It’s not the most comforting of thoughts, feeling inflammation kick in and knowing that a bout of arthritic pain might be just around the corner. But, to take a bit of the burden off, you’re in luck. At least if you like to enjoy a tasty beverage now and then. There are many anti-inflammatory drinks that can do wonders for arthritis patients by reducing joint pain and inflammation. Here are the top anti-inflammatory drinks you need to know about.
Many raw and veggie fruit juices
Fruit juice can offer a number of benefits — refreshment on a hot day, ample servings of Vitamin C, a quick sugar buzz — but for arthritis patients, the real benefit comes down to free radicals. A glass of carrot juice can help offset the negative inflammatory effects of free radicals in your body. The same can be said for tomato juice, orange and pineapple juices, and any other fruits and veggies that have high antioxidant properties. The one thing you need to watch out for here, however, is sugars — make sure you aren’t consuming too much sugar in your fruit juices, particularly if they are made from concentrate and/or contain high fructose corn syrup. Whenever you can, opt for all-natural, fresh-squeezed juice straight out of the bottle. Or, better yet, get yourself a juicer and make it fresh yourself!
If fresh juice isn’t your thing or if full-meal replacement beckons, whip up your fresh fruit into a smoothie! This route allows you to add all sorts of ingredients (fiber, other fruits and veggies, protein, flax, this list goes on . . . ) without sacrificing any of the anti-inflammatory benefits. Just remember, watch the sugar intake here.
Black, White, and Green Tea
This is an easy one because you probably already have tea in your cupboard (if not, a quick trip to the grocery store can solve that problem cheaply). Green and white teas contain high levels of an anti-inflammatory compound called polyphenols. The active ingredient in Green Tea is epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to be more effective in treating arthritis symptoms than either Vitamin C or Vitamin E, according to arthritis.org. One of the coolest things about tea, in this case at least, is that you can drink it any time of day and still get the same benefit — whether you need that morning pick-me-up or are trying to wind down at the end of a long day. And, there are so many types and flavors to choose from, you’re bound to find one that you absolutely love. While Black Teas don’t have such high polyphenol levels, you’ll still pull the same benefit — you just might have to opt for a second pour from the kettle.
Oh, caffeine — that most joyous of morning stimulants. Ok, who are we kidding. You’re just as likely to find anyone at GLX3 in line at the cafe mid-afternoon as you are to find them there at 7 am. In all seriousness, though, coffee and some of its cousins can do wonders for your arthritis. Like tea, coffee has polyphenols that fight joint pain and inflammation. Chai tea, another coffee shop favorite, is loaded with cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves — all anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Throw some variations in there and add cacao for even more punch. Again, be sure you’re not ordering a chai latte loaded with sugar or fats, because that is a great way to offset any positive benefits to your health. And always drink caffeine in moderation, typically not more than one or two cups each day. Or, opt for caffeine-free coffee shop classics.
Hot chocolate with turmeric
We noted above that cacao can help in the fight against joint pain and inflammation. So now we have a little secret — that cup of hot chocolate you love to sneak in on cold winter days brings with it a dose of good news. Flavanols in chocolate can keep your arteries healthy by cleaning the endothelial cells, preventing inflammation from striking forth as a result. Even the US National Library of Medicine is on board with cacao as a remedy for arthritis pain, noting that “decreased adhesion molecules and 4-series leukotrienes in serum, nuclear factor κB activation in leukocytes, and the expression of CD62P and CD11b on monocytes and neutrophils.”
We’re not going to hold you to memorizing that line. Just know that cacao — along with each of the delicious drinks we’ve covered here — can aid in your fight against joint pain and inflammation. Plus, they taste good while doing it. How’s that for a positive spin on a tired conversation?