10 Smoothie Add-Ins That Fight Chronic Inflammation

From Prevention Magazine

ByALLISON YOUNG

Green smoothie

“When inflammation becomes chronic, it’s like having the alarm bells going off in your body 24/7,” warns Michelle Babb, MS, RD, author of Anti-Inflammatory Eating for a Happy Healthy Brain. “Those signals become maladaptive and can lead to chronic disease.”

Enter smoothies—the easiest way to sneak more anti-inflammatory foodsinto your diet, if you load them with the right superfood ingredients. Here are 10 tasty additions that will elevate your blended drink to disease-fighting status. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get healthy living tips, slimming recipes and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

Turmeric

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. 

Pairs with: Banana, mango, carrots, orange, pineapple, coconut milk or coconut water

Acai powder

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

Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries have a super power 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, bananas, avocado, mango

Tart cherry juice

Tart cherry juice may relieve your aches and pains. Hailed as having the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food” by researchers at OregonHealth & 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 squash inflammation. 

Pairs with: Lime, mango, orange, coconut milk

Cocoa powder

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

Baby kale is packed with vitamin K, which helps shut down the inflammatory process, and it’s milder than grown-up kale, so it’s easy to disguise in a smoothie,” says Babb. The little lettuce is also rich in the mineral magnesium, known to help reduce chronic inflammation. 

Pairs with: Pineapple, mango, orange, lemon, kiwi

Ginger

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

Matcha powder

Move over, green tea! Matcha, the powdered form of green tea leaves, is not only an ideal smoothie ingredient; it has 130 times more of the cancer-fighting antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies show EGCG has an anti-inflammatory effect on immune cells and could even help treat or prevent autoimmune diseases. 

Pairs with: Peaches, mint, cocoa, coconut, vanilla



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