5 Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipes to Target Joint Pain And More
Increasing evidence shows that inflammation is at the root of most, if not all, disease. If you’re already a daily green smoothie drinker, you’ve probably wondered, is there an anti-inflammatory smoothie you can drink that will help to keep this dangerous condition at bay?
The good news is not only is there one anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe—but there are several. And, they’re all easy to incorporate into your roster of recipes for healthy green smoothies.
In this post:
- What is inflammation?
- Why is inflammation bad?
- Can foods help with inflammation?
- What are some anti-inflammatory foods?
- What are the best anti-inflammatory smoothie recipes?
What Is Inflammation?
If you’re not clear on what inflammation is or how an anti-inflammatory smoothie could help, you’re not alone. Inflammation is one of those broad medical terms that many people find to be confusing.
The simplest way to describe inflammation is to think about a cut on your finger. When it turns red, gets a little puffy, and starts to hurt, that’s a sign of inflammation.1
In more general terms, inflammation is the way your body’s immune system responds to something it considers harmful. That harm could be bacteria or a virus, something that cuts or wounds your skin, chemicals or radiation, or disease.
Your immune system leaps into action to fight off the invader, releasing hormones that make the blood vessels in your tissues expand. That lets more blood reach the site of the infection or injury—which is why a cut or scrape may turn red, get puffy, or feel hot. 2
Along with these signs of inflammation, you might feel pain or lose function in the inflamed area. There are also times inflammation has no symptoms at all.
Why Is Inflammation Bad?
Since inflammation is your body’s natural response to fight infection or heal injury, it seems like it’s something you wouldn’t want to stop.
However, not all inflammation is good. In some cases, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells—causing pain and swelling unnecessarily.
This process can result in chronic inflammation or chronic inflammatory disease—like rheumatoid arthritis (inflamed joints), dermatitis (inflamed skin), and Crohn’s disease (inflamed bowels).
Chronic inflammation also has been linked to heart disease;3 In fact, it’s likely that most disease has some form of inflammation as a root cause.
Even when your immune system is working correctly, inflammation can create reactions in your body, like making you feel fatigued or generally ill, and it may cause a fever if your immune system is working hard to create defensive cells. In rare cases, inflammation can result in complications like sepsis or blood poisoning, which can be fatal.
Can Food Help with Inflammation?
Of course, drinking an anti-inflammatory smoothie isn’t going to instantly cure rheumatoid arthritis or reduce the swelling in that gash on your foot.
However, research has found that there are foods that cause inflammation—as well as foods that help fight inflammation.
By adjusting your diet to incorporate or avoid certain foods, you may be able to control your inflammation and reduce your risk of disease. It has the power to help to improve your overall health and how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
7 Foods That Cause Inflammation
A food is considered inflammatory when your body recognizes it as a threat on some level, and dispatches its immune response team to the scene. The ensuing battle can happen throughout the entire digestive tract, and into the bloodstream as the food breaks down.
This immune response causes inflammation, and if you continue to eat the foods that trigger the response, this inflammation can never resolve, leading to any number of chronic conditions and disease as various systems wear themselves out from fighting the food “invaders.” It’s like feeding yourself a chronic infection that continually signals the immune response, and thus, creates inflammation.
It’s best to avoid these inflammation-causing foods, whether or not you think you have active symptoms of inflammatory disease. Remember, some forms of inflammation don’t announce themselves by giving you pain or discomfort--but they wear away at your body nonetheless.
Foods that cause inflammation include: 4
- Sugar in foods and drinks (check labels for hidden sugar names)
- Meat – including red meat as well as poultry and pork
- Processed meat – like hot dogs, bologna, or sausage
- Dairy products – milk, cheese
- Refined carbohydrates – including white bread and pastries
- Fried foods – like French fries or greasy chips
- Solid fats – such as margarine, shortening, or lard
What Are Some Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
There are many benefits to eating an anti-inflammatory diet (sometimes called an Inflammation Diet) filled with whole foods like greens, other veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats.
Eating a whole foods, plant-based diet will boost your immune system, can help your mood, and can improve your overall quality of life, since your body isn’t wearing itself out with continuous immune response. Reducing inflammation in turn reduces chronic disease and disease risk.5
Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Drinks
- Vegetables and Fruits: Whole foods like leafy greens, broccoli, blueberries, and apples are loaded with flavonoids, minerals, and other components that target inflammation.
- Nuts: The vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fatty acids in nuts effectively regulate inflammation.6
- Flaxseed: Flax is an exceptional source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and lignans (found only in flax – not flax oil), which have anti-inflammatory properties.7
- Coconut water: Young coconut water in particular has a potent anti-inflammatory effect.8
- Green Tea: Green tea leaves have a marked anti-inflammatory effect, due to their unique flavonoids called catechins. These components are potent antioxidants.9
Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices
- Turmeric: This bright yellow spice’s active ingredient is curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory that makes turmeric the reason it’s a go-to natural home remedy to relieve inflammation. Research shows it is particularly effective in combination with ginger.10
- Ginger: Among ginger’s wide range of health benefits is its ability to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Research shows the effect is especially helpful for arthritis sufferers.
- Boswellia: Also known as frankincense, this tree gum resin is even more effective against inflammation when combined with turmeric.11
- Chili pepper: The capsaicin12 that helps give chili peppers their distinctive heat is an excellent anti-inflammatory. It’s often used topically in creams and ointments to relieve joint inflammation and pain, but ingesting it gives your body access to its antioxidant benefits.
- White willow: The bark from the white willow tree has been used as a reliable inflammation-fighting pain reliever for millenia, and its structure was the basis for developing aspirin.13
Along with these anti-inflammatory foods, herbs, and spices, simply eating a healthy, whole-foods, plant-based diet is the best approach for anyone looking for an easy way to adopt an anti-inflammatory eating plan.
When I made the shift away from the Standard American Diet to a eating whole foods, the 22 diagnosed diseases I suffered with disappeared--some right away, and some in time.
I credit much of that progress to reducing inflammation, which is at the root of most (if not all) disease. Those benefits came naturally, from the nutrition in my daily smoothies and other plant-based meals, and from cutting out all the foods that were inflaming my tissues and organs.
If you’ve been subsisting on the Standard American Diet for years, you may need, as I did, a dedicated period of detoxification that will also help you identify foods that trigger the immune response and inflammation.
Many detoxers report that one of the first things they notice is their achy joints improving, followed by other benefits like clearing brain fog, more energy, weight loss, and stable mood. When your body isn’t fighting the food you’re feeding it, your systems can clear the inflammation and run the way they were designed to.
5 of the Best Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipes
With so much evidence that anti-inflammatory ingredients work, it’s a no-brainer to start incorporating them into your daily green smoothie.
Each of the following recipes includes several anti-inflammatory foods or herbs for inflammation, so you’ll get a double or triple dose of inflammation-fighting power.
In addition to my five favorite anti-inflammatory smoothie recipes, I’ve included a bonus recipe for a tonic to fight inflammation.
Start incorporating them into your daily smoothie schedule, and reap the benefits of reducing inflammation naturally!
Juana’s Anti-Pain Smoothie
Start strong with Juana’s Anti Pain Smoothie.
This anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe includes turmeric and ginger—along with aloe vera and almonds—to help control inflammation and reduce pain. Plus, it tastes great, too!
- 12 raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained
- 1 1/4 cup water
- ¼ cup aloe vera
- 1 cup fresh pineapple (frozen for a cold/frozen smoothie)
- 1 banana (frozen in chunks)
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Blend water and almonds for 60-90 seconds until very smooth.
- Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Drink throughout the day.
Feel Better Soon Green Smoothie
Another solid inflammation smoothie option is this Feel Better Soon Green Smoothie. Packed with a whopping FIVE inflammation-fighting ingredients (spinach/greens, apple, coconut water, aloe, ginger), you can up the tally to SIX by swapping out the flax oil and using ground or sprouted flax instead.
- 1 ½ bunch of spinach
- Any other greens on hand (chard, arugula, kale, lettuce, etc.)
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 carrot
- 1 apple
- ¼ of a pineapple (tip: quarter your fresh pineapple and use one quarter)
- 2 bananas
- Handful of strawberries
- 2 Tbsp. flax oil
- 1 baby Thai coconut (meat and water)
- ¼ cup aloe vera
- 1-2 cups water
- ½ tsp. ground ginger root
- 1 tsp. kelp
- Combine all ingredients in the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve cold.
Green Soother Smoothie
Load up on anti-inflammatory smoothie ingredients like nuts, blueberries, spinach, and ginger in this delicious healthy green smoothie.
By opting for flax meal and coconut water, you’ll improve the anti-inflammation benefits – which also means improving your health!
- ½ cup oats (wheat berries or any other sprouted grain works too)
- ¼ cup any nuts or seeds
- 1 Tbsp. flax oil (or 2 Tbsp. flax meal)
- ½ cup kefir
- ¼ cup aloe vera
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk or coconut water)
- 1 banana
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- Handful of spinach and/or kale
- 1 scoop super green food
- ½ ″ piece of fresh ginger (or powder)
- Dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla
- 1 packet of stevia or 1T. local raw honey (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve cold.
Winter Wellness Smoothie/Soup
Daily green smoothies are a great habit—but sometimes it’s nice to mix things up.
This anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe also doubles as a soup and features spinach, cayenne, and pine nuts to lower your body’s inflammatory reaction. Simply adjust the amount of water you add—more for a thinner soup, less for a thicker smoothie—and enjoy!
- 1 parsnip, unpeeled
- 1 big handful spinach
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1/2 ginger root, peeled
- 1/3 of a cucumber, unpeeled
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. raw honey
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 dashes of hot pepper flakes
- 1 dash cayenne
- 1 handful pine nuts
- Water (more for soup, less for a thick green smoothie)
- Combine all ingredients in the blender.
- Blend to the desired texture.
- Serve hot as a soup – or enjoy hot or cold as a smoothie.
Add some sizzle to your daily anti-inflammatory smoothie habit with this spicy green smoothie recipe that also fights inflammation.
You’ll already get a boost from the ginger, cayenne, and spinach, but if you can find wine grapes (including the skins), you’ll add another layer of inflammation-reducing power!
- 3 cups water
- ½ bunch cilantro
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup raw, organic maple syrup
- Spinach, added until mixture reaches 6-cup line
- 2 star fruit, coarsely chopped
- ½ lime, washed and quartered (including peel)
- 2 bananas, frozen in chunks
- 2 cups pineapple, frozen in chunks
- 2 cups frozen red grapes
- Combine the first six ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving.
Inflammation Tamer Tonic
Of course, healthy green anti-inflammatory smoothies are amazing, but sometimes it’s nice to have another option. Luckily, you can incorporate anti-inflammatory herbs and foods into your diet in a variety of way—including this tonic.
You’ll get the benefits of coconut water—along with the powerful combination of turmeric and ginger—in a delicious inflammation tamer tonic you’ll want to drink all day long!
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 Tbsp. fresh grated turmeric
- ½ Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- Juice from ½ a lemon or orange
- 1 small carrot
- ½ Tbsp. raw honey
- ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a high powered blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve cold.
Read next: The Green Smoothie Recipe I Almost Always Use
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
1. Informed Health Online [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. What is an inflammation? 2010 Nov 23 [Updated 2018 Feb 22].
2. Informed Health Online [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. What is an inflammation? 2010 Nov 23 [Updated 2018 Feb 22].
3. Johns Hopkins Medicine Healthy Heart “Fight Inflammation to Help Prevent Heart Disease.” John Hopkins.
4. Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Women's Health Watch “Foods that fight inflammation” Harvard. November 2018.
5. Johns Hopkins Medicine Healthy Heart “Fight Inflammation to Help Prevent Heart Disease." Johns Hopkins.
5. Ren GY, Chen CY, Chen GC, et al. Effect of Flaxseed Intervention on Inflammatory Marker C-Reactive Protein: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2016;8(3):136. Published 2016 Mar 4.
6. Salas-Salvadó J, Casas-Agustench P, Murphy MM, López-Uriarte P, Bulló M.“The effect of nuts on inflammation.” Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:333-6
7. Ren GY, Chen CY, Chen GC, et al. Effect of Flaxseed Intervention on Inflammatory Marker C-Reactive Protein: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2016;8(3):136. Published 2016 Mar 4.
8. Rao SS1, Najam R1. “Coconut water of different maturity stages ameliorates inflammatory processes in model of inflammation.”J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Apr 14;5(3):244-9. doi: 10.5455/jice.20160402120142. eCollection 2016 Jun-Aug.
9. Chatterjee P, Chandra S, Dey P, Bhattacharya S. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effects of green tea and black tea: A comparative in vitro study. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2012;3(2):136-8.
10 Gamal Ramadan Omar El‐Menshawy “Protective effects of ginger‐turmeric rhizomes mixture on joint inflammation, atherogenesis, kidney dysfunction and other complications in a rat model of human rheumatoid arthritis” International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases Volume16, Issue2 April 2013 Pages 219-229
11. Maroon JC, Bost JW, Maroon A. Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surg Neurol Int. 2010;1:80. Published 2010 Dec 13.
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Posted in: Detox, Green Smoothies, Recipes
13 thoughts on “5 Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipes to Target Joint Pain And More”Leave a Comment
The "anti-pain smoothie" recipe consists of very high oxalate raw almonds, which in turn cause more inflammation throughout the body. While other ingredients like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, it is downright dangerous to offer someone such smoothie.
Arthritic joints are a result of compromised gut lining if not caused by genetic factors, therefore high oxalate content ingredients are out of the question for folks experiencing joint pain and or stiffness. My assumption is that you have large following, so please be careful when recommending people those potentially dangerous recipes. As a side note, please show me evidence for meat (especially red meat) causing inflammation as you tend to promote on this website?
Soaking the almonds, as directed in the recipe, reduces the levels of anti-nutrients and sprouting them for 1-2 days further reduces their levels. Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar in the water keeps bacteria levels down.
I am allergic to both bananas and pineapple, which feature in several of the recipes. Can you suggest any substitutes?
Hi Amanda, I too am allergic to bananas and pineapple. May I suggest trying one of the other recipes without those fruits. The Green Soother Smoothie, or the Inflammation Tamer Tonic or even the Winter Wellness Smoothie/Soup. Hope this helps.
am allergic to aloe vera. what can I use instead in your smoothie recipes?
can not take aloe vera what can I use instead in your smoothie recipes
Just use water or coconut water instead.
Hey Robyn, Iove this article thanks for sharing. I am looking at starting a smoothie diet to lose a bit of belly fat and help manage my inflammation. I keep reading reviews about the Smoothie Diet but can’t make up my mind because of the price. I understand it has a ton of value which I can kind of justify for the price but then again in this review, https://www.totalbeings.com/the-smoothie-diet-review/they are saying it is great. Would love to get your opinion on it and is it something someone needs when first starting out. Thanks again for the tips. I’m on the fence if I should sign up or not.
Your article states: “Turmeric: This bright yellow spice’s active ingredient is curcumin”
There are MANY other constituents in Fresh Turmeric that enhance Turmeric benefits, so taking a Curcumin supplement or using dried Turmeric will not maximize Turmeric’s MANY, MANY health benefits!! You lose so much when you use Turmeric in any form other than Fresh Turmeric.
BTW, GREAT article!!
I finally broke down and bought a Vitamix.
I tried to save some money a few years ago and bought a NINJA instead.
I wasn’t saving ANYTHING!!
My smoothies NEVER came out smooth and creamy like the ones n the infomercial, My HUMMUS was never smooth and creamy, and the same goes for the CASHEW BUTTER that I tried to make.
So now, I have a NINJA SYSTEM sitting in a box that I never use and I am enjoying delicious and creamy smoothies, hummus and nut butters!!
Thank you for the great articles and all the great recipes!!
The Cherokee trust the healing and preventative properties of nature’s pharmacy. Because many plants become scarce throughout history, the Cherokee promote proper gathering techniques.
I love smoothies and I will definitely need to try this recipe! For pain, I usually take CBD oil. Of course, only high-quality ones, like https://www.weednews.co/best-cbd-oil/. Otherwise, you can only harm yourself.
I have the same problem so every thing I read I could do thank you