If you suffer from daily joint pain, your go-to solution could be the pharmacy you carry in your purse. But what if relief was as simple as having a drink? While pain-killers may help in the short term, these joint-healing drinks could help you have healthier, happier joints in the long term.
Afterall, what you drink is a large part of what you put into your body and should be considered as part of your overall nutrition. Making healthy beverage choices is equally as important as choosing healthy foods.
Try these 7 drink ideas to ease joint discomfort and help you move freely.
Our first (and most important) drink recommendation is none other than good old water. While this one might seem obvious, drinking water really is critical for pain-free joints. Staying hydrated can help fend off stiffness, pain, and inflammation because cartilage, which acts as a cushion for the bones at the end of a joint, is mostly made up of water. On top of this, water is an important component of the synovial fluid that lubricates cartilage and keeps it functioning the way it should.
Start every day with a glass of water before you eat any food since most people wake up somewhat dehydrated. Make water your default drink throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you and add fresh fruit if you need a hit of flavor. Choose water instead of soda, which is full of sugar, aspartame, and phosphoric acid, and can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Tea is one of the best beverages for sore joints due to its many health benefits. Green, black and white teas are all rich in anti-inflammatory compounds such as polyphenols. Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial because of its active ingredient epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG. EGCG has been shown to have antioxidant activity 100 times stronger than vitamins C and E, helping to preserve cartilage and bone. Green tea also contains theanine, which is known to have a relaxing effect on the body. This could help to relieve stress-related tension in the muscles and joints.
Smoothies made with fresh ingredients are packed with joint-healthy nutrients and antioxidants. 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.
For example, studies have found that parsley’s active ingredient, carnosol, targets inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger is another excellent smoothie ingredient and a well-known anti-inflammatory. It can reduce the activity of several chemical substances that promote joint inflammation, such as leukotrienes and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Collagen is a protein that makes up approximately 30 percent of the proteins within the body. It is the primary component of connective tissue in the body and is found in muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, skin, arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and joint cartilage. Collagen drinks are known to be helpful for conditions like fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, which cause joint pain and discomfort. Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall. A common way to add collagen to your diet is to add a scoop to your smoothie, cup of tea, coffee, or simply drink a spoonful stirred into a small glass of water.
Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, cherry juice is another beverage option for those looking to support their muscles and joints. Research shows regular cherry intake could reduce the risk of gout attacks, while other evidence suggests the drink could be beneficial in relieving the pain of osteoarthritis sufferers. If you are active, studies suggest that cherry juice may reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which is often felt after a run or workout and may add to the burden of everyday joint pain. Study participants saw benefits from drinking two 8-ounce glasses per day, reporting reduced stiffness, and improved joint function.
The turmeric found in golden milk may help to reduce painful swelling and joint inflammation. This earthy spice promotes healthy functioning of the joints and may reduce pain and discomfort. Numerous studies have shown that curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, can help reduce the body’s inflammatory response and provide relief for joint pain and inflammation caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Golden milk is easy to make. Simply warm one cup of coconut milk, half a teaspoon of ground turmeric, a little bit of grated ginger, and a pinch each of black pepper and cardamom. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, add honey to taste, and enjoy your healing drink.
Save the carcass whenever you make a roast chicken, and make bone broth in your crockpot. Bone broth is known to support joint health thanks to compounds like chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine found in the cartilage. Plus, it’s a good source of anti-inflammatory amino acids like proline, glycine, and arginine. Add a pinch of salt and enjoy a cup of hot broth as a snack or before dinner.
Who knew that what you drink could have such a beneficial effect on your joints? Start by drinking more water daily, and incorporate some of these nutrient-rich drinks into your weekly menu to enjoy happier joints on the regular.