and test out these five skin-rejuvenating ways to use the creamy stuff—right now!

1. Moisturize

Revive dull skin on your face with only that tasty yogurt in your fridge. A simple yogurt facial applied two or three times a week will leave you with soft, supple skin—and save you a load of cash on beauty products.

To indulge in a yogurt facial, follow these steps. First, wash your face. When you’re finished slathering and splashing, smooth some creamy, natural yogurt over your face and neck. The yogurt will lock in the moisture from washing your face. Let the mixture refresh your skin for about 10 minutes, and then rinse it off.

The lactic acid, a natural alpha hydroxy acid, in the yogurt helps smooth and exfoliate skin. Make sure to use a thick kind with active cultures for the ultimate beauty benefits. Strain the mixture if it’s too runny.

2. Soothe Sunburn

Too much time spent basking in summer’s glow, you sun god or goddess? Nourish your achy sunburn naturally with yogurt. The zinc in yogurt helps cool the harsh bite of a sunburn.

Add a few drops of soothing chamomile essential oil to about a handful of organic yogurt. Rub the calming concoction over your sunburned skin and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

3. Fight acne

Beware pimples. Yogurt contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. To get rid of those nasty blotches, rub a dab of the creamy stuff into acne-prone areas. Let the yogurt work its zit-zapping magic and then rinse it off after 30 minutes.

A regular beauty regime with a yogurt facial mask will help keep skin cleansed, which will also reduce irritating breakouts.

4. Reduce discoloration

When used regularly, yogurt has mild bleaching powers that can smooth out discoloration. Reduce blotches and age spots associated with sunburn by rubbing a few tablespoons of yogurt mixed with a squeeze of lemon juice onto skin for 30 minutes, and then rinsing off the mixture. Repeat three times a week.

5. Prevent premature aging

You know they’re coming, but that doesn’t mean you can’t slow fine lines and wrinkles down a bit. Naturally reduce fine lines and wrinkles from forming with an anti-aging yogurt mask. The lactic acid in yogurt will help dissolve dead skin and tighten pores.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to three to four tablespoons of yogurt. Apply the mixture to your face for about 30 minutes, three times a week.

Note: Watch out if your skin starts to break out or itch. Some people are allergic to yogurt. If your skin gets redness or breaks out, stop using the yogurt treatments. Don’t be too sad though. Try another natural beauty basic, such as baking soda, instead.