Need a refresher on chronic mild inflammation? We thought because it’s a silent problem with few easily recognizable symptoms, just like high blood pressure. For starters, think about weight gain, fatigue, joint pain, skin problems, and digestive issues. A variety of problems can cause these symptoms, and one of them could be chronic low-grade inflammation, which is when your body’s immune system releases inflammatory substances to deal with injury and disease. It’s the bad side of a good thing.
A short-term inflammatory immune response helps us ward off an attack. It is not good if the inflammation is long-term and is caused by a wrong lifestyle. Chronic inflammation damages our cells over time. You can learn more about how inflammation affects your health by clicking here.
Because chronic low-grade inflammation is so closely linked to the things we put into our bodies like tobacco smoke, chemicals, red meat, alcohol, sugary and fried and highly processed foods, making lifestyle changes is a powerful way to reduce our inflammation cool. And one of the easiest ways to start is by choosing drinks that science has shown reduce inflammation. Here are the best, and to learn more about how to eat healthily, don’t miss Eating Habits to Lose Belly Fat with Age, Dietitians Say.
One of the most researched and powerful anti-inflammatory drugs is bromelain, an enzyme found in abundance in pineapples. A review of studies on bromelain in the journal Food in 2021 investigated its many potential therapeutic effects to treat cancer, burns, cardiovascular disease due to its anticoagulant properties, allergies, sinusitis and arthritis. One reason bromelain is so effective is its high bioavailability, meaning it is quickly absorbed by the body and remains effective for a significant amount of time.
Studies have shown that bromelain has both analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in rheumatoid arthritis patients and reduces knee pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis patients. Pineapple juice taken post-workout can even reduce post-workout inflammation by helping to repair and relieve muscle soreness as it is also high in potassium.
While all parts of the pineapple contain bromelain, most of this magical compound resides in the stem. Since the stalk is a bit chewy, you can mix the pit with the sweeter pulp or juice it to make a delicious anti-inflammatory elixir.
Turmeric is a yellowish-orange spice that contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin, which has been shown to help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and reduce inflammatory pain caused by osteoarthritis. In a 2019 study of the effectiveness of turmeric, 139 patients with knee osteoarthritis were divided into two groups. One group took a turmeric capsule three times a day, while the other group took a 50-milligram tablet of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac twice a day. After 14 and 28 days, all patients were evaluated for pain severity. The researchers found that the natural spice was just as effective as the popular NSAID at reducing knee pain and inflammation, and resulted in fewer unwanted side effects. Other studies show that turmeric is effective in reducing the inflammation that causes colitis.
Turmeric powder is easy to mix into smoothies and also makes a pleasant tea. However, since curcumin is better absorbed by the body when taken with some fat, adding milk or avocado to your turmeric smoothie is a smart option.
Or try warm turmeric milk made with almond milk and coconut oil (for the fat). Place the following ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes: 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon almond milk. honey (optional), 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, pinch of black pepper and freshly grated ginger. Makes 2 servings.
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. “Green tea is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, as well as the antioxidant EGCG, which research shows may improve fat burning and boost metabolism,” say the medical board members at Eatthis.com Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFTthe Nutrition Twins.
Among the best green tea variations is matcha, which contains a higher concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is also one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory polyphenols. A number of studies have shown that drinking matcha green tea can reduce the symptoms of various inflammatory diseases.
In a 2022 report in the magazine Food science and human well-beingsay researchers that green tea polyphenols strengthen the epithelial barrier in the gut and support healthy gut microbial composition, improving outcomes for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
No doubt you’ve used bone broth as a broth for soups. And you probably drank it in a steaming mug on a cold winter’s day. The broth made from cooked bones and connective tissues from chicken, beef and other animals has become a health elixir due to its concentration of valuable minerals, vitamins and amino acids that support a healthy gut microbiome.
“Our best line of defense against chronic inflammation is the health of our gut,” he says Samantha Presicci, MSN, RD, LD, a Registered Dietitian at Fond Bone Broth. Poor gut health can lead to a condition known as “leaky gut,” which is characterized by a compromised gut lining that allows unhealthy substances to enter your bloodstream and trigger inflammation, according to a review in the journal colon. Bone broth is high in collagen, gelatin, glycine, glutamine, and hydroxyproline, all of which have numerous clinical studies pointing to their ability to reduce inflammation.
“Collagen helps nourish the gut lining, and gelatin has the ability to absorb water and help maintain the mucus layer that keeps gut microbes away from the gut lining,” says Presicci. “Bone broth is easy for a damaged gut to digest and absorb, allowing you to take advantage of its amino acids and minerals for healing.” Other studies suggest that collagen, gelatin, chondroitin, and glucosamine from bone broth also work together to reduce inflammation in the joints that causes arthritis.
Dip some fresh ginger root in hot water to cool down chronic inflammation. The savory spice has been used for thousands of years to soothe upset stomachs, nausea and relieve pain. It can also be a natural way to relieve pain from inflamed joints, according to the Arthritis Foundation. A University of Miami study compared the effects of ginger extract to a placebo in 247 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee and found that ginger reduced pain and stiffness by 40% more than the placebo. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, researchers say it also acts as an analgesic.
The juice of tart cherries has been shown to be beneficial for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, as studies suggest it may lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. A 2019 study in the journal nutrient suggests that the heart-healthy effects on blood pressure and cholesterol are in part due to the juice’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In a small randomized controlled clinical trial, 37 men and women ages 65 to 80 were instructed to drink either 2 cups of tart cherry juice or a control drink daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks, blood samples were taken and the researchers found that only the subjects who drank the cherry juice reduced markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein, compared to the control group.
Learn about another important effect of drinking tart cherry juice.