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How to make an anti-inflammatory smoothie

Tiredness, stiffness and aches are just a few common symptoms that may indicate the presence of chronic inflammation in your body. Do you feel tired all the time? Do you feel stiff, achy, or have frequent headaches? If yes, these are some of the indications of inflammation.

When inflammation persists in your body from food sensitivities or food intolerances, injury, foreign invaders like microbes or chemical / environmental toxins, it puts your health at risk. Inflammation has been implicated as a contributor to many chronic health conditions, including: Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Asthma, Autoimmunity, Cancer, Chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, Diabetes, Endometriosis, Heart disease, High blood pressure, Multiple schlerosis, Periodontitis, Premature ageing, Rheumatoid arthritis, Skin conditions, Systemic lupus, Thyroid Disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Anti-inflammatory foods can help fight inflammation. Smoothies are an excellent way to boost anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. A well-planned anti-inflammatory smoothie should have a balance of the right food groups to maximise its effectiveness.

How to build the perfect anti-inflammatory smoothie

When I build an anti-inflammatory smoothie, I aim to include at least one ingredient from each of the following groups:

Protein: The choice of protein depends on your goals. If you are using the smoothie as a meal substitute, a good source of healthy protein is a must. Stay away from proinflammatory ingredients such dairy, soy, and grains. I suggest hemp, pea, or Paleo protein powders.

Fibre: The best choices to add fibre to your smoothie are flax seeds, avocado, or chia seeds. Fruit: Favour low sugar fruits such as berries, green apple or citrus. To help thicken your smoothie you can freeze your choice of fruit instead of using ice cubes.

Greens: Greens increase the nutritional content of your smoothie without raising the sugar. You have various choices for greens, such as spinach, kale, basil, coriander, parsley, and cucumber, and the list goes on. I like to add a handful of mixed leaf salad, which can be hard to eat, but disappears when added to a smoothie.

Healthy Fats: You can add according to your taste, but the best options are avocado, coconut oil, and raw seeds. Healthy fats are also a great way of staying full for longer, so don't leave these out if you don't want to end up snacking later on.

Liquids: Liquid is what make your smoothie drinkable but it is also a good opportunity to pack in more nutrition. Add a cup or two of almond milk, flax milk, or coconut water. You can also use filtered water if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Superfoods: Superfoods are natural supplements that add an extra nutritional punch to your smoothie and often complement the flavour. Read on for more info on superfoods.

Blending your smoothie

Smoothies are so quick and simple to put together. Here is my process:

  1. You can use a food processor to make a smoothie but a blender is probably better. You can pick up a cheap blender for next to nothing at your local supermarket, or online but if you want to make an investment, it's hard to beat a Nutribullet . Mine was well worth the £60 I spent on it five years ago.

  2. Add your liquid of choice as it decides the final consistency of the smoothie and also helps start the blender. Adding the dry ingredients first often means they will congeal on the bottom and not get blended in properly.

  3. Add one ingredient (or more) from each of the groups above. Make sure you plan how much you are going to use in advance or you will end up over-filling your blender without including all the nutrient groups.

  4. If it's a warm day, add ice cubes but make sure your blender is powerful enough to blend ice without damaging its blades.

  5. Pour and serve. Sprinkling a few seeds, such as hemp or flax can add some aesthetic appeal in addition to more nutrients, which is always important in all food preparation.

Best anti-inflammatory foods for smoothies

Superfoods are an easy and abundant source of nutrients. They are often though of as natural supplements due to their concentrated levels of vital nutrition. Some great anti-inflammatory superfoods that will complement your smoothies include:

Bee pollen: Bee pollen is full of essential nutrients, including vitamins and amino acids. These nutrients help lower inflammation levels and improve your body’s self-healing. You can add bee pollen to smoothies, cereals and more.

Hemp seeds: Hemp seeds make great additions to salads, smoothies, and breakfast cereals. They are packed full of GLA, which reduces symptoms related to cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure and heart disease. GLA is also great for obesity, diabetes, and related issues. Hemp seeds improve digestive health and reduce symptoms of inflammation.

Cruciferous vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables are a diverse group of vegetables that includes cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, coriander, Brussel sprouts, collards, bok choy, and other similar green leafy vegetables. They contain sulforaphane, a chemical that has anti-inflammatory properties that help you deal with inflammation-related complications. When you consume cruciferous vegetables regularly, you give your body the tools it needs to reduce inflammation. If you have hypothyroidism, it’s best to cook your cruciferous vegetables vs. eating them raw.

Cacao: Cacao beans are loaded with flavonoids that help them naturally reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation. Cacao beans also have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that help protect the body from diseases. They are also a powerful energy resource, something that also allows them to help improve mental health. I love to add cacao powder to smoothies and top my parfaits with cacao nibs.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. You can add chia seeds to smoothies, make chia pudding or sprinkle on your breakfast cereals or yogurts. Because chia seeds expand when they soak in water, drink plenty of water with them for the best results.

Spirulina: Spirulina is a blue-green algae. It has shown to support heavy metal detoxification and reduce inflammation. Spirulina is also a good source of iodine bio-available iodine and B vitamins. It has a rather bitter taste, so many people like to balance it out with a sweeter taste, such as a few dates.

I hope you have everything you need to get going now, but if you would like some ideas to get you started, here are 3 great anti-inflammatory smoothie recipes to try.

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