To that end, we’re always open to delicious ways to keep our hydration levels in check—and board-certified cardiologist David Sabgir, MD says smoothies are the way to go if you want your bev to boost both heart-health and hydration. Ahead, Dr. Sabgir shares his go-to anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe and some of the top ingredients to blend up in the name of cardiovascular health.
- David Sabgir, MD, David Sabgir, MD, is the founder of Walk With a Doc and a spokesperson for Fresh Avocados – Love One Today.
Best heart-healthy avocado smoothie, according to a cardiologist
“Smoothies in the morning are a good way to pack in a variety of heart-healthy nutrients and keep you satiated until your next meal. They’re also super versatile, and you can customize any smoothie to your liking,” Dr. Sabgir says. But for a smoothie to actually be considered heart-healthy under his purview, you’ll need to enlist the help of a few essential nutrients.
“Focus on adding a mix of fruits and vegetables for fiber, as well as a source of good fats like avocado, seeds, or nut butter,” Dr. Sabgir says. According to him, these key ingredients offer the perfect mix of fiber and ‘good,’ unsaturated fats linked to promoting cardiovascular health—which is essentially a heart doctor’s dream, considering most folks aren’t consuming optimal amounts of these nutrients in the first place.
His go-to recipe? A Green Power Smoothie made with eight simple ingredients loaded with heart-healthy nutrients: fresh avocado, apple (or pear), baby spinach, cucumber, coconut water, fresh lime juice, honey, and ice.
The heart-healthy benefits of adding avocados to your smoothies
Avocado not already in your typical smoothie recipe rotation? That’ll change today, as Dr. Sabgir considers them the true star of the show when it comes to making heart-healthy smoothies. “I recommend adding fresh avocado to smoothies for both creaminess and mega nutritional value. Avocados are a heart-healthy fruit. Not only are they a good source of dietary fiber, but they also provide naturally ‘good’ fats—monounsaturated fats—are low in saturated fat, and are cholesterol, sugar, and sodium-free,” he says.
“Adding sources of unsaturated fats into your smoothies as they can actually act as a nutrient booster by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E.”
—David Sabgir, MD, board-certified cardiologist
, Research from two large prospective cohorts of American participants showed that higher avocado intake may be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease. “The 30-year study following 110,487 non-Hispanic, primarily white health professionals and nurses found that people who reported eating at least one avocado a week were associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, but not risk for stroke, than participants who never or rarely ate avocados,” Dr. Sabgir says. That said, keep in mind that the findings do not show a direct cause and effect and are limited to self-reported dietary collection.
Other heart-healthy ingredient boosters
Dr. Sabgir’s smoothies almost always contain avocados, but he loves adding a few other heart-healthy ingredients in the mix. “Some other ingredients I find myself reaching for when making smoothies are leafy greens like spinach and kale, which are a good source of vitamin K; berries, which have antioxidants; and bananas, which contain potassium. All of these are key nutrients linked to support heart health.” he says. Dr. Sabgir adds to be mindful of added sugars in your liquids like oat milk. “When it comes to adding liquids, try keeping those with added sugars to a minimum. Some good options are water and unsweetened milk.”
Lastly, Dr. Sabgir always tries to add a source of unsaturated fats whenever possible to ensure the nutrients are absorbed in the body as best as possible. “Adding sources of unsaturated fats into your smoothies as they can actually act as a nutrient booster by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E. So, pairing avocado or nut butter in a smoothie with the spinach, berries, or banana can actually help increase your absorption of some of those vital nutrients,” he says.
TL;DR? Choosing the right mix of nutrient-dense ingredients will help you reap the most heart health benefits—but that usually entails a combination of fruits (hi, avocado) and veggies for fiber, plus seeds or nut butter for ‘good,’ healthy fats.
Best heart-healthy avocado smoothie recipe
Yields 4 servings
1 ripe, fresh avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1 green apple or pear, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, packed
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
2 cups coconut water
1 cup ice
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
1. Place avocado, apple or pear, spinach, cucumber, coconut water, ice, lime juice, and honey in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.
2. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
An RD shares the benefits of eating avocados: