Which Liquids Are Best for Your Green Smoothie

By Jennifer Thompson

Getting the perfect smoothie is all about adding the right liquid. You can add many types of liquids to a smoothie; some common choices aren’t actually as healthy as you may think.

Can or should you add coffee to a green smoothie, too? Some do, but it’s not a good idea. Coffee is acid-forming, a characteristic that goes against the alkaline nature of the fruits and greens. Plus, you will violate the taste of a smoothie with something as strong as coffee. If you need to drink coffee in the morning, make it organic and have a cup after you drink your green smoothie.

Hailing hydration: Water is best

The bottom line: Plain water is the simplest choice, but it’s also the best! It’s a natural liquid, free of chemical additives and thickening agents. It contains no fat, calories, or added sugars. It’s easy to digest and naturally anti-inflammatory. It’s also not expensive.

On a daily basis, most people don’t drink enough water. The body needs water to stay hydrated and healthy. Chronic dehydration can lead to dry skin, constipation, bad breath, headaches, and low energy levels. Why not use your green smoothie to up your water intake? Ideally, filtered or bottled water is best.

Going cuckoo for coconut water

Coconut water isn’t the same as coconut milk. Coconut water is the liquid found inside young green coconuts, and it tends to be sold in plastic containers rather than cans. Coconut water isn’t made from coconut flesh, so it has a much lower fat content than coconut milk.

(To compare, a cup of coconut milk has about 450 calories and almost 50 grams of fat, whereas a cup of coconut water has roughly 45 calories and less than a gram of fat.)

Drinking coconut water is one of the hippest, newest diet trends since sliced bread. Some people call coconut water a superfood because of its antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antiviral properties. Coconut water does contain electrolytes, sodium, and potassium, all of which help balance fluids after exercise, so on occasion, it can be a nice change from plain water in your smoothie.

Be sure to look for unsweetened varieties of coconut water so you aren’t getting a bunch of added sugar. Some brands have 11 to 15 grams of sugar per serving. (An actual green coconut has roughly 6 grams of natural sugar per serving.) The ingredients should say “100 percent coconut water.”

Even better, buy the young green coconuts and open them yourself. That way, you’re getting the freshest possible version without any added sugar, preservatives, or pasteurization. Some local health food stores and Asian markets sell fresh young green coconuts in the cold section of the store.

Vegan milks

With the exception of water, any liquid that you add to your smoothie contains some form of additional calories. Most store-bought vegan milks (such as nut, rice, and soy milk) also have added sugar, flavorings, and/or chemical additives to create a smoother, creamier texture. They’re not easy on the wallet, either. Using one on occasion to shake things up is okay.

On a daily basis, plain fresh water is your best choice.