Fight Inflammation with Green Smoothies - dummies

Fight Inflammation with Green Smoothies

By Jennifer Thompson

Normal amounts of inflammation turn chronic when the immune system keeps trying to fix a persistent problem, constantly sending more blood throughout the body and putting the inflammation into overdrive. Chronic inflammation is a leading factor in chronic disease. Reducing inflammation prevents many types of disease and promotes faster healing if you do get sick.

What do swollen and painful joints, arthritis, injuries that won’t heal, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), autoimmune disease, allergies, asthma, puffiness in the arms and face, and even higher risk for certain types of cancer all have in common? All these health issues revolve around one main condition: chronic inflammation.

Factors that cause or contribute to chronic inflammation include the following:

  • Poor diet, including refined sugar, refined flours, and processed foods

  • Chronic infections from viruses, bacteria, yeast, or parasites

  • Hidden allergens from food or the environment

  • Underlying autoimmune conditions

Of all these factors, the one you can control the most is diet. Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables helps minimize inflammation in the first place. Here are some other ways to make over your diet:

  • Transition away from inflammatory foods such as alcohol, refined sugar, and processed carbs (such as pasta, chips, crackers, cookies, and white bread).

  • Break the habit of consuming acidic foods like coffee and sugary sodas.

  • Avoid bad fats in fried foods and keep animal-based fats to a minimum.

  • Increase your intake of foods that are anti-inflammatory, such as guava, bell pepper, citrus fruits, berries, lemons, kiwi, pomegranate, and leafy greens. Turmeric, fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and manuka honey are especially known to have excellent anti-inflammatory effects.

Add high antioxidant superfoods like acai powder, goji berries, or pomegranate powder to any of the following recipes for even more anti-inflammatory effects.

Refreshing Kiwi and Cilantro

Preparation time: 3–4 minutes

Blending time: 2 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1 red delicious or gala apple

2 kiwis, peeled

1/2-inch piece fresh ginger (peeled)

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1-1/2 cups water

1 cup cilantro, loosely packed

1 cup baby spinach, loosely packed

  1. Cut the apple and remove the core, keeping the skin intact. Cut the flesh into quarters.

  2. Add the apple, kiwis, ginger, flaxseed, and water to the blender and secure the lid.

  3. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing toward high, blend the ingredients for 1 minute or until the mixture contains no visible pieces of fruit.

  4. Add the cilantro and spinach and blend again at medium speed for 45 seconds, gradually increasing the speed to high. Blend on high speed for another 15 to 30 seconds or until the entire mixture is smooth.

  5. Pour the smoothie into two glasses.

Per serving: Calories 159 (From Fat 27); Fat 3g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 28mg; Carbohydrate 32g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 4g.

If you don’t have fresh ginger, use 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger instead.

Replace the apple with 1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks for a sweeter smoothie.

Hearty Kale, Blueberry, and Hemp

Preparation time: 3–4 minutes

Blending time: 2 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted

1-1/2 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon raw almond butter

2 tablespoons ground hemp seeds

2 tablespoons manuka honey

1-1/2 cups water

4 large kale leaves

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the kale in the blender and secure the lid.

  2. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing toward high, blend the ingredients for 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth and the mixture contains no visible pieces of fruit.

  3. Remove and discard the stems of the kale. Add the kale and blend again at medium speed for 30 seconds, gradually increasing the speed to high. Blend on high speed for another 15 to 30 seconds or until the entire mixture is smooth.

  4. Pour the smoothie into two glasses and enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 290 (From Fat 153); Fat 17g (Saturated 1.5g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 22mg; Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 9g.

If you can’t find fresh blueberries, use store-bought frozen ones instead. Just check the ingredients label to make sure they contain no added sugar. If you don’t have raw almond butter, use 3 or 4 raw almonds instead.

Lemon, Lime, and Parsley Twist

Preparation time: 4–5 minutes

Blending time: 2 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

Dash of cayenne pepper to taste

1 cup water

1-1/2 cups parsley, loosely packed

1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed

  1. Combine the bell pepper, avocado, cucumber, lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, cayenne, and water in the blender and secure the lid.

  2. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing toward high, blend the ingredients for 30 to 45 seconds or until the mixture contains no visible pieces of ingredients.

  3. Add the parsley and cilantro and blend again at medium speed for 30 seconds, gradually increasing the speed to high. Blend on high speed for another 15 to 30 seconds or until the entire mixture is smooth.

  4. Pour the smoothie into two glasses and enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 132 (From Fat 54); Fat 6g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 52mg; Carbohydrate 19g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 5g.

You can also use fresh hot pepper instead of cayenne, but use a small amount. Depending on how many seeds you include, just 1/8 teaspoon of chopped fresh jalapeño or habanero pepper can add a lot of kick!