Our 3 Favorite Anti Inflammatory Teas
The inflammatory process is one of our body’s critical survival mechanisms. It is useful for fighting infections and healing injuries. However, it can have a downside as well. When inflammation becomes chronic due to issues like a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, stress or obesity, it can contribute to diseases like heart disease, arthritis, colitis, Chron’s disease, cancer and diabetes.
When it comes to the above mentioned diseases, chronic inflammation can play a part by leading our own bodies to attack healthy tissue or organs rather than helping to heal itself.
Studies have shown some teas to have anti-inflammatory effects which may mitigate at least some of the symptoms of these conditions. This post will explore 3 of our favorite options.
One note: This post is for general information only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a doctor to understand what courses of action, products or lifestyle changes may work best for you.
1. Green tea
Green tea has long been known as a sort of “super tea” with both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties thanks to an abundance of polyphenols. It is available in green tea bags, as loose leaves and even in green tea k cups. Many studies have backed up the long-rumored health benefits of this very popular tea with evidence.
One thing to keep in mind is that green tea can contain quite a bit of caffeine so you may want to be careful having green tea before bed.
And, if your body is sensitive to caffeine or you have any other related concerns, again, please consult with your doctor before using this or any other tea. If you want to do some research for yourself you can find some helpful green tea nutrition facts here.
One mistake people unfamiliar with green tea make concerns water temperature. It is actually best to steep green tea in water that is below boiling temperature to gain the maximum benefit from the healthful compounds found in the leaves.
When it comes to figuring out how long to steep green tea, it can be complicated, but a good rule of thumb is a maximum of 4 minutes with a water temperature at or below 175 degrees F. You may need to experiment a little for the batch of tea you have as the thicknesses and specific compound content in the leaves you may have may translate to a shorter optimal steeping time.
There are even recipes available for making your very own green tea ice cream! But health benefits in that case may be mitigated somewhat.
2. Turmeric tea
The health benefits of turmeric have been written about for centuries and are even included in ancient Ayurvedic writings. Turmeric is native to India and is commonly used for its anti inflammatory and antibiotic characteristics. You may be surprised to learn that in India it is often made into a turmeric paste and applied to wounds in order to promote healing. Quite a testament to its antibiotic capabilities!
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which provides these powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics.
The turmeric root is often dried and ground into a powder because it stores longer in powder form. But fresh turmeric root can be grated and used to make tea as well. Today, you can even buy turmeric tea bags.
While turmeric can be combined with other herbs like cinnamon and ginger for additional benefits, the most popular mixture is probably turmeric and honey which is said to help alleviate allergies and digestion issues. Honey is known to have antioxidant, antiviral and anti inflammatory properties all its own, not to mention its legendary ability to sooth a sore throat, so it’s a natural compliment to turmeric. In fact, this combination of turmeric and honey is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.
3. Ginger Tea
Another spice from Asia with powerful health benefits is ginger. And it makes a wonderful, soothing tea. The ginger root is the part of the plant used to make ginger tea as well as ginger powder, ground ginger and ginger paste.
Ginger gets its anti inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities from the active ingredient gingerol, which is part of a class of polyphenols. Consumption of ginger may bring down cholesterol levels, ease indigestion, contribute to weight loss and even help fight the common flu. And, as ginger helps reduce chronic inflammation, it appears to have some ability to reduce decline in brain function and possibly protect against Alzheimer’s.
There are a few ways to prepare and enjoy ginger tea. The simplest are ginger tea bags which can be found at your local grocery store. But you can also make your own tea using fresh ginger root. Just peel a few inches of ginger root and grate it or slice it into thin slices. Add the ginger to a pot of boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes and strain the resulting tea into a cup.
You can also mix things up a bit by making a lemon ginger tea by simply adding some fresh lemon to your tea for that extra kick.
Another way to get a daily dose of ginger is to keep some ginger powder on hand to add to another of your favorite teas.
And if you want a super dose of ginger, you can try making your own ginger juice. Many people don’t know this but you can squeeze peeled, fresh ginger root to extract juice. You just have to grate it (Here’s a nifty ginger grater that does an amazing job.) and wrap it in cheesecloth. Then you simply squeeze it much like you would squeeze a lime or lemon and add some honey if you want to sweeten it.
However you decide to enjoy it, ginger tea or ginger juice can be a great way to relax and get a healthy dose of polyphenols.
So those are our 3 favorite anti inflammatory teas. There are plenty of others like holy basil, fennel, and chamomile which we will cover more in depth in a future post. But green tea, turmeric, and ginger are great options for any clean eating diet.