You are what you eat – it’s a phrase we’ve heard time and time again. The foods we put into our bodies can protect our health, aid recovery and help us feel our best. If you live with chronic pain, an anti-inflammatory diet can provide relief from joint pain, stiffness and swelling.
Natural anti-inflammatories can be found in a wide variety of foods – from berries and green, leafy vegetables to whole grains, nuts, seeds and some herbs and spices. So, what’s a quick, easy way to incorporate them into your lifestyle? Try smoothies! These delicious, refreshing drinks offer endless possibilities for experimentation.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are five anti-inflammatory smoothie recipes that will leave you feeling healthy, hydrated and in harmony with yourself.
1. Post-workout smoothie
Many of us manage our chronic pain with exercise. After a workout session, you’ll be hungry. A smoothie will fill you up, restore your energy and help your muscles recover. This recipe is a classic combination of cherries and chocolate that’s both healthy and indulgent.
As well as boasting anti-inflammatory effects, cherries are thought to play a role in exercise and exercise recovery. One study found that tart cherry concentrate can significantly improve endurance exercise performance, while another emphasised how it appears to aid recovery and muscle function.
- 2 cups frozen cherries
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (plain or vanilla)
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 small medjool date(pitted and chopped) or 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (optional)
- scoop protein powder(plain or vanilla) or 2 tablespoons almond butter (optional)
- Additional toppings: granola, cacao nibs and hemp hearts
For the full method, visit The Simple Veganista.
2. Energising smoothie
Living with a chronic illness can leave you feeling tired and drained. We’ve all been there. Sometimes you need a pick me up – a healthy drink to reinvigorate your mind and body. Enter the energising avocado, lime and spinach smoothie, which is bursting with flavour and nutrients.
Firstly, avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, which can curb your body’s inflammatory response. One study found that avocados’ anti-inflammatory effect is so strong that it offsets other unhealthy food choices.
Lutein, the antioxidant found in the superfood spinach, can also suppress inflammation. Research reveals that consuming chopped raw spinach in a smoothie or juice is the most efficient way to absorb its anti-inflammatory properties.
- 1-2 limes (juiced)
- 2 avocados (stoned with flesh scooped out and roughly chopped)
- 75g spinach
- 10g mint
- 300ml cloudy apple juice
- 200ml water
Check out the full method at Tesco Real Food.
3. Breakfast smoothie
If you’re looking for an anti-inflammatory smoothie for arthritis – or any other chronic pain condition – this breakfast option from Olive magazine is perfect. A lot of us find that our pain is worse first thing in the morning, but a smoothie can set you up for the day.
The recipe features strawberries – one of the best fruits for inflammation and a good source of folic acid, which methotrexate, an arthritis medication, can deplete. Almonds and oats also have incredible anti-inflammatory effects.
- 200g strawberries
- 250g almond milk
- 1 tbsp almond butter or ground almonds
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- ½ small ripe banana
- 2 ice cubs
- Honey to taste
Visit Olive magazine for the full method.
4. Smoothie for boosting your immunity
The immune system has a vital role; it defends the body against outside invaders such as viruses and bacteria. So, what can you do to strengthen it? It’s important to exercise regularly, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, minimise stress and – the big one – eat a healthy, balanced diet that integrates immune-boosting foods.
This easy anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. One of the key ingredients is turmeric, a bright orange spice containing a compound called curcumin, which has been scientifically proven to fight inflammation.
It also features ginger – another potent anti-inflammatory that can relieve pain, alleviate cold and flu symptoms, soothe nausea, help digestion and support heart health.
- 3 medium stalks of carrot (washed, peeled and cut into chunks)
- 1 ½ cups chopped oranges
- 1 ½ cups coconut water
- 1-inch fresh ginger (grated)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
For the full method, head to Foolproof Living.
5. Smoothie for your gut health
What is the best drink for gut inflammation? This Hello Glow recipe, called the Blueberry Tummy Tamer, is definitely up there. Alongside blueberries and fresh ginger, which are both reputable anti-inflammatory foods, it features probiotic milk. Like yoghurts with live active cultures, this fermented milk product contains friendly bacteria that aids digestion.
- 1 cup probiotic milk (2% or fat-free skim)
- 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
- inch piece of ginger (grated if you don’t have a high-powered blender)
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- Honey to sweeten (optional)
You can read the full method for this gut-friendly anti-inflammatory blueberry smoothie here.
All that’s needed to create a great-tasting smoothie is high-quality ingredients and the right equipment. You can invest in a blitz-and-go blender, which is specifically designed for quickly making smoothies, but a run of the mill machine will do the job nicely.
If you don’t fancy making your own smoothies, there are some fantastic ready-to-drink brands to explore. We recommend B-fresh’s range of fresh cold-pressed smoothies, which are full of fibre, prebiotics and probiotics, as well as Nutriseed and Love Struck.
Anti-inflammatory juices and smoothies can have a profound effect. We hope you enjoy these recipes! Remember, if you suffer from chronic pain and want fast-acting, natural relief, try To Better Days active patches. They can be used all over the body and for a number of conditions, including back pain, knee pain, post-injury nerve pain, elbow pain, neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis-related pain, wrist pain and more.