ANTI-INFLAMMATORY RECIPES FOR JOINT AND MUSCLE PAIN

Anti-Inflammatory Recipes for Joint and Muscle Pain

Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting you from infection caused by bacteria and viruses. However, when inflammation is misdirected, it can cause a lot of pain — particularly, in the joints and muscles. One of the ways to reduce joint and muscle pain is to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. This means consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. So, if you want a push in the right direction, here are some anti-inflammatory recipes you can try out.

PREVENT JOINT AND MUSCLE PAIN WITH THESE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY RECIPES

1. BUCKWHEAT AND GINGER GRANOLA

It’s never too early to fight off inflammation. That’s why this list of anti-inflammatory recipes starts with a breakfast offering: buckwheat and ginger granola.

Ginger is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s effective in easing joint pain, muscle soreness and other physical ailments. Thus, this buckwheat and ginger granola recipe can help alleviate some of the pain you’re experiencing. Moreover, you’ll also enjoy this dish because it’s sweet, flavourful, crunchy and creamy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (20g) piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cups dates, pitted
  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp raw cacao powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place oats, buckwheat, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  3. Add dates, applesauce and coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Let mixture simmer for five minutes or until dates soften. Stir in ginger.
  4. Transfer date mixture to a blender. Add cacao powder. Pulse until the mixture has a smooth texture.
  5. Pour the date mixture into the bowl with oats, buckwheat and seeds. Stir until the ingredients are well-combined.
  6. Spread granola mixture onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until granola is crispy. Remove the baking sheet from oven and stir the ingredients every five to 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer to an airtight container for storage. When ready to eat, serve with blueberries, strawberries, Greek yoghurt or your preferred toppings.

2. ALMOND CHERRY OATMEAL

Almond cherry oatmeal is another breakfast offering in this list of anti-inflammatory recipes for joint and muscle pain. The main ingredients in this quick and easy dish all have anti-inflammatory properties.

Tart cherries, in particular, have a very high anti-inflammatory content. Thus, this recipe is a good addition to your anti-inflammatory diet. Apart from that, a serving of almond cherry oatmeal can also boost your metabolism and prevent you from overeating for the rest of the day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup frozen pitted cherries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds, slivered
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Put 1 3/4 cups of water and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Then, add rolled oats and cherries. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  2. Reduce heat and let mixture simmer for five minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove pot from heat. Stir in maple syrup and almond extract. You can add more until it meets your desired level of sweetness. Cover the pot and let stand for two minutes.
  4. Transfer oatmeal to serving bowls. Top with cherries and almonds. Serve.

3. TURMERIC PUMPKIN SOUP

Turmeric pumpkin soup is just warm and comforting. It can also help reduce inflammation in your joints and muscles. As another anti-inflammatory recipes, this delicious and filling soup features three key ingredients.

Pumpkin or butternut squash is high in beta-cryptoxanthin, which suppresses inflammation. Turmeric, likewise, can reduce inflammation in the body. Its effectiveness is also enhanced when combined with ginger. Thus, this turmeric pumpkin soup is a good dish to add to your anti-inflammatory diet.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-inch knob ginger, grated
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook and stir for five minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add pumpkin, anise, turmeric, cinnamon and red chilli flakes to the pot. Stir and cook for five minutes.
  3. Stir in vegetable stock and coconut milk. Bring mixture to a boil. Then, let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer mixture to a blender. Pulse until the texture is smooth and creamy. Stir in lemon juice. Pulse until well-combined.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

4. BAKED SALMON WITH ALMOND-FLAXSEED CRUST

My list of anti-inflammatory recipes includes baked salmon with an almond-flaxseed crust. This is a delicious and substantial meal you can eat for lunch or dinner.

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which lowers your body’s inflammatory response. Thus, it can help reduce any pain caused by the inflammation. Almonds and flaxseeds also have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby, boosting this recipe’s potential to ease joint and muscle pain.  

Ingredients:

  • 680g wild-caught salmon fillet
  • 1/4 cup scallions, green part finely minced
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1 tsp garlic-infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  2. Place almonds and flax seeds in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a sandy texture. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Add scallions, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper to the bowl.
  4. Place salmon on the baking sheet with the skin side down. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread and press a generous amount of the breadcrumb mixture on top of the salmon.
  5. Bake salmon for 18 to 25 minutes or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  6. Transfer to a platter. Serve with your preferred side dish.

5. SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN CHILLI

I’ve got a delicious sweet potato and black bean chilli in our list of anti-inflammatory recipes. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which suppresses the body’s inflammatory response. Likewise, black beans are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, with this sweet potato and black bean chilli recipe, you’re able to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of these two ingredients.   

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 1 (420g) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (400g) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sweet potato. Cook for 4 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently while cooking.
  2. Add garlic, chilli powder, chipotle seasoning, cumin and salt to the pan. Cook and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in water and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until potato is tender.
  4. Add black beans, tomatoes and lime juice to the pan. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a simmer. Stir often while cooking.
  5. Reduce heat and maintain a gentle simmer for 4 minutes.
  6. Transfer chilli to a bowl. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve.

6. GRILLED CHICKEN AND SPINACH SALAD

Grilled chicken and spinach salad is a healthy and diet-friendly dish that also has amazing anti-inflammatory benefits. Spinach is rich in vitamin K, which destroys inflammatory cells that contribute to joint and muscle pains. Thus, I’ve included this grilled chicken and spinach salad in this list of anti-inflammatory recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 198g baby spinach leaves
  • 4 (85g) boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 carrot, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 sweet red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Directions:

  1. Place chicken, lemon juice, dried oregano, garlic, salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Shake to combine the ingredients. Refrigerate for at least two hours up to six hours or longer.
  2. Put basil leaves, white balsamic vinegar, shallots, water, olive oil, salt and pepper in the blender. Pulse until the mixture has a smooth texture. Set aside.
  3. When marinated chicken is ready, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until it’s tender and browned on both sides. Cut into strips.
  4. Place spinach, carrots, bell peppers and onions in a serving bowl. Top with chicken. Drizzle balsamic vinegar dressing over the salad. Serve.

7. BAKED LEMON BUTTER TILAPIA

Baked lemon butter tilapia is another anti-inflammatory recipe because tilapia is packed with selenium, a mineral with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties.

Though tilapia doesn’t have as much omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, you’ll still be able to benefit its anti-inflammatory properties. This delicious baked lemon butter tilapia is also low in calories, so it’s a good addition to your meal plan.

Ingredients:

  • 4 (170g) tilapia fillets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Cover the surface of a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place garlic, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk to combine the ingredients.
  3. Put tilapia fillets in the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Then, drizzle the lemon butter mixture on top.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until flesh flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven.
  5. Sprinkle parsley on top. Serve with a green salad, quinoa or your preferred side dish.

8. CITRUS SALAD WITH GINGER YOGHURT DRESSING

If you want something fresh and light, try this recipe for citrus salad with a ginger yoghurt dressing. This colourful and refreshing salad can help reduce joint and muscle pain. That’s because the ginger in this recipe is noted to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Ingredients:

  • 3 navel oranges, peeled and cut into sections
  • 2 large tangerines, peeled and cut into sections
  • 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
  • 1 (450g) container Greek yoghurt
  • 2/3 cup crystallised ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place orange, tangerine and grapefruit slices in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in dried cranberries, honey and cinnamon. Mix to combine the ingredients.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Combine Greek yoghurt and ginger in a separate bowl. Cover and chill for at least one hour.
  5. When ready to eat, transfer fruit mixture to serving bowls. Top with a spoonful of yoghurt. Sprinkle with brown sugar and more dried cranberries. Serve.

9. ROASTED CARROT AND AVOCADO SALAD

You’ll be able to reduce joint and muscle pain caused by inflammation with this roasted carrot and avocado salad. This healthy salad features two power foods that can help you fight inflammation.

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Likewise, avocados are high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and other essential compounds that fight inflammation.

Ingredients:

  • 454g carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 small avocados, pitted and cut into cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix garlic, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, ground cumin and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Add the carrots and toss to combine the ingredients.
  3. Arrange carrots in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Place avocado, salad greens and carrots in a large serving bowl. Add two tbsp olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the ingredients.
  5. Transfer salad to plates and serve.  

10. POTATO PLUM DUMPLINGS

Potato plum dumplings are a traditional Eastern European dish that I’ve added to this list of anti-inflammatory recipes. Plums have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They’re high in polyphenol antioxidants which can reduce inflammation as well as lower your risk of several serious health conditions. Thus, these potato plum dumplings can help reduce joint and muscle pain.     

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium black plums, pitted and halved
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp 2% milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar butter, melted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in milk and egg. Whisk to combine the ingredients.
  2. Divide the dough mixture into six portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Then, place a plum in the middle of each ball. Push the plum and bring the corners of the dough to the centre to seal.
  3. Put water and butter in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add the dumplings to the pot. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle pan juices and cinnamon sugar butter on top. Serve.

If you’re experiencing chronic joint and muscle pain caused by inflammation, you’ll definitely see the benefits of adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. We’ve introduced 10 anti-inflammatory recipes to get you started.

These healthy and delicious dishes can make a huge difference to how you feel. That’s because they’re packed with foods that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Not only do these ingredients reduce inflammation, they can also improve your overall health.

ANTHONY HILL, FOUNDER

Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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