I enjoy exercising and researching different foods to boost my health, performance and mood.
Why Did I Become Interested in Smoothies?
Recently, I started exercising a lot more than I previously had and introducing an increased amount of strength-building exercises into my regime. In order to aid my recovery in between workouts, I started researching different health-boosting ingredients that I could throw into the blender to create a healthy and tasty drink. After some experimentation, I created several mixtures, my favourite one being the cacao and maca smoothie that is the subject of this article.
Why Have a Post-Workout Smoothie?
I find drinking a smoothie after a hard workout great for several reasons.
Firstly, I will have lost a lot of water through sweating while exercising and need to replace my fluids. Obviously, water is great for this, but you also need to replace the salts lost through sweating (also known as electrolytes; this includes minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium). The ingredients in this smoothie will help with this.
Secondly, it's important after a workout to ensure your body has the building blocks required to heal and repair, making you stronger in the process. This smoothie is a great source of protein and healthy carbohydrates to get you ready for your next session.
Thirdly, this is a really tasty recipe, and I love drinking it. It's basically a chocolate milkshake but without the guilt of drinking an overly processed, sugary milkshake from the shops.
This is a very quick and easy recipe that requires no pre-preparation.
Ingredients for one person:
- 500 millilitres milk (I usually use a mixture of cow's milk and homemade oat milk, but almond milk is also a good choice)
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 heaped teaspoon raw cacao powder
- 1 heaped teaspoon maca powder
Simply put all of the ingredients into a smoothie maker or food processor and blend until they are mixed thoroughly.
About the Ingredients
Each of the ingredients in the smoothie brings its own health benefits as well as being extremely tasty. Read on to find out more about them.
Cacao is produced by grinding raw cacao beans, separating out the solids and then grinding these solids again into powder form. It is a much more natural product than the cocoa we are more familiar with, as cacao hasn't been through the full processing that cocoa is subject to. This leaves it with much higher levels of the healthy bits such as antioxidants and essential fatty acids and a lot less of the unhealthy things such as sugar and fat. However, it is still great for adding a chocolatey taste to this smoothie.
Raw cacao has many benefits for health, including:
- It's high in antioxidants, which promote heart health.
- It's packed full of minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium and copper.
- It's a source of phenylethylamine, which is thought to improve mood and energy levels.
Maca powder is the ground-up root of the maca plant, which is native to the Peruvian Andes. It has an earthy, nutty flavour which really compliments the chocolatey flavour of the cacao powder. As with cacao, maca has several health benefits, including:
- It's packed full of nutrients such as vitamin C, copper, iron and magnesium.
- It's reported to increase the libido in both men and women.
- It may help increase mood.
- It is claimed to help improve exercise performance and muscle gain, although there has been no scientific study into this.
As well as being one of my favourite things and mixing extremely well with cacao and maca, peanut butter also brings many health benefits to the smoothie.
- It is also packed full of healthy nutrients, including potassium and iron.
- It's high in fibre.
- It's high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
- It's a good source of protein.
The more natural your peanut butter is, the more goodness it will contain while containing fewer of the bad things such as sugar and added preservatives. I am often guilty of going for the more processed ones though as I prefer the taste.
As well as being one of your five a day, the banana adds texture and a fantastic depth to the smoothie's taste as well as the following benefits:
- It's another great source of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.
- Bananas are great sources of fibre.
I used several websites when researching ingredients for this smoothie. Have a look through them for further information on the ingredients used.
- HealthLine - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/electrolytes
- Active.com - https://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/4-ways-to-get-electrolytes-after-a-workout/slide-5
- HealthLine - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cacao-vs-cocoa
- HealthLine - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cocoa-powder-nutrition-benefits
- Women's Health - https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/food/healthy-eating/a702736/health-benefits-of-raw-cacao-over-chocolate/
- HealthLine - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-maca-root
- Healthy Smoothie Headquarters - https://www.healthysmoothiehq.com/what-is-maca-why-put-in-smoothie
- Bona - https://www.bona.co.za/6-health-benefits-peanut-butter/
- Nest and Glow - https://www.nestandglow.com/healthy-food/peanut-butter
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 David
David (author) from West Midlands, England on May 06, 2020:
Yes, I agree. I often make oat milk myself, but don't strain it, so it's still quite bulky. I then use that in the smoothie with only a bit of regular milk to top it up. Pretty much the same as adding oats to the mix.
Liam Hallam from Nottingham UK on May 06, 2020:
I love a good smoothie. I like to add oats to make them into more of a breakfast offering though do find them to be very high in sugars- particularly with large amounts of regular milk.