This is one of my favorite smoothie recipes. It’s a great smoothie to have during times when you are really working your body hard with training or muscle building because it has lots of protein and the cherries help to reduce inflammation.
Approximate Recipe for 2 Servings:
- ¾ cup pitted cherries. I just use frozen organic ones, unless they happen to be in season
- 2 tablespoons cocoa – I like mine extra chocolately, reduce if you don’t
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Generous dash of cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk or hemp milk
Cherries contain significant amounts of beta carotene, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. They are also full of quercetin and anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation from muscle strain or arthritis. Some studies have shown the reduction to be similar to some well-known pain medications. Cherries also contain a significant amount of melatonin, which can help regulate sleep and ease irritability.
As I discussed in another smoothie recipe (the banana chocolate smoothie) idea post, cocoa is full of flavonoids, which can help to prevent heart disease by decreasing blood pressure, reducing inflammation, balancing good and bad cholesterol and improving blood vessel health. Cocoa and the cinnamon (which I put in most things that also have a sugar component like fruit or honey) help to decrease insulin resistance and help the body better deal with consuming natural sugars for prevention of Type 2 Diabetes.
I always try to sneak coconut oil and flaxseed in to my smoothies. The coconut oil has a special medium chain triglyceride in the form of lauric acid, which helps to increase the good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Coconut oil helps to prevent fungal and bacterial infections in the body as well. The flaxseed adds fiber as well as omega-3 essential fatty acids. Be sure to get it ground, as the body can’t absorb the nutrition from the whole seeds.
I usually have almond milk on hand, but hemp milk works great too. The hemp adds extra protein. If you are purchasing the almond milk (as opposed to making it), be sure to buy the stuff that is unsweetened and then sweeten the smoothie to your liking with local honey to help deal with allergens and get a good dose of the antibacterial benefits of consuming honey.
The almond butter adds a natural source of protein, fiber and monounsaturated fats. The health benefits of almonds are well known and include the ability to help improve cholesterol ratios, control weight gain and prevent heart disease. They are good sources of magnesium, manganese, riboflavin and vitamin E. The magnesium helps to prevent muscles aches and pains.