Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last decade, you’re well aware of just how popular smoothies have become. People who otherwise would get by on a basic blender are investing in top-of-the-line, expensive machines that now have a forever home on their countertops. And these aren’t just any machines; they can slice and dice fruits and veggies like mechanical machetes, turning solids into magical liquid solutions.
After all, we see smoothies as the answer to all kinds of objectives, for everything from just packing in more fruits and veggies each day to weight loss and/or chemical cleansing. But you want to be sure those smoothies are packed with all the right substances, to make sure you get what you hope from drinking them, instead of lots of sugars and calories, which many fruits present.
These days, it’s important for many of us to fill our bodies with as many anti-inflammatory options as possible. Not the acute inflammation, which we need when our body is attacked or injured from a cut or illness, and our white blood cells fight to decrease the swelling and repair the damage. We’re talking about chronic inflammation, which is ongoing and leads to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis. It happens after exposure to environmental chemicals, including pesticides, pollution, and cigarette smoke, among other things. Inflammation also happens with obesity, when we have too many fat cells, and it builds up inside our arteries. That can pile up the fatty plaque, which can then ultimately lead to clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. Nobody wants that.
Beyond obesity, we also get inflammation from what we eat. Dairy, food additives, gluten, and trans fats are a few examples of things that can cause inflammation. Cutting back on those things helps, but it’s also smart to start ingesting as many anti-inflammatory foods as you can.
Anti-inflammatory foods have antioxidants and polyphenols, which help protect your body. So what foods are we talking about? Plant-based foods are packed with antioxidants. Several are very helpful in fighting inflammation and great options for including in smoothies. Some of the top three are berries, including blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. They are packed with antioxidants and fight free radicals, which can damage our cells. The fiber and vitamins we get from them don’t hurt, either.
Watermelon is packed with lots of lycopene, and it cuts your risk of cancer, cardiovascular issues, and diabetes. Apples, avocados, and oranges are also great options. The apples help build up a strong gut, which protects you from inflammatory compounds. The avocados are heart-healthy, with monounsaturated fats, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. And oranges have inflammation-reducing nutrients to help “round” things out.
Cruciferous vegetables are also good choices. We’re talking broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. They have fiber that’s filling, but studies have also shown them to help cut the risk of certain cancers.
Green tea is also great as an antioxidant and can also help with weight loss. And certain spices like turmeric and ginger can definitely help any inflammation from getting worse.
All of the above ingredients make great choices for a smoothie that offers anti-inflammation benefits. You can mix and match at will and come up with all kinds of delicious concoctions. If they’re too thick, add a little more water. Want to thicken it up? Freeze the fruits and veggies in advance, and add ice instead of water.
The possibilities are endless. If you’re overwhelmed, we have a few favorites we’re happy to share. Give ‘em a try and let us know what you think. It’s easy enough to tweak each to make them sweeter or sourer to suit your taste.
Throw it all in the blender and go!
Throw it all in the blender and go!
Again, throw it all in the blender until liquid…and go!
If you struggle with getting all the fruits and veggies into each smoothie, there are other options, including supplements. Ginger extract capsules have powers similar to ibuprofen. Just grind them up and mix them in with the rest of what you’re drinking. Curcumin comes in capsules and creams and can help with several inflammatory issues. Bromelain (in pineapple juice) is another option to support your immune system, but the juice won’t supply all you need, so grab capsules or tablets that can be mixed in with your smoothies.
Mix your favorite fruits and veggies and get creative with your own blend of smoothies. And if you find a delicious new concoction, leave us a message letting us know what you made so we can try it, too! And now, with every sip, you’re doing a good job helping your body get even healthier, fighting off inflammation every step of the way.