According to Harvard Health, the foods we eat can play a major role in how we feel. For some, this may be as simple as avoiding refined carbohydrates or sugary drinks to keep their allergy symptoms in check and help them maintain a healthy weight. For those suffering from conditions such as lupus or type II diabetes, eating foods that fight inflammation might aid with the chronic pain and discomforts associated with their disease. But how can we make sure we’re getting enough of these anti-inflammatory foods into our diets? After all, someone with fibromyalgia may not be up for crafting a multi-course dinner or gourmet breakfast every day. To help you fit in those anti-inflammatory ingredients, smoothies are a great meal first thing in the morning or as an afternoon snack.
Your smoothie base usually consists of liquids — such as milk, water or juice — and solids — like bananas, avocado, and even frozen veggies. Bon Appetit has a great outline of the basics of smoothie making, almost a choose-your-own-adventure style! Variety is important for many people to help them stick to healthy habits, so make sure you know how to switch up your basic smoothie game when you get bored.
But how do we maximize the anti-inflammatory properties of our smoothies? Here are some excellent add-ins that will help those with chronic illnesses manage their symptoms.
Nuts, Especially Almonds & Walnuts
Tossing in a dollop of creamy natural almond butter is an excellent way to add depth of flavor to your smoothie, and perfect for fighting inflammation. If you like just a little bit of crunch, try sprinkling crumbled walnuts on top of the finished product.
You can go for the sweeter cherries here, since they may have an even bigger effect than their tart counterparts on fighting inflammation! Frozen cherries are easy to buy year-round, and they make for a nice texture, no pitting required.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Spinach probably comes to mind first when you think green smoothies, but don’t overlook options like kale. According to research, these greens are a great source of carotenoids- antioxidants, which may help protect cells from developing cancer. Fresh or frozen spinach and kale are easy to throw into your smoothie, and they blend up easily.
Don’t be afraid to play around with flavor combinations or pull out the spice rack along with your blender. More savory smoothies could help hold you over until dinner, while a complex- carbohydrate version may be good to fuel you for some exercise. Adding in these anti-inflammatory foods is a great way to get those healthy nutrients into your diet without too much hassle.