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Things to Put in Protein Shakes

author image Sara Police, Ph.D.
Sara Police has been writing nutrition and fitness-related articles since 2012. Her research has been published in scientific journals such as "Current Hypertension Reports," "Obesity" and the "American Journal of Physiology." She holds a PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Kentucky and teaches online nutrition courses for Kaplan University.
Things to Put in Protein Shakes
Fruit, nuts and probiotics are wholesome and delicious additions to a protein shake. Photo Credit: Mallivan/iStock/Getty Images

Protein shakes can be a nutritious and satisfying breakfast on the go or post-workout meal. Basic ingredients of protein shakes include protein powder such as whey, rice or hemp; fluids like water, milk or juice; and ice. Add-ins should consist of a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients to suit your taste and nutritional needs. When making protein shakes, choose whole, fresh ingredients whenever possible. Blend, then drink slowly and enjoy.

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Avocado gives texture to shakes.
Avocado gives texture to shakes. Photo Credit: tycoon751/iStock/Getty Images

Fresh or frozen, fruit is a nutritious and delicious addition to a protein shake or smoothie. Frozen bananas create a sweet and creamy consistency, while berries add a refreshing tart flavor. Adding one-fourth of an avocado gives a rich texture to shakes and smoothies. Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and essential nutrients. In a study published in April 2013 in “Nutrition Journal,” researchers investigated the relationships between avocado consumption and risk of metabolic syndrome. Body mass index and waist circumference were significantly lower, while heart-healthy high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was higher in avocado consumers.


Tree nuts.
Tree nuts. Photo Credit: indigolotos/iStock/Getty Images

Almond, pecan, cashew and walnut butter -- 1 to 2 tablespoons are sufficient -- are healthful additions to protein shakes. Tree nuts are rich in protein, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts per day may reduce the risk of heart disease. A 2010 review published in "Nutrients" discusses the broad-spectrum health benefits of nut consumption, including a beneficial effect on hypertension, cancer and inflammation.


Yogurt contains probiotics.
Yogurt contains probiotics. Photo Credit: Tetiana Vitsenko/iStock/Getty Images

Yogurt, kefir or probiotic powders are additional options for protein shakes. Yogurt is a rich source of "good" bacteria. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, probiotics may help prevent allergy symptoms, improve immunity and balance gastrointestinal function. Avoid added or artificial sugars and look for brands with numerous strains of desirable bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.


Use honey as a sweetener.
Use honey as a sweetener. Photo Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Honey, molasses, palm sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar and dates are natural alternatives for sweetening protein shakes. Raw, unpasteurized honey has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, while molasses is a rich source of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.

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