The 7 Best Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipe Ingredients, According to a Registered Dietitian

The RD who (literally) wrote the book on anti-inflammatory beverages says these are the healthy ingredients we should be giving a whirl.

When it comes to food and wellness, nutrition experts tend to agree on one thing: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Any diet or self-proclaimed superfood that claims to act as a cure-all—or lacks science-backed research to support said assertions—should be taken with a large grain of salt.

That being said, a number of ingredients and meal regimes do have legitimate backing from health professionals. One superstar example is the anti-inflammatory diet. "Science has linked chronic inflammation with the most deadly diseases in the United States: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke," explains Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN. "Inflammation is also at the root of other debilitating conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Alzheimer's, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Autoimmune diseases, like lupus and fibromyalgia, also have an inflammatory component."

anti-inflammatory-smoothie-ingredients: close-up of healthy smoothie

However, Largeman-Roth notes that inflammation isn't all bad. Acute (or short-term) inflammation helps to increase blood flow to an injury or infection, speeding up your body's healing process. Chronic inflammation, which lingers for months or years, is the dangerous form that needs to be reduced for optimal health. Luckily, there are several lifestyle habits that can help to reduce chronic inflammation.

Among these healthy habits is consuming plant substances called phytochemicals. "And choosing more fresh, whole foods instead of processed foods can go a long way toward dialing down your body's inflammatory response," she says. Whether you're short on time, or you're looking for a simple snack that'll squeeze more fresh whole foods into your diet, smoothies are an excellent way to jumpstart your anti-inflammatory meal plan. In honor of Largeman-Roth's recently-released cookbook, Prevention Healthy Kitchen: Juices and Smoothies, she helped us outline the best inflammation-fighting ingredients that are perfect for whirling into smoothies. The best part? They're all supported by science.

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Grapes

grapes

These super snackers are rich in anti-inflammatories. "Their mix of flavonoids (which are antioxidants) and resveratrol (a plant compound that acts like an antioxidant) combine to fight free radicals and inflammation. Resveratrol shows promise in combating the inflammatory effects of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and other age-related illnesses," explains Largeman-Roth.

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Cherries

cherries

Cherries offer a wealth of inflammation-busting power in one small scarlet package. According to Largeman-Roth, studies have found that sweet and tart cherries help prevent or decrease oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Both varieties are rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols, including anthocyanins. Extra big benefit: Cherries have also been proven to help you sleep.

03 of 06

Turmeric

turmeric

This spice is a component of curry powder and serves up a bevy of anti-inflammatory benefits. "Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, and Crohn's disease. It can also help with the pain of post-operative inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis," Largeman-Roth says.

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Chia Seeds

chia seeds

Small and mighty, chia seeds were prized by the Aztecs and Mayans for the long-lasting energy they provide. The seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory benefits.

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Ginger

ginger

The zing that ginger gives to food is delicious, but this ancient healing ingredient also has a ton of inflammation-fighting power. "In studies, ginger has been linked to relieving menstrual pain, pain from migraines, and pain from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis," Largeman-Roth explains.

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Blueberries and Wild Berries

blueberries

These tart-sweet gems are tiny but formidable inflammation fighters. Like cherries, blueberries contain large amounts of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that counters inflammation and may help reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer. "These berries show promise in reducing age-related cognitive decline, thanks to their high polyphenol content."

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  7. Anh NH, Kim SJ, Long NP, et al. Ginger on human health: a comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trialsNutrients. 2020;12(1):157. doi:10.3390/nu12010157

  8. Kalt W, Cassidy A, Howard LR, et al. Recent research on the health benefits of blueberries and their anthocyaninsAdv Nutr. 2020;11(2):224-236. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz065

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