Once you’ve mastered a few workouts and some healthy meals, it’s easy to fall into a monotonous fitness routine. But after a while, don’t be surprised if you no longer see results. The same is true for your go-to protein shake. Dustin Mark McNeer, a certified personal trainer and registered dietician, explains that while your favorite shake is packed with macronutrients, it’s probably lacking in a variety of micronutrients that your muscles need.
Macronutrients fall into three categories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are made up of vitamins and minerals that are essential to muscle repair and growth. After a workout, it’s important to make sure your muscles get everything they need quickly. A plain protein shake alone cannot deliver the well-rounded nutritional snack needed for continued results. Dustin Mark McNeer believes that the secret to long-term muscle growth is customizing your protein shake with additional boosters. It’s easier than you might think to take your post-workout nutrition to the next level.
Dustin Mark McNeer’s first suggestion is to try adding turmeric to your protein shake. The spice is naturally derived from the turmeric plant, and it is commonly found in food and medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. To get the maximum benefit, Dustin Mark McNeer recommends adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder before blending. A pinch of black pepper is also known to help the body better absorb curcumin, the main active component in turmeric. You can expect turmeric to taste bitter and warm, but the flavor will be diluted in your shake.
Next, Dustin Mark McNeer explains that the baobab fruit makes for an excellent addition to any shake. Commonly eaten in Africa and Australia, the fruit from the baobab tree is citrus-like in flavor and loaded with vitamins. It is rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and zinc. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that all parts of the fruit are beneficial, including the seeds, which are a great source of healthy fat and fiber. Plus, it can help people who are trying to lose weight because it offers feelings of fullness. Dustin McNeer suggests adding one scoop of powdered baobab fruit to your next protein shake.
Omega-3 fatty acids often come in the form of fish oil supplements. However, Dustin Mark McNeer explains that they can also be consumed in a plant-based powder form. Many people don’t know that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a precursor of omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed and flaxseed oil. It is derived naturally without any fishy flavor, making it a perfect addition to your protein shake. Dustin Mark McNeer suggests adding 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed powder before blending!
Finally, consider boosting your gut health by adding prebiotics to your protein drinks. The body cannot digest prebiotics, but rather, they are used as food for probiotics. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that they can again be found naturally in dandelion greens, onions, garlic, asparagus, oats, barley, and cocoa. While not all of these ingredients would be ideal for a shake, cocoa powder can make for an excellent chocolatey protein shake. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that it can also be added to a warm cup of cocoa for a nighttime snack.