POWERFUL Anti-Inflammatory Green Smoothie | For Joint Pain
10 Smoothie Add-Ins That Fight Chronic Inflammation
Turmeric is like anti-inflammatory gold. The Indian spice adds color and a sweet-bitter kick to smoothies, plus a hefty dose of anti-inflammatory flavonoids, notably curcumin, that work by lowering histamine and enzymes linked to inflammation. Studies have found that curcumin can improve brain function and even reduce arthritis pain as much as anti-inflammatory drugs do.
Pairs with:Banana, mango, carrots, orange, pineapple, almond milk
MORE: Turmeric Smoothie with Homemade Hemp Milk
Yogurt isn't the only probiotic superstar in the dairy section. Kefir, a fermented drink with a tart tang, also helps populate the good bacteria in the gut. "A healthy microbiome leads to less inflammation," says Babb who recommends the plain, unsweetened kind—even better if it comes from 100% grass-fed cows. Researchers at the University of Calgary also found that probiotics can help fight the fatigue and depression associated with chronic inflammatory conditions.
Pairs with:Blueberries, strawberry, peach, banana, pear, kale, mango
Made from freeze-dried acai berries, acai powder is packed with anthocyanins, health-promoting antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may help prevent disease. The sweet-tart dust works by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines, proteins that can cause inflammation and pain. The Amazonian berry also delivers inflammation-fighting fatty acids for a mood and brain boost.
Pairs with:Kale, spinach, chocolate/cocoa, banana, almond butter
MORE: 20 Super-Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries have a superpower in common: They're packed with antioxidants to squelch inflammation-causing free radicals. "I recommend mixed berries because they each contain unique phytonutrients," says Babb. "Blueberries get a lot of accolades, but raspberries are also high in antioxidants and contain a potent dose of ellagic acid, which is anti-inflammatory."
Pairs with:Banana, Greek yogurt, avocado
Tart cherry juice may relieve your aches and pains. Hailed as having the "highest anti-inflammatory content of any food" by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, studies have shown that drinking the sour stuff can reduce muscle pain and weakness after exercise. So what's the secret ingredient? As well as antioxidants and anthocyanins, there are 30-plus compounds in this beverage that could quash inflammation.
Pairs with:Lime, mango, orange, almond milk
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While ground flaxseeds are a fiber force, the oil is the way to go when it comes to fighting inflammation. "Flaxseed oil is a great way to add omega-3s, which are essential fatty acids that cool down inflammation," says Babb. In fact, the oil boasts more than three times as much of the inflammation-fighting essential acids. One study found that it reduced inflammation markers by up to 46%, plus it's been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis and heart disease.
Pairs with:Bananas, oats, nut butter, pumpkin, apple, cinnamon
Permission to eat chocolate, granted! Studies show that flavanol-rich cocoa can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory molecules involved in inflammation, cutting heart disease and stroke risk. What's more, scientists from Louisiana State University found that cocoa powder is converted into molecules in our guts that reduce inflammation. Opt for regular or raw cocoa powder (skip the "Dutch process") for the most flavanols.
Pairs with:Banana, nut butter, blueberry, cherry, acai, yogurt, matcha, coconut
Ginger doesn't just soothe an upset stomach; the slightly spicy root acts as an anti-inflammatory, too. Researchers from the University of Miami found ginger significantly reduced knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis and may even work as a natural ibuprofen.
Pairs with:Leafy greens, lemon, coconut, pineapple, apple, chocolate
Move over, green tea! Matcha, the powdered form of green tea leaves, is not only an ideal smoothie ingredient; it also has 130 times more of the cancer-fighting antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Video: How To Stop Arthritis Pain | Six Smoothies To Stop Arthritis
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