For all of you who adore your smoothies as much as we do, it’s time to consider giving your go-to beverage an upgrade with some special ingredients. While the basic ingredients — fruit, chia, greens, non-dairy milk, and perhaps superfoods — all work just great, it never hurts to take things up a notch, right? And sometimes the best way to do that is to use something new in your smoothie, something unexpected. Think of adding creative ingredients to your smoothies like you add ingredients a delicious sauce or stew — sometimes the very thing you least expect to improve the flavor is actually what transforms the whole recipe. Adding spices to your smoothies is a great way to do this. Some create a sweeter smoothie, while others provide a more well-rounded flavor. And many just enhance the flavor notes of the other ingredients used. And, if health is priority for you when it comes to smoothies, you’ll be glad to know that spices add in even more nutrition thanks to the large amounts of antioxidants they contain. Many of these aid in digestion, provide mood benefits, and some also benefit the heart and blood sugar.

So don’t be afraid to use spices in your next smoothie recipe. Let’s not leave out some of the tastiest and affordable flavor ingredients we have right in our own kitchens. All you need are some stock organic spices to keep in your pantry and you’re all set for healing and delicious smoothies of all kind. Have fun with these spices, mix things up, and discover which ones you like the most blended with basic ingredients you already use. These are also great to keep on hand if you get an upset stomach, feel a little anxious, or just want to treat yourself to something different.

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Give your smoothies an inexpensive, ancient healing makeover with these seven spices:

1. Ceylon Cinnamon

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Want a spice to lower your blood sugar and add some natural sweetness? Choose cinnamon! Better yet, choose Ceylon cinnamon that comes from Sri Lanka. This cinnamon is real cinnamon made from the true cinnamon bark, not mock cinnamon, also known as cassia cinnamon that’s sold here in the United States. Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter taste and contains no potential harmful properties to the liver like those associated with cassia cinnamon. You can find it at your supermarket or online. Since it’s a bit sweeter, Ceylon cinnamon is also much better for smoothies if you don’t like the burnt taste of cassia cinnamon. Just 1/8 of a teaspoon is perfect with berries, cocoa (or cacao), banana, apple, or just with your favorite plant-based protein powder and some non-dairy milk. Try cinnamon in Super Energy Booster Smoothie or The Perfect Chocolate Banana Smoothie.

2. Ginger

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A go-to tummy aid for many people, ginger is also a great ingredient to warm things up in the blender too! Okay, maybe not temperature wise, but definitely when it comes to adding more flavor. Ginger pairs great with almonds, cashews, coconut, or a variety of superfoods like cacao, vanilla bean, and maca. It’s also excellent paired with berries, banana, and will do well with any leafy green. Try adding some ground or fresh ginger, but only a tiny pinch of each. This warming root is powerful, and a little goes a long way!

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3. Turmeric

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Everyone wants to know how to get more of this anti-inflammatory spice into their diet and what better way than with a smoothie? Just add a dash or two and you’ll never know it’s there! Turmeric helps relieve digestive upset; heals digestive and arterial inflammation; can protect the arteries, brain, and heart; and relieves stress and constipation. Plus, it makes a rather lovely smoothie when you blend a little with maca, almond milk, carrots, mango, and some pineapple … talk about sunshine in a glass!

4. Cardamom

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Heather McClees

Cardamom is one of the most delicious and healing spices out there. If you’ve yet to give this one a try, do yourself a favor and indulge in this marvelous delight! Cardamom is bright, sweet, lemony, and slightly floral all in one. It pairs amazing with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Cardamom is commonly used to heal digestive upset like gas, constipation, and indigestion, however, one unique thing about this spice is it’s also great for reducing mental stress. Like ginger, it’s also very powerful, as most spices used in Ayurveda healing methods are, so just use a bit. Cardamom is commonly used in many curry blends to add a sweetness to the spiciness of curry and is commonly mixed with yogurt as a digestive aid. You can use cardamom in a smoothie with a little coconut yogurt, coconut milk, some berries, and some ground flax for a super-healing digestive tonic! Add some ice and vanilla to take things up a notch if you like.

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5. Coriander

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Coriander is another unique spice to try for digestive benefits and detox benefits. The seed of the cilantro plant, coriander is somewhat sweet, lemony, and bright like cardamom, but has a much different flavor. You can buy it ground or whole, though I find the already ground version is a little more sweet and subtle than the whole seeds (even after blending). Coriander is commonly used in savory recipes, but it actually goes wonderfully in sweet recipes too. You can use it in everything from cookies to bars, to oatmeal, and yes, smoothies too! Add a dash into your favorite cocoa or vanilla-based smoothie recipe; it’s wonderful when mixed with maca, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, and a variety of fruits. You can also just shake a little on top of your smoothie if you like too.

6. Cayenne

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Spicely

Spice things up with this metabolic-friendly spice! Ground cayenne will boost blood flow to the brain and throughout all parts of the body. It can also help stimulate digestion, relieve stress, improve focus, and reduce inflammation. Try just a tiny bit, perhaps with some cocoa or cacao for a Mexican spiced chocolate smoothie! It also makes for a surprising addition to maca, cinnamon, and green smoothies of all kind.

7. Cloves

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Cloves make your smoothie taste like pumpkin pie, and they help heal digestive upset like most spices (and herbs). Cloves are unique because not only do they help relieve nausea and stimulate digestive juices, but they’re the most powerful anti-bacterial agents we can consume from the herb, spices, and even produce department aside from garlic. Cloves are used in many toothpaste and natural anti-viral products for their ability to kill bacteria as soon as they enter the mouth. Choose whole fresh or ground cloves and use just a tiny bit for a warming, slightly sweet flavor. These pair well with blueberries, vanilla, leafy greens, non-dairy milk, pumpkin, coconut, and banana. Or you can try them in this vegan Chai Latte.

Though not spices, peppermint oil or peppermint tea leaves, spearmint tea leaves, green tea leaves or matcha tea, basil, and parsley also make great smoothie ingredients to try. Plants are truly so healing, even when they come in the form of a simple smoothie ingredient addition.

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See these tips to make Green Drinks for High Energy for more healing and energizing healthy beverage options.

What’s your favorite spice to use in smoothies? Got any wild cards to share?

Lead Image Source: Spring Tune Up Smoothie