Inflammation in the body is a natural process that can actually help you stay healthy. However, problems can arise when we have chronic high levels of inflammation, which is associated with a number of health conditions.
But if you're trying to eat an inflammation-fighting diet, the foods you eat aren't the only thing you should be paying attention to. According to a few experts we spoke to, what's in your cup matters, too.
Video of the Day
Below, we share the scoop from nutrition experts on which drinks help fight inflammation.
1. Bone Broth
Bone broth is a long-loved liquid that comes from slow-cooking bones, veggies and spices. The benefits of this beverage come from the nutrients, vitamins and minerals seeping out of the bones and into the broth as it cooks.
You'll get some collagen (a type of protein) and electrolytes (which help you stay hydrated) in both homemade and store-bought bone broth.
Amino acids found in bone broth, like glycine and arganine may act as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the body, according to March 2017 research in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.
Add some more nutrition by playing around with spices like ginger, turmeric, thyme, salt, and pepper.
2. Oat Milk
"Eating oats has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits, which is why I recommend oat milk for those looking for a non-dairy milk alternative," says Amy Gorin, RD, who is also a nutrition partner with Planet Oat.
Research has found that a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which you'll find in oat milk, is associated with lower inflammation and heart disease risk, as well as risk of type 2 diabetes and skin conditions, according to a November 2021 review in Foods.
"I like to recommend Planet Oat Unsweetened Original Oatmilk, which contains no added sugar," Gorin says.
Coffee is full of antioxidants and polyphenols, and these compounds have been tied to lower levels of inflammation and chronic disease, according to a November 2020 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Drinking coffee has been associated with powerful anti-inflammatory effects, according to a November 2017 review in the Critical Review of Food Science and Nutrition.
4. Green Tea
There are so many types of tea and each boasts its own unique benefits. Green tea may have specific compounds when it comes to inflammation.
"One easy and cozy way to fight inflammation and boost your health this season is by drinking green tea," Dr. Agarwal says. "This beverage has been long known for its anti-inflammatory effects on the body, thanks to the polyphenols in it."
Research does suggest green tea and some compounds found in it may have therapeutic uses for inflammatory diseases, according to a September 2016 review in Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry.
"If you're not a big tea drinker, try matcha, which is finely ground green tea leaves. My only word of caution is that green tea does have caffeine, so avoid drinking it close to bedtime," Dr. Agarwal says.
"Green tea may help inflammation by working through your gut," says Amanda Sauceda, RD. "There is research that suggests green tea may improve the health of your gut microbiome."
Green tea has been shown to lower the production of pro-inflammatory substances in the gut and influence inflammatory pathways in people with inflammatory diseases and cancer, according to July 2021 research in Molecules.
Keep in mind, there are some people who should not drink green tea, like those on blood thinners or statins for their heart. Green tea can reduce the effectiveness of these drugs, or thin the blood too much, thereby increasing the medication's effects. Talk to your doctor if you're unsure whether you can drink green tea with your meds.
5. Ginger Tea
"Ginger tea is a warm, non-caffeinated beverage that may work against inflammation," says Kayley Myers, RD. That's because ginger has plant compounds like gingerols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, according to July 2018 research in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
People with knee arthritis who took ginger supplements had lower inflammatory markers than those who took a placebo, according to a September 2016 study in the Journal of Nutrition of Gerontology and Geriatrics.
Ginger tea can be made by boiling a few slices of thinly sliced ginger with 1 cup of water," Myers says.
6. Prune Juice
Prune juice, which is made from dried plums that have been rehydrated. The polyphenols in prune juice may help protect against inflammation, especially as it applies to age-related health conditions, according to March 2021 research in Antioxidants.
"I love to recommend prune juice because its full of antioxidants. Plus, drinking prune juice is beneficial for inflammatory markers," Gorin says.
Eating prunes has been tied to protection from inflammation that leads to bone loss, according to an October 2022 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"While there are many exciting drinks and elixirs available to drink, don't discount the importance of water! Being adequately hydrated is incredibly important for many reasons, including fighting inflammation," says Holly Larson, RD.
Water is necessary for us to be able to eliminate waste and toxins from our bodies and if we're dehydrated, this can lead to inflammation, and worsening of inflammatory conditions like arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
If you don't like the taste of water, you can try adding fresh fruits in your glass. Or you can heat it up to soothe a sore throat, with honey and lemon for a cough, for instance.
8. Golden Milk
If you've heard some buzz around golden milk, there's a good reason: "A favorite anti-inflammatory drink of mine is a turmeric 'golden milk' latte, which can be made by simmering turmeric and ginger with almond or coconut milk," says Trent Orfanos, MD. "The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin, which has demonstrated beneficial effects on inflammation."
In particular, it's been shown to improve symptoms of inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and psoriasis, according to a November 2021 study in Drug Design, Development and Therapy.
Other Ways to Lower Inflammation
What you drink is just one area you can improve to lower inflammation in your body. Lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and sleep, work together to keep your body healthy and reduce levels of inflammation.
- High-quality sleep helps keep our immune system healthy and reduces chronic inflammation, according to a November 2020 study in StatPearls.
- Emphasize anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. These include colorful fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant properties.
- Exercise regularly to keep inflammation levels lower. Some types of exercise are better than others for reducing inflammation in the body.
- Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity:Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences: The Natural Product 6-Gingerol Inhibits Inflammation-Associated Osteoclast Differentiation via Reduction of Prostaglandin E2 Levels
- Antioxidants: Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammaging Ability of Prune (Prunus Spinosa L.) Extract Result in Improved Wound Healing Efficacy
- Arthritis Foundation: Best Drinks for Arthritis