The #1 Best Drink For Inflammation, Says Dietitian
From fighting off viruses and infections to repairing injuries, inflammation plays a critical role in the body's natural healing process. However, like many other things, too much of it can be harmful to your health, with chronic inflammation being linked to a range of diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.
While eating anti-inflammatory foods is one tried-and-true way to protect your body, what you choose to drink is just as vital. Luckily, you don't need to purchase anything fancy to fend off inflammation-related health conditions. According to our medical expert board member Sydney Greene, MS, RD, the best drink for inflammation is good ol' H2O.
Read on to discover why water is the best drink for reducing inflammation. And for more healthy drinking tips, don't forget to check out The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.
How does water lower inflammation?
Inflammation can occur when the body experiences a deficiency in waste removal. That's where drinking plenty of water can help.
"One of [water's] main roles is to help the body in the natural process of detoxification," says Greene. "Detoxifying and eliminating waste by going to the bathroom is one of the most fundamental ways to decrease inflammation in the body."
Staying hydrated also helps maintain the body's fluid balance. According to Medical News Today, 80% of cartilage—which is tissue found in the joints and discs of the spine—is composed of water. Drinking water plays an integral role in the production of synovial fluid, which lubricates and protects the joints. Without adequate water supply, the joints lose their shock-absorbing ability, which can ultimately trigger joint friction and pain.
How much water should I drink?
You've probably heard the "expert recommendation" that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. But how much truth is there to this guideline? It depends.
How much water a person needs is dependent on multiple factors, including their diet, where they live, the weather and what season it is, how frequently they exercise, and their condition of health.
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should consume approximately 15.5 cups (or 3.7 liters) of fluid per day, while women should drink 11.5 cups (or 2.7 liters) of fluid per day. However, it's important to note that this recommendation includes other beverages—such as juice and tea—and about 20% of one's daily fluid intake usually comes from food.
If you're looking to take your water up a notch, Greene suggests adding citrus fruits and berries. The fruit will not only enhance the taste, but it will add a boost of antioxidants, which are celebrated for their anti-inflammatory properties.
What are some other anti-inflammatory drinks?
While water is Greene's go-to drink for lowering inflammation, green vegetable juice and turmeric tea are two beverages worth noting.
Green juice boasts a nutrient profile that's rich in vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and antioxidants.
Similarly, turmeric is highly regarded for its inflammation-fighting antioxidants, which is why it's often nicknamed a "superfood."
"Curcumin, the polyphenol found in turmeric root, has been widely studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties," says Greene. "One way [curcumin fights inflammation] is by scavenging free radicals in the body."