DIY Anti-Inflammatory Drinks

August 2019 - Nutrition

Chronic inflammation is said to be the root cause of a host of health problems. Multiple factors contribute to the inflammatory process, including age and lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of exercise, and poor food choices [1]. When your body recognizes anything that is foreign – such as a chemical, an invading microbe, or even plant pollen ­– your immune system becomes activated and releases chemicals to attack what it thinks is foreign. This reaction often triggers a process called inflammation.

Occasional bouts of inflammation directed at truly threatening invaders protect your health. However, sometimes inflammation persists even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. This is when a minor inflammation can become a major problem. When this happens day in and day out, your body becomes chronically inflamed, most often resulting in some health problem or complaint.

Since poor food and drink choices may trigger the body’s inflammatory response, one of the simplest things you can do to reduce inflammation is eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Of course, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and increasing exercise help too!

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is designed to prevent or reduce low-grade inflammation in the body. It is usually rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, fish, and certain culinary herbs and spices. Foods rich in antioxidants help reduce inflammation by reducing the damage from free radicals.

For an eating plan that closely follows the principles of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.

What does an anti-inflammatory diet do?
An anti-inflammatory diet keeps inflammation in the body at bay, and may even help reduce it for good. In fact, one of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. The following foods help reduce inflammation in the body and can easily be incorporated into the diet on a daily basis:

  • berries (such as blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries)
  • dark leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens)
  • fruits (such as cherries, pineapple, papaya, apples, tomatoes, and avocados)
  • nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans)
  • herbs and spices (such as turmeric, cayenne, ginger, rosemary, and cinnamon)
  • healthy oils (such as olive oil, omega-3 oils from fish and nuts/seeds)
  • deep sea fish (such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines)

What about anti-inflammatory drinks?
Although a general overall anti-inflammatory diet is a good lifestyle change if you suffer from chronic inflammation, anti-inflammatory drinks are easy to prepare at any time of day. They also digest much faster than most anti-inflammatory foods.

One drink that often gets overlooked is water. Water hydrates, cleanses by flushing out toxins in the body, and can help soothe inflammation. You can also elevate your plain glass of water by adding lemon or ginger. Lemon has alkalizing properties, and ginger contains gingerols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Not a fan of cold water? Make it into a tea! Lemon and ginger tea is delicious with a touch of honey, and you can even add in some turmeric for an extra anti-inflammatory punch.

Celery juice has been on the forefront of the healthy juicing movement lately, and for good reason. Along with its vast array of healing benefits, celery juice is full of powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to reverse inflammation by starving pathogens [2].

Celery Juice [1]
1 bunch organic celery

Rinse the celery and run it through a juicer. Drink immediately for best results.

Alternatively, chop the celery and blend it in a high-speed blender until smooth. Strain well and drink immediately.

Tips: Drink 475 mL (16 oz) first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you find the taste of straight celery juice too strong, you can adjust the flavour. As you get used to it, keep increasing the ratio of celery; the greatest benefits come when celery juice is consumed on its own.

Traditional chai tea – not the boxed, pre-made variety – is made from a blend of super-herbs known for their anti-inflammatory benefits (think cinnamon, clove, and cardamom). Mix these wonderful herbs with turmeric and you have a Golden Chai Latte that will not only keep you warm, but will help reduce inflammation within, while tasting super delicious!

Golden Chai Latte [3]

2 1/2 cups cashew milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons loose leaf chai tea
1 tablespoon maple syrup

1. Pour water and 2 cups of cashew milk (reserve the other 1/2 cup) in a medium-sized pot and warm over medium heat.
2. Place loose leaf chai in a tea strainer and add to the milk/water mixture. Add spices and bring to a light boil. Remove pot from heat before liquid fully boils.
3. Allow pot to cool for about 5 minutes, and then remove the tea strainer. Stir in maple syrup.
4. Pour golden chai tea into a glass and froth (or simply pour) 1/2 cup cashew milk atop. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. Enjoy!

Feeling like you need a bit more help to reduce inflammation?

Sometimes knowing what to cook or making that first step in changing eating and lifestyle patterns can be difficult. Although making changes to food choices from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory is the optimal way to go, you can also get a little kick-start on this process by taking certain antioxidant supplements such as curcumin (from the spice turmeric), astaxanthin, and boswellia.

Written by Lidia Gled, BHSc., ND (Australia), RNCP

[1] Ruiz-Canela M, Bes-Rastrollo M, Martínez-González MA. The role of dietary inflammatory index in cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and mortality. Int J Mol Sci, 2016;17(8):1265. Available from:
[2] William A. Celery juice. [Blog] Medical Medium Blog. Available from: [Accessed 18th February 2019].
[3] Golden Chai Latte. [Blog] Homegrown Provisions. Available from: [Accessed 18th February 2019].

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