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Drinks for the anti-inflammatory diet


Red Wine

It’s not news to most of us that too much alcohol of any description is bad for our health. However, red wine in moderation has often been acknowledged as having health benefits. The old news on red wine is that it contains flavonoids, antioxidants that promote the body’s production of good cholesterol, known as high-density lipids (HDLs). The latest news on the benefits of red wine focuses on resveratrol, a polypehnol found naturally in red grapes, which is thought to benefit the heart and circulation system by inhibiting the build up of cholesterol in the arteries. At present the research is limited but it is thought that the main beneficiaries are men aged 50-60. Other sources of resveratrol include red berries, dark chocolate and boiled peanuts. According to scientists at Buffalo University, Resveratrol can prolong life in lower animals due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and appears also to suppress inflammation in humans” (1). However before you start reaching for the wine bottle bear in mind that these results were based on laboratory conditions and you would need to consume many times the safe alcohol limit to obtain the equivalent dosages of resveratrol.

Another cautionary note about red wine concerns sulphites which are used as a preservative and to regulate the level of fermentation of sugar into alcohol. As many as 10% of people have a sensitivity to sulphites, with rashes and itchy skin being common reactions. In autoimmune patients sulphites sensitivity has been known to bring on asthma attacks.
1 http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2010/07/11583.html

Teas and Coffee

Green Tea

Green tea contains high concentrations of polyphenols such as flavonoids and catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation, notably in rheumatoid arthritis patients and in post-menopausal women. The key anti-oxidant in green tea is epigallocatechin-3 gallate, or (EGCG), a destroyer of free radicals, which cause cell damage and can result in disease and premature ageing. Green tea drinkers can also congratulate themselves on taking steps towards a healthier heart as it is said to help clear the arteries of cholesterol. In the Far East, green tea is as popular as black tea is in the West and it is worth noting that incidents of heart disease are lower in the East.

Rooibos (Redbush Tea)

Rooibos is a plant native to Southern Africa and indeed its name is Afrikaans for red bush. It’s main anti-inflammatory ingredient is quercetin, a powerful anti-oxidant. Number two on the anti-inflammatory list of ingredients is nothofagin. It inhibits “glucose-induced inflammation”, playing an important role in the control of Type 2 diabetese. (1) Also conducive to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is another anti-oxidant, aspalathin, which regulates the body’s production of stress-related hormones such as adrenalin.

(1) Sae-Kwang Ku, Soyoung Kwak, Yaesol Kim, Jong-Sup Bae, (2015),  Aspalathin and Nothofagin from Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) Inhibits High Glucose-Induced Inflammation In Vitro and In Vivo, New York, Springer  Available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10753-014-0049-1