8 High-Protein Smoothies That Fight Inflammation

WWhile protein deficiency is rare, making sure you get enough is (very) important, and no, not just for bodybuilders.

“Protein is necessary for muscle growth and repair,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Smoothies and Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen. “It’s also vital for oxygenating the body and producing enzymes that digest our food.”

But the benefits don’t have to stop there. Protein can be loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

“We interact with free radicals that cause inflammation every day from our lifestyle, the environment, and our daily activities,” says Largeman-Roth. “Even things that are good for us, like exercise, create free radicals. To combat inflammation and the effects of aging, we need to eat antioxidant-rich foods daily.”

If that sounds complex, know that it is not. There are *so many* great protein-rich anti-inflammatory ingredients out there that are not only accessible, but also versatile, affordable, and easy to add to a smoothie. No protein powder needed.

Here are eight protein-rich smoothie ingredients that will bring significant anti-inflammatory benefits to your next smoothie.

8 High-Protein Smoothie Ingredients That Fight Inflammation

1. Chia seeds

“These tiny seeds are prized in the nutrition community for the long-lasting energy they provide and are packed with protein – two tablespoons of chia seeds provide six grams. They are also rich in inflammation-fighting alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a plant-based form of omega-3s,” says Largeman-Roth. “I like Bob’s Red Mill chia seeds because they’re organic, gluten-free, and come in a resealable bag that’s super easy to store in the fridge.”

2. nuts

“With four grams of protein in every quarter cup of walnuts, plus a host of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, this type of walnut is a fantastic addition to your smoothie,” says Largeman-Roth.

3. Oat milk

Whole grain oats have a host of benefits: they are high in fiber and can help reduce both cholesterol and inflammation in the body. “And these days, a lot of people don’t just eat their oatmeal, they drink it too. While most oatmilks only contain one to three grams of protein per eight-ounce serving, Ripple’s Oatmilk+Protein actually provides six grams, making it ideal for post-workout shakes,” says Largeman. Roth.

4. Cocoa nibs

Cocoa nibs are bits of dried cocoa beans, from which chocolate is made. According to Largeman-Roth, like cocoa powder, cocoa nibs offer anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. “I like to add them to smoothies for their flavor. chocolatey and crunchy. Three tablespoons of cacao nibs add four grams of protein, plus lots of delicious texture,” she says.

5. Almond butter

Creamy and rich, almond butter adds a delicious twist to smoothies. “Plus, it offers seven grams of protein in every two-tablespoon serving, and the monounsaturated fats in almonds help reduce inflammatory markers,” says Largeman-Roth.

6. Spirulina

This microalgae adds a bright green color to your smoothies, as well as four grams of protein per tablespoon, according to Largeman-Roth. He also points out that algae, including spirulina, offer incredible anti-inflammatory benefits.

7. Hemp seeds

“One and a half tablespoons of hemp seeds will load your smoothie with five grams of plant protein, and these fresh-tasting seeds also contribute to the anti-inflammatory power of alpha-linolenic acid,” says Largeman-Roth.

8. Flax seeds

Largeman-Roth loves flaxseeds because they provide three grams of protein and four grams of fiber for every two tablespoons of ground seeds. Plus, they keep your heart healthy by helping to lower cholesterol. “If you want to add the power of flaxseed to your smoothie, it’s best to use ground flaxseed. Whole seeds can pass through your system without the full benefits,” she adds.

But how much protein do we really need? Should we be loading all of these ingredients at once?

To get your daily protein needs, Largeman-Roth recommends measuring your weight in pounds and dividing it by 2.2 to get kilograms. So a person who weighs 150 pounds needs about 68 to 70 grams of protein per day. “This may be higher if you’re extremely active or elderly, as older people don’t process protein as efficiently,” she says.

To get started, check out two of Largeman-Roth’s favorite high-protein, anti-inflammatory shake recipes below, both from his latest book, The smoothie plan.

Strawberry Chia Smoothie Recipe

3/4 cup oat milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 kiwis, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen strawberries
4 ice cubes

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.

Cocoa Blast Smoothie Recipe

1/2 cup of cold coffee
1/2 cup chocolate oat milk
2 teaspoons of cocoa nibs
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 banana
1/4 cup of ice

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.

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