Why keeping inflammation at bay is so important for overall well-being
Inflammation is essentially ground zero for health woes that can manifest in the body. According to Dr. Steven Gundry, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon and author of the New York Times best-selling book The Plant Paradox, “serious health issues are linked to unresolved chronic inflammation, even dementia and cancer.” Signs and symptoms of inflammation, he adds, can include aches and pains, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and pre-diabetes, autoimmune disease, and acne, to name a few. That said, it's helpful to note that inflammation isn't necessarily always a bad thing—it's part of the body's natural way of fighting infection, illness, and injuries. That said, chronic inflammation can cause major issues. As such, it's important to keep inflammation levels at bay.
What can I drink to reduce inflammation?
Thankfully, some foods (and drinks) are especially effective at fighting off inflammation and protecting the body from its damaging effects. But keep in mind: Dr. Gundry notes that eating or even drinking these anti-inflammatory foods “is like fighting a forest fire with a garden hose.” Still, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is a great place to start either way, and certainly a step in the right direction. Remember, like most things in life, consistency is key if you want to reap the benefits in the long run.
The good news? While the photos ahead may make you think otherwise, you actually don't have to have next-level barista skills, be a recipe developer, nor a pro chef to make a healthy elixir that will benefit your body with every sip. All 10 of the anti-inflammatory drinks listed here are pretty simple to make—and you don't need any fancy equipment (other than a blender) either. Whether you like your drinks hot or iced, blended or smooth, savory or sweet, there's something for you on this list.
10 delicious anti-inflammatory drinks and their recipes
1. Blueberry Smoothie
Because of their high antioxidant content, blueberries have powerful benefits for both the heart and the brain. In fact, New York-based internist and gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal, MD, previously shared with Well+Good they're his number one, go-to fruit because they're just that good for you. (Don't let their small size fool you.) To make this recipe by Lemons & Zest, you can use fresh or frozen berries. Plus, the recipe also includes cayenne for a little bit of a kick that pairs impressively well with blueberries.
Get the recipe: Blueberry Smoothie
2. Turmeric Ginger Green Smoothie
Turmeric is one of the most powerful foods for fighting inflammation, so get ready for it to make some repeat appearances on this list of anti-inflammatory drinks. But that's not the only anti-inflammatory superhero in this drink by 24 Carrot Kitchen. In fact, ginger is turned to almost as often, because of its ability to help boost the immune system to settle an uneasy stomach. The best part? This recipe includes both, using a traditional green smoothie (with spinach and banana) as the base. And for some added gut health perks, it also calls for chia seeds and flax to up the fiber intake.
Get the recipe: Turmeric Ginger Green Smoothie
3. Golden Milk Latte
Golden milk lattes are an anti-inflammatory classic because the star ingredient is none other than turmeric. That said, turmeric does have a rather potent taste. However, it's subdued by the coconut milk that adds a subtle sweetness to the recipe and helps tone down the savory, earthy notes of the turmeric spice just a bit. Plus, this recipe by Minimalist Baker also calls for cinnamon for a warm and cozy touch to balance out all the flavors. Pro tip: Don't forget to add a pinch of black pepper, which helps your body better absorb turmeric's curcumin (aka its most beneficial compound) to ensure you reap all of the turmeric tea benefits this drink has to offer.
Get the recipe: Golden Milk Latte
4. Cinnamon Dolce Latte
If you have more of a sweet tooth, cinnamon is a great anti-inflammatory spice to keep on hand. Adding it to your morning cup of joe makes your coffee drinking even more health-boosting since cinnamon is full of antioxidants and is linked to promoting good cardiovascular health. In this recipe by With Salt and Wit, it's used as the key ingredient for a fancy coffee drink (minus the hefty coffee shop price tag). Plus, you don't even need an espresso machine to make it.
Get the recipe: Cinnamon Dolce Latte
5. Iced Cinnamon Honey Latte
More of an iced coffee drinker? Try this recipe by The Merry Thought for a smart way to incorporate cinnamon while keeping cool. Blend cinnamon with water, honey, and vanilla extract to make a cinnamon honey simple syrup, then add that to a glass of iced cold brew for a tasty anti-inflammatory treat. Swoon.
Get the recipe: Iced Cinnamon Honey Latte
6. Rosemary Lemon Iced Tea
Rosemary is a great spice for fighting inflammation because it's linked to boosting brain health and protecting the liver, among other benefits. Here, Fried Dandelions uses it to make a hydrating iced tea recipe that's paired with Earl Grey tea (which is naturally rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants on its own), lemon, and water. Just go easy on the sugar (if you use it at all), since sugar itself can have inflammatory properties.
Get the recipe: Rosemary Lemon Iced Tea
7. Carrot, Ginger, and Garlic Immunity Shot
This anti-inflammatory drink by With Food and Love is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you yourself a wellness daredevil, it's worth giving it an (ahem) shot. What makes it so powerful (and potent) is the combination of ginger and garlic, a food that's on the bottom of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid, right next to turmeric since they're some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods we know and love.
Get the recipe: Carrot, Ginger, and Garlic Immunity Shot
8. Lemon Ginger Beet Juice
The main ingredient in this nutrient-packed anti-inflammatory juice are beets, which are especially beneficial for folks who work out regularly because they help replenish potassium (an electrolyte which is lost through sweating). Beet juice is also a good source of vitamin C. In this recipe by Inspired Taste, it's combined with ginger, another inflammation-fighting all-star. And if you happen to love the vibes this drink has to offer, you'll likely also enjoy a big cup of ginger lemon water to sip on throughout the day.
Get the recipe: Lemon Ginger Beet Juice
9. Beet Juice Latte
For a different way to get beets' nutritional benefits, try it in latte form. Besides beets, all you need for this recipe by Natural Fit Foodie is steamed milk (or nut milk). And in case you were wondering, what can I drink before bed for inflammation? This is it. Why? The magnesium (found in beets) is linked to getting better sleep, so consider this a nice, pre-bedtime elixir.
Get the recipe: Beet Juice Latte
10. Golden Glow Pineapple Turmeric Smoothie
It would only be fitting to end a roundup of anti-inflammatory drinks with one last drink recipe featuring turmeric, right? While the golden spice is included in this recipe by Jar of Lemons, the real star this time is pineapple juice, which is especially beneficial for digestive health. Sip this bev and you'll feel like you're on a tropical vacation—no matter where you really are.
Get the recipe: Golden Glow Pineapple Turmeric Smoothie
How often should one consume anti-inflammatory drinks for best results?
While Dr. Gundry says most people can likely benefit from following an anti-inflammatory diet and drinking anti-inflammatory drinks, he warns that just because an ingredient or food is touted as being anti-inflammatory, that doesn’t mean that it will have that same effect for everyone. For instance, he says, some people can have a food sensitivity to certain anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger and pineapple. In these cases, chugging drinks made with those ingredients may not be wise.
When in doubt, Dr. Gundry recommends sticking to foods and ingredients with confirmed anti-inflammatory benefits such as fermented drinks, like low-sugar kombucha, balsamic vinegar, and raw sauerkraut juices, all while doing your best to consume known inflammatory drinks and foods in moderation. “Recent human studies out of Stanford confirm the true anti-inflammatory benefits of these compounds, not because of any probiotics that they contain, but the postbiotics,” he says. “Postbiotics are short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and acetate as well as gases like hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and carbon dioxide that are produced by bacteria, fungi, and yeasts in the fermentation of plant fibers and sugars in fermented foods which also get produced in our gut when we eat prebiotic fiber. In other words, prebiotics are turned into postbiotics.”
The big takeaway? Anti-inflammatory drinks can help fight off inflammation—and serve as a yummy treat, no barista skills required. That said, it's important to maintain an overall well-balanced diet to achieve an even healthier lifestyle.
Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of turmeric:
- Ghasemzadeh Rahbardar M, Hosseinzadeh H. Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2020 Sep;23(9):1100-1112. doi: 10.22038/ijbms.2020.45269.10541. PMID: 32963731; PMCID: PMC7491497.
- Wastyk HC, Fragiadakis GK, Perelman D, Dahan D, Merrill BD, Yu FB, Topf M, Gonzalez CG, Van Treuren W, Han S, Robinson JL, Elias JE, Sonnenburg ED, Gardner CD, Sonnenburg JL. Gut-microbiota-targeted diets modulate human immune status. Cell. 2021 Aug 5;184(16):4137-4153.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.06.019. Epub 2021 Jul 12. PMID: 34256014; PMCID: PMC9020749.
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