Not many people realize the strong correlation between nutrition and inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response, following an injury or infection. It is part of a therapeutic process for the body to nourish and heal. Even though short term inflammation serves a purpose, chronic inflammation may cause severe damage to the body and mind. An increasing number of studies demonstrate that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, ranging from fatigue and depression to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Unhealthy nutrition, including frequent consumption of refined carbohydrates, fried foods, processed meats and sodas, can contribute to chronic inflammation. Other straining factors may include stress, injuries, exposure to pollution or smoke and lack of exercise. Incorporating a healthy diet alongside an overall healthier lifestyle can play a crucial role in dealing with chronic inflammation. As demonstrated in Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables is the basis of an anti-inflammatory diet. Below you will find a selection of juice recipes against inflammation that combine fruits and vegetables with exceptional healing qualities.
General tips to fight inflammation
To prevent or fight inflammation, you need to consider several changes to your everyday lifestyle and diet. Reducing stress, exercising frequently and avoiding exposure to a polluted environment will significantly improve your health and prevent inflammation. However, nutrition plays a primordial role in dealing with chronic inflammation. The good news is that there are some relatively easy fixes you can do to reduce chronic inflammation, like avoiding refined and processed foods.
An ideal diet would include
- Fruits and vegetables in abundance, seasonal and organic, if possible, to limit pesticides.
- Whole grains, beans and legumes daily.
- Healthy fats, like olive oil, avocados, nuts and flaxseed oil.
- Fish, twice a weak at least. Alongside with flaxseed and avocado, they provide essential omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cooked mushrooms as frequently as you desire.
Other sources of protein like eggs, dairy and meat should be consumed occasionally and be of good quality, organic if possible, to avoid antibiotics or growth hormones. Sugar and alcohol should be limited. You can opt for dark chocolate (80% cacao or more) and an occasional glass of red wine if you so desire!
The anti-inflammatory power of fruits and vegetables
As general guidelines, you should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Limit fruits in your juices to no more than 30% and include more vegetables as they contain less sugar.
Ginger has a great taste and can be added to most juices. It helps digestion, eases arthritis pain, and is beneficial for the immune system. Furthermore, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties due to its bioactive compound, gingerol.
Turmeric is widely used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Besides its numerous health benefits, its active compound, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant and helps to protect our cells from damage. Studies suggest that it may help reduce inflammation. For curcumin to be best absorbed by the body, you should add a pinch of black pepper to your juices.
Pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its high bromelain content. This fact, combined with its great taste, makes it an excellent ingredient for juices. As bromelain facilitates the absorption of curcumin (turmerics active ingredient), pineapple and turmeric go well together.
Like pineapple, apple also contains bromelain making it a great addition to any anti-inflammatory juice. If combined with turmeric, it can increase the absorption of curcumin.
Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and collards
Leafy greens have a high concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants that fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Broccoli contains vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and beta-carotene. It is one of the best anti-inflammatory (and anti-cancer) foods available.
Beetroot’s deep red juice is filled with antioxidants. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, protect against cancer and heart disease.
Berries are filled with anthocyanins that give them their beautiful color. Their high concentration in anthocyanins also gives them their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities.
Best juice recipes for inflammation
As you can see, you have a plethora of ingredients to create your anti-inflammatory juice. You can find below two of my favorite recipes. Please feel free to test, share and comment on them and even suggest alterations or propose your own anti-inflammatory recipes!
Pineapple and carrot
For two servings:
- About half a pineapple
- 4-5 large carrots
- Juice of half a lime including the peel
- Some fresh mint or basil leaves
- Ginger, about 2 tablespoons, preferably fresh
- Optional: turmeric and a pinch of black pepper (helps to absorb turmeric)
Pineapple and spinach
For two servings:
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1 cup of kale
- A quarter of a pineapple
- Turmeric, about a 2-inch piece and a pinch of black pepper (helps to absorb turmeric)
- Optional: ginger