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Drinking Habits You Must Follow If You Have Arthritis, Say Dietitians

By making these small dietary changes, you may experience less pain and swelling.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

There are over 58 million people in the U.S. alone who are currently living with arthritis, which equates to 1 in every 4 American adults. And while many people only associate arthritis with older populations, the CDC reported that more than half of people with arthritis are between the ages of 18-64.

Living with arthritis can be a debilitating experience because of the intense swelling, pain, and stiffness that sometimes occurs. Thankfully, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make that may make your symptoms less severe. These include physical activity, working with a doctor, and eating a healthier diet.

To learn more about a healthier diet for those living with arthritis, we talked with a couple of dietitians on our Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board.

Read more to learn what they have to say about drinking habits that can help if you have arthritis, and for more health tips, check out The #1 Best Breakfast for Arthritis.

Sip on green tea

green tea

When looking to relieve arthritis pain, lowering inflammation in the body can be extremely helpful. This is why dietitians recommend including green tea in your diet.

"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 [associated with arthritis]. They also help reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, further protecting the cells and molecules from damage," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our expert medical board.

Add pomegranate juice to your drinking habits

pomegranate juice

Drinking all-natural fruit juice can help improve your health, and pomegranate juice is known as being one of the most nutrient-dense juices out there.

"Pomegranate juice, on average, contains four times the antioxidants of green tea and has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants help fight off free radicals (aka the bad guys) that contribute to cell damage and inflammation in the body," says Goodson.

To reap the most benefits from pomegranate juice, you'll want to look for a bottle that is 100% juice with no added sugars, no preservatives, and no fillers, like POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice.

Cut out sugar-sweetened beverages

soda glasses

Soda and other sugary drinks are one of the quickest ways to derail your health goals, and they can be especially harmful to those with arthritic pain.

"While a sweet beverage here and there will not hurt you, consistent intake of added sugar, like that we find in sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, fruity beverages, sweet tea, lemonade, fancy coffee drinks, etc.) can contribute to inflammation over time. This long-term inflammation can irritate arthritis symptoms for many individuals," says Goodson.

Avoid or limit your alcohol consumption

refusing alcohol

The effects of alcohol on rheumatoid arthritis is still up for debate, but researchers have found that it may have an effect on another type of arthritis: osteoarthritis.

"Regular alcohol consumption may worsen arthritis symptoms and has been associated with an increased risk of osteoarthritis," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and member of our medical expert board, "so if you want an occasional drink, stick to just one."

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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