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The Well-Intentioned Eater: Mixing It Up With Nature’s Pain Relievers

One inquisitive omnivore’s journey towards healthier and more compassionate eating…

(Click here for why I started)

(MEATLESS/VEGETARIAN RECIPE) Since starting my quest for a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle, I’ve been drinking lots of smoothies—practically one every morning since I began.

I’m eating more fruits and vegetables than I ever have, I feel healthier, and it makes a delicious breakfast. The thing is, I’ve been pretty much having the same thing everyday. I may switch it up a little depending on what I have on hand, but it’s basically some variation of my spinach, kale, blueberry & apple concoction.

This week I decided to shake things up a bit.

fruits nuts greens 450x335 The Well Intentioned Eater: Mixing It Up With Natures Pain Relievers

Inflammation is needed for the body to heal, but when it’s out of control it can lead to joint pain and fatigue. Pineapple, berries, dark leafy greens, healthy nuts and ground cinnamon are some of nature’s best foods for fighting inflammation.Photo credit: Lisa Singer

I suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a severe pain and tightening of the muscles around my jaw. My chiropractor, who’s also an alternative health professional, recommended I eat foods that help fight inflammation naturally.

Since my TMJ’s been flaring up a lot lately, I thought it was time to take his advice and create the perfect anti-inflammatory smoothie. These are some of the foods he suggested:

  • Pineapple – contains bromelain that helps reduce swelling and inflammation in the body
  • Cinnamon – regular use has been shown to increase mobility in arthritis patients due in part to its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Ginger & Tumeric – have been shown to reduce inflammation and aid in digestion
  • Beets – rich in a compound called choline which helps detoxify the liver and fight inflammation on a cellular level. Eating detoxifying foods naturally decreases the amount of inflammation in the body.
  • Chili & Cayenne peppers – rich in capsaicin, a chemical used in topical creams that reduce pain and inflammation
  • Soy – contains isoflavones believed to help lower inflammation levels in women
  • Nuts – contain healthy omega-3 fats and antioxidants that help fight and repair the damage caused by inflammation
  • Dark Leafy Greens – contain vitamin E which studies have shown may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines
  • Berries – help fight inflammation because they’re low in fat and calories and high in antioxidants
  • Avocados – contain a fat called phytosterols that helps to reduce the amount of pain and inflammation in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

    Anti Inflammatory Smoothie 450x349 The Well Intentioned Eater: Mixing It Up With Natures Pain Relievers

    This Pineapple Berry Smoothie is packed with antioxidants that can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation./Photo credit: Lisa Singer

PINEAPPLE BERRY ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SMOOTHIE    

(Serves 2, 218 calories/11.5 g protein each)

  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup swiss chard
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp ginger, peeled & finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp almond slivers

Blend & enjoy!

The ginger has a bit of a kick, but combined with the pineapple’s sweetness it really gives the smoothie a delicious and refreshing flavor. The Pineapple Berry Smoothie will definitely make its way into my morning smoothie rotation. As far as the anti-inflammatory qualities—still too soon to tell, but I’m hopeful.

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