Although inflammation is a normal and healthy response that occurs in the body to protect us from bacteria and viruses, sometimes it gets out of control or serves no purpose.
It’s this unnecessary or surplus inflammation, which eventually becomes chronic, that is linked to a whole host of illnesses like asthma, allergies, heart disease, cancer, premature aging and more. Because of the far reaching consequences of this silent condition, some even consider inflammation to be the leading cause of death in the US!
Thankfully, through leading a healthy lifestyle and eating the right foods (and avoiding the wrong ones!), chronic inflammation can be cured or avoided.
One of the most important steps you can take to fight inflammation is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables – with juicing being a great way to start on this road to better health.
While all fruits, vegetables and herbs are anti-inflammatory, some are more potent inflammation fighters than others. The below juices all contain one or more anti-inflammatory ‘superfoods’ to kick-start your inflammation fighting efforts.
1. Pineapple, Turmeric, Cucumber and Cinnamon Juice
Bromelain is also known to quell inflammation and pain, with the Arthritis Foundation even stating that the power of bromelain from pineapple is comparable to NSAIDs when it comes to relieving joint pain!
What’s more, turmeric is a well-known potent anti-inflammatory, thanks to its curcumin content. Animals with neuropathic pain who were given curcumin were found to exhibit a decline in behaviors associated with pain shortly after ingestion. (Here are even more reasons to eat turmeric every day.)
Finally, cinnamon adds some punch to this juice, along with regulating blood sugar levels and suppressing appetite. Lab studies have even found that this sweet spice, rich in antioxidants, can reduce inflammation and fight bacteria and fungus.
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 pineapple
- 2 cucumbers
- 15 three-inch pieces of fresh turmeric root
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- Juice the pineapple, cucumber and fresh turmeric and pour into a glass.
- Stir in the cinnamon and enjoy!
2. Kale, Grape, Ginger and Lemon Juice
Kale is well documented as being an incredibly nutritious leafy vegetable and is often hailed as a superfood. Not only is it a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, but it’s an even better source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese! All these vitamins and minerals, along with flavonoids, provide a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Although kale can be quite bitter tasting, the addition of grapes in this juice masks its flavor so there’s no excuse not to reap all kale’s health benefits. A 2004 study found that people with stable coronary disease lowered the amount of inflammatory markers in their blood simply by drinking grape juice. The skin of grapes also contains an important compound, resveratrol, which inhibits inflammation and can naturally lower cholesterol.
Ginger – a relative of turmeric – is an amazing and tasty pain reliever, particularly if you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines or osteoarthritis.
In a study of 100 migraine sufferers, it was found that both ginger powder and a common migraine drug had comparable pain relieving effects. A six week trial of patients with osteoarthritis who took ginger extracts twice daily, felt less pain when standing and walking after taking the ginger.
Finally, lemons are rich in vitamin C, a powerful inflammation fighting vitamin. These sour citrus fruits also contain other unique flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – just one of the many reasons you should be drinking lemon water regularly.
Ingredients (serves 1)
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 cup grapes
- 1 slice ginger, optional
- juice of one lemon wedge
- Juice the kale, grapes and ginger and pour into a glass.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and serve.
3. Fennel and Apple Detox Juice
Fennel is used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including digestive complaints, infections, menstrual disorders and arthritis – so juicing the bulb is bound to improve your health! Yet another anti-inflammatory herb, fresh mint brings a calming and analgesic effect to this drink.
Although this recipe originally calls for green apples, substituting red apples may be even better – they have powerful antioxidants in their skin that can act as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. Research has found that people who eat two to five apples a week have a 32% lower risk of asthma (an inflammatory condition) than people who eat less!
Much like kale, spinach is rich in vitamin K, which has been shown to dramatically reduce inflammatory markers in the blood.
Ingredients (serves 1)
- 10 ounces of spinach
- 1 bunch of mint
- 1 cucumber
- 2 apples, cored
- 1 fennel bulb
- Half a lemon
- Add the above ingredients to your juicer and serve immediately.
4. Blueberry Green Juice
While the previous recipes have already highlighted the anti-inflammatory powers of apples and spinach, there is no doubt that blueberry is the star of this juice.
Incredibly, tests carried out at the USDA Human Nutrition Center have ranked blueberries as number one in terms of antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. In particular, the flavonoid called anthocyanin, which is the pigment that gives blueberries their color, is one of the most potent antioxidants in these berries and is responsible for much of their health benefits. (Discover more about the life changing health benefits of anthocyanins.)
In fact, the creator of the anti-inflammatory diet – Dr. Weil – lists berries such as blueberries as one of his top four anti-inflammatory foods.
This blueberry green juice may be a fantastic pre-workout drink due to its ability to quell inflammation in the body. When researchers divided athletes into two groups, giving one group 250 grams of blueberries daily for six weeks, they found that the blueberry group showed a significant increase in anti-inflammatory markers. And when they consumed the berries immediately before exercising, they suffered less inflammation and pain.
Ingredients (serves 1)
- 2 cups of fresh blueberries
- 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves
- 2 Fuji apples
- Juice and enjoy!
5. Watermelon, Basil and Lime Juice
All three ingredients bring something to the table in terms of inflammation fighting abilities.
Of all three, basil may be the most potent! Some varieties of this herb are actually as strong as anti-inflammatory drugs and have been shown to reduce swelling in arthritis sufferers by up to 73% in just 24 hours.
Watermelon is fantastic fruit. Comprising 92% water, it’s sure to hydrate, while the remainder of the fruit is filled with the powerful antioxidant lycopene. Known to protect the heart, prostate and skin, lycopene discourages inflammation and neutralizes harmful free radicals.
Another anti-inflammatory phytonutrient in watermelon is cucurbitacin E, which blocks the activity of an enzyme which contributes to pain, fever and inflammation. When making your juice, make sure to pick the ripest watermelon you can, for the greatest nutritional content.
Finally, the lime juice adds an unmistakable refreshing zing to this drink and, like all citrus fruits, it is rich in beneficial flavonoids.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 small watermelon, rind and seeds removed, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 6 basil leaves
- Juice of half a lime
- Pulse the ingredients in a blender for 20 seconds, then blend on high for a further 10 to 15 seconds.
- Serve immediately.