What's the best tea for inflammation?

If you’ve ever twisted your knee, cut your finger, or been stung by an insect, you have firsthand experience with inflammation. The familiar sensations of pain, redness, swelling, and heat that result from an injury or infection are hallmarks of the inflammatory process. Inflammation represents an essential survival mechanism that helps the body fight off hostile microbes and repair damaged tissue. Yet there is another side of inflammation that can be harmful rather than helpful to human health. There’s evidence that inflammation, promoted in part by such factors as obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle, contributes to a variety of diseases.

There are two forms of inflammation: acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation comes on rapidly, usually within minutes, but is generally short-lived. Many of the mechanisms that spring into action to destroy invading microbes switch gears to cart away dead cells and repair damaged ones. This cycle returns the affected area to a state of balance, and inflammation dissipates within a few hours or days.

Chronic inflammation often begins with the same cellular response, but morphs into a lingering state that persists for months or years when the immune system response fails to eliminate the problem. Alternatively, the inflammation may stay active even after the initial threat has been eliminated. In other cases, low-level inflammation becomes activated even when there is no apparent injury or disease. Unchecked, the immune system prompts white blood cells to attack nearby healthy tissues and organs, setting up a chronic inflammatory process that plays a central role in some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s.

Chronic inflammation is heavily influenced by lifestyle choices, diet and genetic history. Genetics are something we can't control, but diet and lifestyle are.

What's good for inflammation?

Another way to word this question is what foods promote inflammation? The 4 top ones are:

  • Highly processed foods, such as those that contain refined carbohydrates, trans fats and lots of artificial ingredients
  • Processed meats like hot dogs and cold cuts
  • Fried Foods
  • Sugar

There are other diet specifics that are beyond the scope of this article, but need to be customized to the individual. There is no one size fits all standard. For example, certain meats and dairy may aggravate inflammation in some individuals versus others.

Diets that include these foods: Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards. Nuts like almonds and walnuts. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Best Tea for Inflammation

Tea has been used for thousands of years to reduce the results of inflammation. Green tea and herbal teas have been shown to have all sorts of anti-inflammatory properties. Now modern science and studies are showing that incorporating various teas into your diet can potentially help reduce chronic inflammation.

Using green tea for inflammation

As part of good eating habits, drinking tea will provide your body with many different sources of anti-inflammatory compounds. Tea contains anti-oxidants known as polyphenols. Catechins are a class of polyphenols that are found in the highest concentration in green, white and purple tea. Drinking these teas everyday will ensure that you have exposure to these compounds.

When it comes to green tea, loose tea is always preferable over bags. The main reason is that bags will lose their potency quicker than loose tea. Also, lower quality teas are used in bags, which come from lower elevations. Higher elevation tea not only exposes the tea to more UV rays, which yields more antioxidants, but they are also away from industrial pollution.

What other teas besides green tea should I drink for inflammation?

Many herbs and spices can also be used to make anti-inflammatory tea. Other teas:

  • Turmeric
  • Hibiscus
  • Ginger
  • Greek Mountain tea
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon

How much tea should I drink to reduce inflammation?

We've evaluated many studies over the years and found that the sweet spot is 4-6 cups per day. While you can certainly drink more tea, we don't recommend overdoing. Simply sipping tea throughout the day will ensure that all these compounds are always present in your system. Switch to caffeine free herbs later in the day and before bed.

1 cup = 8 ounces. This isn't a lot of liquid. Many tea pots or other tea brewing equipment start in the 12-16 ounce range. So as an example, a 16 ounce pot of tea in the morning, a couple of glasses of iced tea during that day and some herbal tea at night will easily put you in the 6 cup (48 ounces) range. Remember, tea also hydrates - and therefore you can use it as a water substitute.

Inflammatory tea recommendations

Now that you know a little more about inflammation, the next step would be specific tea recommendations. We listed some of our recommendations below. You could also browse our entire green tea catalog which is pretty large. To make it easier for you, we developed a modestly priced inflammation sampler pack. And as a thank you for reading this article, sign up to get a special discount offer on this sampler.

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Important Medical Information

Sources: Harvard.Edu