3 incredibly delicious, heart-healthy smoothies to try now

In honor of American Heart Month, try one of these easy-to-make smoothies, which NBC News health editor Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom says can boost your overall heart health.
Know Your Value founder and "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski.
Know Your Value founder and "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski.Miller Hawkins

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By Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD

For most of us, “heart health” is an abstract term and may only come across our radar once a year during American Heart Month in February.

The first Friday of the month – designated as National Wear Red Day – is intended to raise awareness and unite communities around the common goal of eliminating heart disease and stroke. After all, heart disease is the number one killer of women. And while we can choose a red outfit, or wear a red-dress pin, most of us don’t really know what to do to promote a healthy heart on a personal level.

One easy boost to heart health comes from the daily consumption of more fruits and vegetables, which have loads of nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. But for most of us, that’s tough! You might recall hearing the advice of “five a day” – servings of fruits and vegetables. This was upped to seven a day, with some recommendations aiming for nine or more. That’s a lot; Only one in 10 Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables.

Smoothies can be a great way to easily add two to four servings at once. And you don’t need a ton of ingredients. Avoid the “kitchen sink” smoothies, which can turn into calorie bombs that are way too much for a meal, let alone a snack. It’s time to get back to basics.

Check out these three smoothies that are easy to make and great for your heart. All are under 200 calories per serving.

Mika’s mango and collard greens smoothie (serves 1)

This one is easy to make and one that Mika Brzezinski, Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host, loves. It’s only one fruit and one vegetable – the perfect combination for both some natural sweetness, lots of nutrients and modest calories. One great thing about smoothies is that you can mix and match any combination of fruits and vegetables that you like. Not a fan of collard greens? Swap out for spinach or kale.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped collard greens

1 cup frozen mango chunks

OPTIONAL: ½ ice cubes for added texture

Directions: Place ingredients into blender until smooth.

Frozen berry-yogurt smoothie (serves 1)

If you like the combination of fruit and yogurt, try this one. For a dairy-free drink, swap out the milk and yogurt for soy, almond or coconut milk versions.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries (or strawberries or mixed berries)

1 cup sliced frozen peaches

½ cup plain low-Greek yogurt

½ cup skim milk

Directions: Place ingredients into blender until smooth.

Power-of-pumpkin smoothie (serves 1)

Who says pumpkin is just for the fall time? This one is delicious any time of year!

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (freeze the rest for another day)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (swap out soy or regular low fat milk)

½ frozen banana

1 handful of ice cubes (about a ½ cup)

Directions: Place ingredients into blender until smooth.

Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D. is NBC News’ health editor. Follow her on Twitter @drfernstrom.