Anti-Inflammatory Post-Workout Recipes

by Lauren Larson MS, RDN May 12, 2015

Anti-Inflammatory Post-Workout Recipes

Dark leafy greens are often the first foods that come to mind when we think of “biggest bang for your buck” in terms of anti-inflammatory benefits. While this is true, we often forget about the yellows and the oranges that also provide amazing benefits. I love this Golden Beet Smoothie, because it uses some of those ingredients.

  • Mango contains polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, all of which prevent free radical damage that triggers inflammation.
  • Oranges provide vitamin C and a special flavanone phytonutrient that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This flavanone is found mainly in the peel and inner white pulp, so keep a bit of that intact when making this smoothie while peeling enough to prevent it from being bitter.
  • Golden beets contain betalains and carotenoids, which function as both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help regulate inflammation in the cardiovascular and other body systems.
  • Carrots provide anti-inflammatory benefits with a unique mix of antioxidants, which particularly target the cardiovascular system.
  • Hemp seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids to help tip the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in favor of reducing inflammation.
  • Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound that is particularly beneficial for joints and is often compared to over the counter anti-inflammatory aids, such as ibuprofen, but without toxic effects.
  • Ginger contains gingerols - anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce arthritic pain.

The combination of these anti-inflammatory ingredients results in a smoothie that is a rich, golden color and incredibly refreshing post-workout. Whip this smoothie up as soon as you get back from a workout for maximum benefits, and then make the Curried Fried Rice recipe below for your next meal.

Anti-Inflammatory Golden Beet Smoothie

Serves 2 | Prep time: 5 minutes

1 cup frozen mango
1 orange, peeled and segmented
1 small golden beet, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 medium carrot, cut into 1” pieces
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup ice

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. * if you don’t have a high speed blender (like a Vitamix), steam the beet and  carrot until soft when poked with a fork. Freeze after steaming. Alternatively, you can shred them raw with a cheese grater. 

Curried Fried Rice

Prep the ingredients for this Curried Fried Rice ahead of time and this recipe comes together in a quick 15 minutes. It freezes well, so if you make a batch after a workout and have leftovers, portion them into individual servings and freeze for a meal that can be re-heated quickly. In addition to some of the anti-inflammatory ingredients used in the Golden Beet Smoothie, this recipe contains a few extras.

  • Garlic contains a unique mix of sulfur-containing compounds that protect against oxidative stress and unwanted inflammation.
  • Broccoli contains kaempferol, a flavonol that can help lower chronic inflammation.
  • Curry powder contains turmeric, allowing it to offer the same anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C, E, and A, and manganese, while also providing anti-inflammatory flavonoids and carotenoids. 

Anti-Inflammatory Curried Fried Rice

Serves 4 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon cooking oil or ghee
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
1 small head broccoli, florets roughly chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cashews
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3-4 cups cooked and cooled brown rice (made from 1 cup raw rice)
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
Hot sauce, plain yogurt, and/or lemon juice, for serving (optional)

  1. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil or ghee and swirl to coat.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, and white parts of green onions, sauté until fragrant; about 1 minute.
  3. Add broccoli florets, carrots, raisins, cashews, 1 tablespoon curry powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté until vegetables are crisp tender; 3-5 minutes. If pan gets dry, add 1 tablespoon water as needed. 
  4. Add cooked brown rice, garbanzo beans, remaining 2 teaspoons curry powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until warmed through and vegetables are cooked as desired; about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium if rice begins to burn/stick to the pan.
  5. Stir in chopped spinach and sauté until spinach is wilted. Season to taste with more curry powder and salt to taste. Serve topped with green parts of green onions and hot sauce, plain yogurt, and/or a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

Note: frozen broccoli and carrots would also work in this recipe. Simply sauté them in step 3 until heated through. Also, to make the ginger easy to grate, peel and freeze it first.

Adapted from The World's Healthiest Foods at whfoods.com

Lauren Larson MS, RDN
Lauren Larson MS, RDN


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