This chocolate cherry adaptogen smoothie is healthy, loaded with ingredients that help promote an overall sense of well-being, and best of all, it’s incredibly tasty.
For those of you not already familiar, adaptogens are a range of plants (herbs, roots and mushrooms) that boost immunity, reduce inflammation and help your body adapt to stress. Primary adaptogens accomplish this by impacting the body’s HPA axis and reducing the production of stress hormones. Secondary adaptogens are used to reduce stress as well; they just work in a different way. If you would like a better understanding of the HPA axis and how adaptogens work, I strongly recommend checking out this article by Peak and Valley: The Ultimate Guide to Adaptogens.
Adaptogens have been used for thousands of years, in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, or in some cases by the Inca and other ancient American cultures or even in some European cultures. In addition to their basic adaptogenic properties, many adaptogens are know to have additional health benefits, such as boosting memory and mental performance, increasing energy levels and creating healthy sleep patterns. An adaptogen smoothie is an inexpensive way to take adaptogens, since the ingredients are significantly cheaper in powder form than in pre-blended capsules.
Always do your own research and consult with your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking prescription medications. If you would like to do additional research, I highly recommend using the aforementioned article by Peak and Valley as a jumping off point. They do an excellent job of citing their sources, in addition to providing great recommendations for further reading on every topic they cover in the article. They also have several other articles on their website that cover more specific ingredients, including articles on medicinal mushrooms. (Ingredient photo)
The active ingredients we’re using in our chocolate cherry adaptogen smoothie are:
This ancient Ayurvedic herb has been shown to have a positive affect on stress, anxiety and mood. Additionally, according to healthline.com, early studies suggest ashwaganda could potentially help increase muscle mass, lower blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. Find it Here.
Originally used in Russia and Northern Europe, this herb contains over 140 active ingredients and is used to reduce stress, improve brain function, reduce fatigue and fight depression (source). Find it Here.
According to Web MD, consuming chocolate high in cacao can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve digestive health and increase cognitive function. Additionally, cacao is also believed to improve respiratory health and reduce inflammation and have a positive influence on mood (source). Trader Joe’s has it at a great price, but you can also find it Here.
For me, a great smoothie also needs to have fiber and protein, as well as an enticing flavor and pleasant texture. With that in mind, we’re also adding:
Chocolate Protein Powder: Adds flavor, fiber, protein and other nutrients. I used Vega One Sport.
Chia Seeds: Contains fiber and protein. Available at most grocery stores, or find it Here.
Banana: Adds texture and fiber (feel free to omit if you’re concerned about sugar)
Plant-Based Yogurt: Adds texture, promotes good digestive health
Tart Cherry Juice: Adds flavor and offers a wide variety of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, but may interact with some medications. For more information, checkout this article from WebMD. (You can also substitute additional dark cherries for flavor.) Buying tart cherry juice in person is usually the cheapest option, but your can also find a concentrated version Here.
Making the Adaptogen Smoothie
There’s not any particular method for blending, since these particular ingredients blend pretty evenly. A high-speed blender always works best, but any blender will do. I usually add the liquids and fruit and pulse a few times before adding the powdered ingredients to help insure the powders from sticking to the inside of my blender. If you want your smoothie extra chilled, feel free to add a handful of ice to the blender.
The adaptogen smoothie should fit perfectly into a 16oz Ball jar with a sip-n-straw lid, or any other 16oz container. If you’re adding ice, you might just need to sip a little of the top first.
If you make this Chocolate Cherry Adaptogen Smoothie, or if you have any questions, please share in the comments!
Chocolate Cherry Adaptogen Smoothie
- 10 Pitted dark cherries (frozen)
- 2oz Tart cherry juice (or substitute about 4-6 additional cherries)
- 1/2 cup Plant milk (preferably something containing protein, such as soy milk or Ripple)
- 1/2 cup Plant-based yogurt (If you don’t have yogurt, canned coconut milk also works great)
- 1/2 Banana
- 1/2-1 scoop Chocolate protein powder (equivalent to about 15 grams of protein, see note)
- 1 tbsp Cacao powder
- 1/16 tsp Rhodiola rosea
- 1/8 tsp Ashwaganda
- Add cherries, juice, plant milk, yogurt and 1/2 banana to the blender. Pulse a few times.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. Add a handful of ice cubes before blending if desired.