Remember the saying “You are what you eat”? Well, turns out you are what you drink, too! When we think of nutrition, we often think only of solid foods. But what you drink is a large part of what we put into our bodies and should be considered as part of our overall nutrition. Making healthy beverage choices is equally as important as choosing healthy foods.
What you eat and drink is passed on as information to your body’s organs and can harm how you feel. Consuming sugary drinks such as soda can negatively affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Instead, try these drinks. Besides being healthy choices, you may very well find them to help relieve arthritis pain!
Tea is one of the best beverages when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients. Green, black and white teas are all rich in polyphenols. Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial of all because its active ingredient is a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been shown to have antioxidant activity 100 times stronger than vitamins C and E, helping to preserve cartilage and bone.
Coffee has proven to have dense antioxidant profiles along with a generous concentration of anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Coffee attacks harmful free radicals within the body, which can cause all types of severe cell damage. Coffee also provides a protective shield that prevents the symptoms of gout.
Some claim that dairy-free is the way to go for arthritis, but the jury is still out when it comes to linking dairy consumption and inflammation. Like coffee, some studies show dairy can be inflammatory, while other studies show it helps reduce inflammation. For the most part, the benefits of avoiding dairy are highly individual, and there is not enough research to suggest that people with arthritis should ditch milk.
Orange, tomato, pineapple, and carrot juices are all high in the antioxidant, vitamin C, which can neutralize free radicals that lead to inflammation. Tart cherry juice has been shown to protect against gout flares and reduce OA symptoms.
Any fresh juice can be beneficial. However, juices can also be high in sugar and calories, so always be mindful and enjoy in moderation.
Experts rave about the benefits of smoothies over juice. Instead of just squeezing out the juice, you can receive the maximum amount of nutrients by using the entire fruit or veggie in a smoothie. The best way to give your body the antioxidants it needs is to add fruits and veggies that are rich in vibrant colors. Colorful berries and dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are the best pick for a large assortment of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Red wine contains a compound called resveratrol, which has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Studies show that red wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of knee-related osteoarthritis. It can also cut risk factors contributing to rheumatoid arthritis.
However, alcohol has been known to exacerbate arthritis. Drinking more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men can counteract the benefits and turn your alcoholic drink into a pro-inflammatory. The rule of thumb is always moderation.
If there is one drink to focus on, it’s water! Keeping your body hydrated is vital for flushing out toxins, thereby helping fight inflammation. Drinking enough water can keep your joints lubricated and help prevent gout attacks. Start your day with a glass of water, and drink at least eight glasses per day as the recommended daily amount. And don’t bother wasting time and money on enhanced waters as the added amount of nutrients and antioxidants is generally small.
Water can get a bit boring, but there are other ways to stay healthy and hydrated. These recommendations can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of popular beverages.
Although eating and drinking anti-inflammatory foods can help ease your daily arthritis pain, if you are experiencing prolonged joint pain or think you may have degenerative joint issues, don’t delay in seeing your orthopedist. Call me, Douglas J. Roger, M.D, at 1-760-416-4511.