If you’ve read our articles before, you’ll know that we often discuss the benefits an anti-inflammatory diet can have on managing chronic pain. By eating the right kinds of foods – particularly those abundant in antioxidants – we can stay in control of our symptoms and keep painful flare-ups at bay.
When you think of diets, desserts don’t naturally spring to mind. We all need a bit of sweetness and indulgence in our lives, and there is a whole host of delicious anti-inflammatory desserts out there to discover. Here are 5 of our favourites – they’re healthy, easy and perfect for the summer!
1. Honey cherry sorbet
Need something to cool you down on a hot summer’s day? This refreshing, ice-cold sorbet makes the most of one of Britain’s best seasonal fruits – cherries. A rich source of polyphenols and vitamin C, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cherries are a fantastic ingredient to work with.
This 2-ingredient recipe is sweetened with honey, as opposed to sugar. Honey contains a variety of nutrients, meaning it has countless health benefits. In fact, it has been used as a natural remedy since ancient times. As well as protecting the body from inflammation, honey can strengthen the immune system, improve gut and heart health, lower cholesterol and even enhance sleep and memory.
You can enjoy this honey cherry sorbet on its own or get creative with toppings to add texture and flavour. Chia seeds, flaked coconut, walnuts and almonds work brilliantly.
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 450g fresh cherries (pitted)
- ¼ cup (60ml) honey
- 1 cup (250ml) water
Head to Eatwell101 for the full method.
2. Strawberry rhubarb crumble bars
Whether you’re looking to stock up on treats to enjoy throughout the week or are entertaining friends and family, this recipe for strawberry rhubarb crumble bars is a real summer crowd-pleaser.
Strawberries and rhubarb are synonymous with summertime in the UK. These sweet, tart gorgeously pink fruits are both excellent anti-inflammatory foods, making them perfect for reducing joint pain.
Rhubarb’s antioxidant compounds help combat inflammation. It also provides an excellent source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. And then there’s strawberries – low in sugar and packed full of nutrients.
Several recent studies have explored how consuming strawberries can alleviate chronic pain and even prevent chronic diseases, with researchers generally putting this down to high contents of antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) present in the fruit.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 16 bars
Ingredients for fruit filling:
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 1 cup diced rhubarb
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp vanilla
Ingredients for crumble crust and topping:
- ⅔ cup whole rolled oats, plus more for garnish
- ⅔ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tbsp firm coconut oil, more for greasing
- 1½ tbsp water
You can read the full recipe at Love and Lemons.
3. Turmeric and ginger ice cream
This ice cream is made using turmeric and ginger, which are among the best foods for an arthritis-friendly diet. With fantastic anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties, as pairings go, they don’t get much better!
According to one 2019 Bio Med Central study, turmeric (specifically the compound curcumin found within it), has the potential to reduce knee osteoarthritis pain by 50%. Meanwhile, ginger, which has been used as a folk medicine for centuries, can act as effective pain relief for a range of conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis to migraines.
It may seem like an odd combination at first, but the flavours really do work; the balance is just right. You can serve this ice cream on its own topped with crunchy toasted coconut flakes or with a medley of seasonal summer fruits, including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants.
Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
- 2 cups unsweetened full-fat coconut milk from the can
- 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger (thinly sliced)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Generous pinch of ground black pepper
- Zest of one lemon (finely grated)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- Toasted wide unsweetened coconut flakes to garnish
For the full method, visit One Green Planet.
4. Pistachio pudding
Vibrant green and bursting with goodness, this versatile vegan pistachio pudding is the perfect summer dessert, snack or breakfast. Many nuts, including pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans and walnuts, contain high amounts of fibre, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E and Omega-3 fats, which all have anti-inflammatory effects.
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 ripe avocado (peeled and de-pitted)
- ¼ cup pistachios (pre-soaked and strained)
- 5 tbsp maple syrup
- 5 tbsp water or coconut water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp rose water (optional)
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 handful of baby spinach leaves (optional)
- Pistachios and salt flakes to garnish
The full method is available at Conventional Baker.
5. Watermelon popsicles
Watermelon, or the components that are abundant in it, such as citrulline, are thought to have anti-inflammatory benefits. What better way to enjoy the fruit during the summer than in a popsicle!? We think that these sweet treats would work brilliantly as part of a garden party spread!
This recipe from Mighty Mrs is super simple and contains just 4 ingredients – one of which is kiwis, which, like watermelon, are abounding with vitamins, minerals and plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 10 popsicles
- 3cups frozen watermelon (pureed)
- ¼cup lime juice
- 10tbsp vanilla Greek yogurt
- 3kiwis (pureed)
Head to Mighty Mrs for the full method.
We hope you enjoy these anti-inflammatory recipes for summer desserts! We’d love to hear your thoughts on them, as well as some of your own suggestions. You can join in the conversation at Together For Better Days, our chronic pain community group on Facebook dedicated to sharing information, support and holistic health tips!