The Best Drinking Habits for Inflammation, Says Dietitian
Inflammation can be both your best friend and your enemy at the same time. On the one hand, acute inflammation occurs when you have an injury and your body uses inflammatory cells to repair the damage that was done. On the other hand, chronic inflammation occurs slowly over time when your body sends inflammatory cells toward perceived injury, even when there isn't one. This can be caused by smoking, excess alcohol consumption, diets high in added sugar, obesity, and chronic stress.
When it comes to reducing the "bad" inflammation in your body, there are simple habits you can adopt that can help. To learn more, we talked with Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, and a member of our medical expert board, about her suggested drinking habits for reducing inflammation.
Here are her recommendations, then, for more healthy drinking tips, make sure to check out these Drinking Habits to Help You Shrink Abdominal Fat.
Adding coffee to your morning routine
The great news is that you can keep your favorite coffee routine in the morning while also helping to reduce inflammation.
"Coffee contains powerful antioxidants, including hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols, and these antioxidants help buffer free radicals (aka the bad guys) in your body, which reduces their ability to damage cells," says Goodson.
With that in mind, she also notes that the best benefits will come from monitoring what you put in your coffee.
"Long-term intake of added sugars, like straight sugar and syrups added to coffee, can potentially contribute to inflammation," says Goodson. "Try adding flavors like cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder instead."
Sipping on green tea
Green tea is easily one of the healthiest drinks you can consume. It is known to help lower cholesterol, promote weight loss and faster metabolism, reduce the risk of heart disease, and reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
"Green tea is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, as well as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which all help to prevent cellular damage, and thus long term inflammation," says Goodson.
Adding pomegranate juice to your beverage routine
While green tea is one of the best drinks to consume for antioxidants, many people don't realize that all-natural 100% pomegranate juice, like POM Wonderful with no added sugar or preservatives, "contains four times the antioxidants of green tea," says Goodson.
In fact, she says, "pomegranates also have potent anti-inflammatory properties and thus can contribute to lowering chronic inflammation in the body."
Cutting back on sugar-sweetened beverages
"Over time, excessive intake of added sugars can contribute to chronic inflammation, and many sugar-sweetened beverages have next to no nutritional value, meaning they really just provide you with sugar and calories," says Goodson. "Try swapping these out for water, lightly flavored waters, or even water flavored with fresh fruit as a good low-to-no sugar hydration source."