Monday, May 30, 2011

Anti-Inflammatory Juice Cocktails

(If you're new to The Daily Dietribe, read here to find out how you can join my gluten free health challenge).

Since Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, I wanted to give you a couple of juice recipes that will cool you down and keep you feeling your best. The first is the juice I drink when I'm feeling a headache coming on, or my stomach feels particularly inflamed. The second contains a shot of glutamine from a hefty portion of cabbage. As I mentioned in my post on healing, glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and is used by the cells of the gastrointestinal tract to help repair your gut. Beef, chicken, fish, beans, and dairy products (i.e. high protein foods) are all good sources of amino acids, but I find that a vegetable juice serves the dual purpose of calming inflammation and repairing the gut at the same time.  Beets are also a good source of glutamine, so you could replace one of the carrots in the cabbage recipe with a beet, but the sugar content of beets is pretty high, so you don't want to have beet juice all the time. In addition, both of these juice recipes are made with the newbie juicer in mind, and contain a good portion of sweetness from carrots or apples. If you've been juicing for a while, and can handle a more bitter juice from greens, feel free to reduce the amount of carrots and apples and add in a green vegetable of your choosing.

Why these ingredients? 

Apples: You know the saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away?" While that may be an exaggeration, apples are a miracle fruit in my mind. Studies have linked the consumption of apples to a reduced risk of a variety of cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Type II diabetes. They are strong antioxidants, and contain a number of phytochemicals, including quercetin, which I mentioned last week as being particularly anti-inflammatory.

Ginger:  Ginger ale is historically the tonic of choice for stomach unrest. However, with all the high fructose corn syrup or sugar in ginger ale, your best bet is making your own tea or including a chunk of fresh ginger in your juice. In addition, ginger is known to alleviate migraine symptoms, and my own experience with ginger juice has proven that to be true. Whenever I feel a headache coming on, I make a ginger juice - the worse the headache, the more ginger I add. If you've never used ginger in your juice, it can taste pretty strong, so start with a 1-inch chunk and increase the amount over time.

Cucumber: Do you remember putting cucumber slices over your eyes to reduce morning puffiness (or seeing women do it in movies)? Well, imagine cucumber doing the same thing for your gut. It contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which may help reduce inflammation and swelling.

Fennel: Fennel is a carminative, and can aid in the prevention of gas. Its antispasmodic properties are also useful for calming your stomach down. As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vegetable, it contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, anethole and limonene (phytochemicals).

Carrots: Carrots are the dieter's best friend for a reason. They taste good raw or cooked, and are high in a number of nutrients, especially beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium. I like to use them in juice partially because they I love the taste, but also because they have antioxidant properties.

Cabbage: As I mentioned, cabbage is a good source of glutamine, which is my main reason for including it in my juices. However, it's also a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and various phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Different types of cabbage will contain unique amounts of micronutrients and phytochemicals, so I recommend using a variety of cabbages. Perhaps red cabbage one week, green the next, and savoy the third.

Parsley: The inclusion of fresh herbs in your diet can be especially beneficial, as many of them are strong antioxidants. Parsley contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. It also tastes great in carrot juice!

Anti-Migraine Juice
1 apple
1-3 inch chunk fresh ginger
1/2 cucumber
1 stalk fennel

Makes approx 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups).

Gut Repair Tonic
2 carrots
large handful of fresh parsley
1/2 head cabbage

Makes approximately 8 ounces (1 cup).

If possible, buy all your juicing vegetables organic. In general, I follow the dirty dozen list to pick which fruits and vegetables to buy organic, but if I'm planning on juicing it, I always buy organic. It's more expensive, of course, but it seems counterproductive to drink a juice for its health benefits if it's also full of pesticides.


Stephanie said...

That juice looks so delicious! Any suggestions for those of us who don't have juicers? :(

Also, have you ever heard of cabbage actually causing inflammation? I'm pretty sure it bothers me, so I've avoided it for the last few years. But I know how healthy it is...maybe I'll give it another try.

Iris said...

Stephanie, do you have a blender? You could make smoothies, incorporating small amounts of the vegetables. I've done that before and it works pretty well. Or you could also use the veggies in salads or stir-fries, in which case you'd be getting the benefit of the fiber as well.

I know cabbage can cause gas for a lot of people. I've never had that problem with it (which is surprising for me!), but if you're trying to add more glutamine into your diet, beets and fish are also good sources that would be anti-inflammatory.

The Gluten-free 'Dish' said...

Iris, I think you must have read my mind. Just yesterday I was thinking about adding cabbage to my favorite smoothie along with the realization that I need to increase my glutamine for healing my gut. I didn't know that cabbage was good for that. I knew it works wonders for detox and I always feel really good after eating cabbage. I will have to try your juice recipe. It looks great! Also I have several cabbages from my CSA and I didn't know what I was going to do with them. Thanks!

Farty Girl said...

Great recipes! Thanks! I def think herbs like ginger, fennel, and parsley should be consumed on a daily basis... esp if you have gut probs! I heard on Herb Mentor Radio that drinking ginger and cayenne tea every day keeps the guts churning and helps wake you up in the morning! It's hard to drink in the super warm summertime though... hahaha. :-)

Gigi said...


Looks amazing! You and I are on the same nutritional wavelength lately...again, some of the same things I've been working on/researching lately...great minds!

Lovely post...

Heidi @ Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom said...

What a great post Iris! It was blog posts like yours that REALLY helped me on the path to changing my diet a year and a half ago, learning about the health benefits of whole foods really affected my brain and hence my taste buds, LOL! We've been agressively working on healing our leaky guts and I appreciate the information you shared on glutamine in whole foods. Juices make for great popsicles too!


Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said...

Beautiful post, Iris! I love how you have laid this out! We love making juices here, and my kids get a total kick out of seeing what comes out of each veggie or fruit! Love that we are all getting to benefit from your nutrition knowledge! ;)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Really great post, Iris! You give so much to us in these types of posts--thank you. :-) I can't get on board with fennel, but everything else is a go. ;-) I actually find that I miss cabbage when I forget to add it to my smoothies. Maybe my body is speaking to me? Not juicing yet, but I'd like to. One step at a time I guess.


hunterslyonesse said...

I love ginger in my juices! :D Makes it all taste better. I've never thought of using fennel, but I'll have to give it a go since Chaz doesn't like fennel so I rarely cook with it. I have tried herbs, but have difficulty with getting enough juice out of them. I even had cilantro in one of the tries of my Summer Lovin' juice, but as much as I put in, not enough juiced to make a difference.

kingofwar said...

What kind of juicer do you guys use?

kingofwar said...

What kind of juicer do you guys use?

Iris said...

I have a Breville Juicer.

Bobbi said...

I tried a Breville but returned it because it was a pain to clean. I used a Champion for a long time and liked it but I got an Omega several months ago and it is, by far, my favorite. It is quick to assemble because there are only 3 removable parts, it does a great job juicing everything including chard, sunflower sprouts, spinach, wheatgrass, bell peppers, you name it! I have used it everyday for several months and have no plans to change ... ever

Bobbi said...

I think I just accidentally posted from a my SERTOMA account.
I decided to give you my juice recipe. I drink it every morning varied only by lack of one ingredient or another:
Chard, wheatgrass, bok choy, sunflower sprouts, spinach, pea shoots, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, ginger, hot pepper, apple, lemon, and I use an Omega juicer.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to trying your recipe. Just purchased the Breville slow juicer and its amazing and super easy to clean. I picked this juicer, as I have been told it does a great job with wheatgrass and finer green veg. I made almond milk the other day in it and was impressed with the results. I'm new to juicing but think it wil be realitively easy to meet the RDA of fruit and veg. I'm so excited to be on the path to better health. Thank you for he great info.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any substitutions for the fennel? I'm very allergic.

Iris said...

Try replacing the fennel with more cucumber or some celery. Juices are so adaptable, just play around with the fruits and vegetables you like!

Ministerio de NiƱos Verbo de Costa Rica said...

I have a question. My blender will need a little liquid.. what do i pour? Water??

Iris said...

I'm not sure how these will turn out blended, unless you have an extremely high powered blender. But yes, you can add some water and/or ice.

Cbt said...

How often do you recommend drinking the gut repair tonic and for how long?

Cbt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Iris said...

Cbt, Everyone's body is so different so I can't really prescribe what will work for you. These drinks are more intended as complementary to a gut repairing regimen prescribed by a holistic doctor. I would say, drink them whenever you get the urge!

One thing to keep in mind is that I included carrots, apples and beets in these drinks to make them sweeter, but sugar can be inflammatory for your, if you're working on repairing your gut, I would even cut down on the sweeter ingredients and use more of the vegetables like cucumber, celery and fennel.

Milena Irshad said...

Hi, i translate your post and soon will share it in Bulgarian language (with the link of course - here :)
I want to ask you about ginger. If i don't have a fresh ginger can i use ginger powder? I mean that ginger root powder is a spice and i use it in a kitchen...

Iris said...

Personally I would just skip the ginger powder if you don't have fresh, but if you like the flavor, go ahead and add some! :)

Milena Irshad said...

Thank you Iris!

Anonymous said...

Sams club has a decent juicer for $50. WE bought one in December and though it is not the "best" on the market it works and does the job! Cabbage can cause inflammation just as diary and green beans can. If you notice cabbage being an issue for you something you can consider if you really want to eat it is bromelain. Bromelain is an herb that can be bougth from or any heatlh food store. Make sure you get the 2000 GDU and take 2-3 daily on an empty stomach. It also helps greatly with allergies. Since taking it myself I have not had one sinus infection (which was a every 3 month thing for me with a ruptured ear drum) I'm also off my inhaler and my spinal disease doesn't hurt like it did before! It relives pressure. If taken on a stomach that has had protein it acts like a digestive enzyme. Best stuff ever! Love my bromelain but after 6 months of use I always skip one week for a more effective usage so my body doesn't become immuned to it and one week of skipping does not cause any issues with me. Good luck!

Susan said...

How well does this juice freeze? I have suffered from migraines for years and have tried different juices to help but could not stomach them. This one look good and IF I can stomach it would like to make it in batches so I do not waste the fruit and veggies

Iris said...

Hi Susan,

Generally you want to drink veggie juices fresh to optimize the nutrients. You could freeze it but I recommend doing small batches daily instead.



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