Lifestyle

7 simple smoothies for healthy ageing

More than 9 in 10 Australians do not eat their recommended 5 serves of vegetables or 2 serves of fruit each day. Smoothies not only deliver a powerful dose of nutrients, they are also a tasty delight once you find a recipe you like. Sarah Coleman shares her best recipes for smoothies that deliver a nutrient-packing punch.

By Sarah Coleman

Sip a smoothie to boost your nutrient intake

An amazing 94% of Australian adults do not get their recommended amount of fruit and vegetables daily. This is a frightening statistic given how nutritious these foods are and their role in healthy ageing. Luckily, smoothies are here to save the day!

Not only do smoothies provide essential vitamins and minerals, but they can also help us stay hydrated and satisfied. Also, certain ingredients commonly found in smoothies, such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, may offer specific benefits for age-related health concerns.

6 reasons to add a smoothie to your day

1. Packed full of nutrients: fill your smoothies with nutrient-dense foods that supply vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein, and fibre. Spices and herbs add flavour as well as other health benefits. Smoothies are easy to add to any daily diet.

2. Keeps you hydrated: because smoothies are high in water content, they will help you stay hydrated. This is important as our bodies are around 60% water! Getting enough fluids is linked to better overall health, reduced incidence of chronic conditions like heart and lung diseases, and an extended lifespan.

3. Support healthy ageing: you can pack your smoothies full of foods such as berries, raw nuts and leafy greens that support healthy ageing. You can also choose ingredients such as herbs and spices to help ease health conditions that crop up as we get older.

4. Easy to digest: breaking down hard and fibrous fruits, nuts, and seeds makes them easier to digest. As we age, the function of our digestive system can slow, and some people find it more difficult to swallow.

5. Fabulous source of fibre: fibre has too many health benefits to list here, including improving digestive health and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It can also help reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Fibre also helps you feel full, putting a lid on cravings.

6. Tailored to you: your smoothie can be a personal prescription. Add the foods you know you don't get enough of during the rest of the day. Choose foods high in nutrients that support your health status.

Adding protein makes a smoothie a meal

As we get older, we need more protein to grow and repair every cell in our bodies so make sure to include protein in every smoothie. Try:

  • Greek yoghurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Silken tofu
  • Raw nuts
  • Raw seeds
  • Raw egg
  • Cooked unsalted legumes, like white beans or chickpeas 
  • Protein powder

The recommended amount of protein to consume when aged over 50 is 0.75g per kg of body weight, and when you are aged over 70, it’s 0.94g per kg of body weight, according to Australian government health guidelines.

Peter Attia, author of Outlive: Science & Art of Longevity, says we need closer to 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight to avoid anabolic resistance - so an 80kg person needs 160g of protein a day. 

Anabolic resistance means that the muscles in our bodies become less responsive to signals such as protein and exercise that promote muscle growth. As we get older, anabolic resistance increases and can lead to a decline in muscle mass and strength.

Establish a creative smoothie routine tailored to you

The best way to establish a routine is to know you always have ingredients on hand. While fresh is best, frozen is often just as good. You can buy many of the fresh ingredients you need snap-frozen,

You also eat with your eyes - add some bling. Garnish your smoothie with edible flowers, a shake of spice, or a sprig of herbs.

Start with these recipes; once you are confident with the volumes of liquid, textures, and flavours, you can get creative and become a smoothie mixologist!

Berry Good Start smoothie recipe

Blueberries are not only super delicious, they make the most beautiful purple smoothie. Readily available fresh and frozen, this little fruit can boost brain health and support healthy ageing.

  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt (coconut yoghurt or silken tofu is a dairy-free option)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 250mL cold green tea, hibiscus tea or rooibos tea
  • 2 ice cubes (if not using frozen fruit)

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Serves 1

Get Your Greens smoothie recipe

Many people fall short of getting enough greens in their day. Make a big dent in your daily greens quota with this vibrant green smoothie. Adding avocado gives a lovely silky texture and is an excellent source of healthy fats.

  • 1  cup fresh baby spinach leaves, packed
  • ½ small Lebanese cucumber, in chunks
  • ½ avocado, flesh only (no skin or pip)
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews or macadamias  or silken tofu
  • Sprig of mint (optional)
  • 250 mL unsweetened plant milk or coconut water
  • 2 ice cubes (if not using frozen fruit)

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Serves 1

Note: this is a savoury shake. If you would like to sweeten it - add a handful of fresh or frozen mango or pineapple.

Tropical Turmeric smoothie recipe

This golden smoothie with turmeric paste, a source of anti-inflammatory curcumin, tastes like the tropics!

  • 2 tsp turmeric paste
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen pineapple, mango or both
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • Pulp of one passionfruit or one frozen cube (optional)
  • ¼ cup raw macadamia or cashew nuts or silken tofu
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 250 mL water or coconut water
  • 2 ice cubes (if not using frozen fruit)

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Serves 1

Nut Butter Banana Bliss smoothie recipe

This super satisfying smoothie is high in protein. You can give it an extra boost by adding protein powder. 

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened nut butter (peanut, almond, macadamia, etc.)
  • 1 small frozen banana (or half large), in chunks
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 - 2 tbsp unflavoured, vanilla or chocolate protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 250mL milk, milk kefir or unsweetened plant-based milk

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serves 1.

Purple Power beet smoothie recipe

We know the colour of the foods in your diet should reflect the rainbow, so here’s how to get an infusion of purple into your day.

  • ¼ cup fresh beetroot (not canned/cooked), finely grated
  • ½ cup blackberries or blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 250mL milk, milk kefir or unsweetened plant-based milk like oat, soy or almond milk
  • 2 - 3 ice cubes (if not using frozen fruit)

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serves 1.

Note: beetroot adds a savoury edge to this smoothie. If you want to add a little sweetness, try a teaspoon of honey or a pitted Medjool date or two!

Omega Mango Mint smoothie recipe

If you are looking for a plant-based source of omega-3 fats, this smoothie has you covered. You just need to remember to soak the chia seeds overnight to create a super creamy smoothie.

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds, soaked overnight to soften
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds 
  • 1 cup mango chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • Sprig of mint
  • 250mL milk, milk kefir or unsweetened plant-based milk like oat, soy or almond milk
  • 2 - 3 ice cubes (if not using frozen fruit)

Soak chia seeds in milk overnight (or at least 10 - 15 minutes if you forget!). Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serves 1.

Note: if your smoothie is too thick, add a little water or ice.

Good Morning Espresso Mocha smoothie recipe

Roll your morning coffee into this delicious and nutritious smoothie. Thank the Medjool dates for the luxurious flavour.

  • 1 shot espresso
  • 2 Medjool dates, pitted (or 4 dried dates pre-soaked in water)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa or raw cacao powder
  • 1/3  cup rolled oats 
  • 2 tbsp walnut pieces
  • 250mL milk, milk kefir or unsweetened plant-based milk

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serves 1.

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