This article was last updated July 11, 2023.
A quick Google search for “anti-inflammatory drinks” yields a lot of miracle cures claiming improved wellness and even increased longevity. And while some might be more valuable than others, there are easier — and less expensive — solutions out there for reducing inflammation.
Not all inflammation is created equal
As a quick refresher, not all inflammation is bad. It’s your body’s way of protecting and healing itself after an injury. The inflammatory response activates your immune system to create inflammatory cells that fight bacteria or heal damaged tissue. You can see that when you get a bruise or see swelling or redness on a wound.
In the case of chronic or systemic inflammation, however, the body will create inflammatory cells when there is no need and those can attack an otherwise healthy body. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, is when inflammation attacks healthy joint tissues and causes damage and pain. Chronic inflammation can also cause or is linked to:
Chronic inflammation can be caused by autoimmune disorders, exposure to pollution or chemicals and certain lifestyle factors including:
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Infrequent exercise, or high-intensity exercise too often
- Chronic stress
- Eating a diet high in inflammatory foods External Site
What to drink to reduce inflammation
If all that information has you feeling stressed, take a deep breath, followed by another deep breath.
*pauses for deep breathing exercise*
There are some delicious, healthy beverages you can enjoy that will actually help you aid your body in its inflammation response.
There’s a reason tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years External Site across many cultures. High-quality teas are full of minerals, vitamins and amino acids. Research has found polyphenols, which are plant-based compounds, can aid in reducing inflammation. According to the research External Site, both black and green teas, when consumed daily over the course of weeks, work to reduce some of the active inflammatory proteins found in the body.
To see the greatest health benefits of tea, look to either black, oolong, green or white teas. These types are derived from plants, specifically the Camellia sinensis External Site, and have a greater concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols. Enjoy the tea as is — without milk, honey or added sugar — because some research indicates additives can reduce the antioxidants External Site.
Herbal teas are made from dried spices, herbs, fruits, and roots, and while tasty, don’t boast the same health benefits as those made from tea leaves.
Smoothies are one of the easiest and quickest ways to pack a number of anti-inflammatory foods into a healthy beverage. Just throw in a handful of leafy greens, berries, your milk of choice, ice and blend into a delicious, nutrient-dense drink. And remember, if fresh fruits and veggies are out of your budget, the frozen varieties have the same nutritional benefits.
Anti-inflammatory foods that would be perfect in your next smoothie include:
- Leafy greens, specifically spinach, kale and collard greens
Get your fruits and veggies in one smoothie
Try our green machine smoothie with superfoods kale and avocado to help you get your daily nutrition. Not only is this smoothie delicious, but it has inflammation-fighting health benefits. Try it today!
Smoothies are a great way for adults, and kids, to get their daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. If you have a picky eater, no matter their age, smoothies are a great way to “hide” the greens that might not be their favorite.
Looking for something more specific? Try these smoothie and drink recipes out.
You’ve likely seen this drink popping up at your local grocery store more and more over the years. Kombucha is a lightly carbonated, fermented tea External Site. It’s created from yeast and bacteria (also called SCOBY) that, once added to the tea, creates a chemical reaction resulting in acetic acid bacteria and lactic acid bacteria. Studies have shown that kombucha, and other fermented foods External Site, can help the immune system.
To enjoy this drink safely, be sure to buy it from the grocery store where the product has most likely followed the standards set forth by U.S. Kombucha Brewers International. Some kombuchas can be high in sugar, so it’s best to check the nutritional facts to ensure it is low sugar. In addition, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult with their health care provider before consuming, as some kombuchas can have trace amounts of alcohol in them.
Golden milk latte
Often touted as a superfood, turmeric is the main ingredient found in a golden milk latte. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that contains an antioxidant called curcumin. This special spice dates back as early as 2500 BCE when it was found near present day New Delhi, India.
There’s research that shows curcumin may be a safe and effective way to reduce inflammation External Site and may even prevent or slow the spread of cancer External Site. Turmeric can be used in a wide variety of dishes and can also be used in the warm, nutritional beverage. Here's a recipe to make golden milk External Site.
Staying hydrated is crucial for your overall health — especially for fighting inflammation. When your body is dehydrated, it can’t function properly and must work extra hard to do its basic job. Those who have arthritis can help keep joints well-lubricated by drinking their recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This helps the body flush out toxins and feel its best.
Concerned about inflammation and your diet? Your doctor can help.
If you’re concerned about chronic inflammation or about your diet, talk to your personal doctor, also known as your primary care provider. Don’t have a primary care provider? Log in to or register for myWellmark® to find a doctor nearby who can get to know you Secure and your health history. Building this type of relationship can lead to greater satisfaction in care and better health outcomes.
- Health.Harvard.edu — Foods that fight inflammation External Site
- WebMD.com — Can Tea Help With Inflammation? External Site
- Arthritis.org — Best Drinks for Arthritis External Site
- Med.Stanford.edu — A fermented-food diet increases microbiome diversity and lowers inflammation, Stanford study finds External Site
- Wellandgood.com — 10 Delicious, Anti-Inflammatory Drinks That Don’t Require Barista Training to Make External Site
- RealSimple.com — Kefir Is the Anti-Inflammatory, Probiotic-Rich Beverage Your Immune System (and Taste Buds) Will Love External Site
- ClevelandClinic.org — Inflammation External Site
- PBS.org — What is the History of Turmeric? External Site