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Green tea is touted as one of the healthiest drinks you can enjoy. It may have the potential to reduce your risk for some types of cancer, may benefit heart health and help you lose weight and body fat. But now, research is showing that this powerhouse tea also shows promise for helping to relieve joint pain.
Drinking a steamy, invitingly fragrant mug of green tea regularly may help you combat the discomfort that creaky, achy and painful joints cause. Whether you’re experiencing joint pain that’s brought on by age or living with pain that results from inflammation, green tea may help you soothe your symptoms.
Here’s why green tea may be such a great choice for anyone with joint pain.
Green tea includes anti-inflammatory antioxidants
Often, joint pain appears as the result of inflammation – and in studies green tea has been effective in combating inflammation. It’s rich in catechins, which are naturally-occurring compounds found in many plants that can have a powerful antioxidant effect within the body. Catechins can stabilize and target free radicals, limiting their impact and potentially harmful health effects.
And one of the central components of green tea is a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG. Research suggests this particular catechin may have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
One research study found that EGCG worked to suppress inflammatory cytokines, which are a key cause of inflammation, and enzymes connected to inflammation. This means green tea may be able to help soothe inflammation that might be causing joint pain, and it may also work to target those inflammatory cytokines, which contribute to inflammatory diseases when their production is chronic and excessive.
Another study looked at green tea’s anti-inflammatory effects in regards to the denaturation of protein. Denaturation of tissue proteins may be one cause of inflammatory and arthritic diseases. In the study, green tea leaves had a significant anti-inflammatory effect. Researchers also found that, in comparison to black tea leaves, green tea leaves had a bigger impact, possibly due to their higher flavonoid content.
Ultimately, all of green tea’s catechins with their antioxidant properties may work hard to help get inflammation under control. And if that’s what’s behind your joint pain, you might notice less aches, less pain and increased comfort.
The anti-inflammatory effects may soothe arthritis too
Because studies have shown green tea has been found to be an anti-inflammatory beverage, it may also help anyone who’s experiencing joint pain caused by arthritis. Whether you’re living with osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder that often appears as you age, or rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, green tea may be beneficial.
As osteoarthritis progresses, cartilage erosion is one of the biggest factors in painful, sore joints. Findings from one research study suggested that green tea just might aid in relief from pain. The very same catechin that may help combat inflammation – EGCG – may also slow the progression of osteoarthritis and may help lessen the pain it causes by helping to reduce cartilage loss and inflammation-causing cytokines. A review of studies found similar results, confirming that green tea’s EGCG may help protect cartilage.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), on the other hand, is associated with an overactive immune system. There is evidence that synovial fibroblasts are innate immune cells. A phenomenon, sometimes called synovial fibroblast activity, can destroy joint cartilage and lead to joint pain. However, when you drink green tea, the catechins may calm the immune system – and may help limit the impact of inflammation, cartilage destruction and that synovial fibroblast activity.
Green tea is even recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. Thanks to its powerful catechins, green tea is considered one of the most beneficial brews for those living with any kind of arthritis.
Give green tea or other catechin-rich options a try
Potential benefits of green tea on different kinds of joint pain may come down to one key ingredient: catechins. The high amount of catechins in this type of tea may target what might be causing your aches and pains. And they may be especially helpful for inflammatory conditions.
You can easily get a daily catechin fix by brewing a mug of green tea as part of your morning routine. It’s also a great beverage to sip in the afternoon, since green tea usually has less caffeine than coffee or black tea.
Don’t like green tea but still want to get those catechins into your diet? Foods like dark chocolate, cherries and pears are naturally rich in catechins. Other types of tea are also rich in antioxidants – and you can usually turn to a high-quality loose leaf tea to maximize the antioxidants you’re getting in every sip.