Nutrition is larger than just the foods that you put into your mouth–it also encompasses the drinks and beverages that you sip on every day. Drinking large volumes of soda, diet soda, energy drinks, alcohol, coffee with sugar or artificial sweeteners can sabotage your best dietary efforts. This is why many nutrition professionals recommend drinking filtered water throughout the day. But I agree, drinking filtered water all day can be boring. This is where tea enters the picture. Drinking tea can help you meet your daily hydration while also providing an additional source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that will help keep you well, improve your gut microbiome, boost your immune system and lower levels of inflammation. This Anti-inflammatory Cinnamon Lemon Ginger Tea recipe includes some of the most powerful inflammation-fighting ingredients that will help you stay healthy while also making you feel warm and cozy with each sip!
Making your Own Anti-Inflammatory Tea
Tea is often something that people either love or just don’t understand. It was about five years ago that I slowly started loving it after a lifetime of never understanding it. My Dad drinks tea all day long which has always interested me and I became more open to it after I stopped drinking coffee. It wasn’t long until it became my staple beverage everyday. The amazing thing about tea is that it is soothing and flavorful while also being loaded with antioxidants.
There are plenty of incredible tea companies out there, some of my favorite companies/flavors being Rishi Turmeric Ginger, Yogi Lemon Ginger, and Mighty Leaf Green tea. And these are my go-to options for everyday use. But during the cold months of winter, there’s nothing more calming than making your own tea with fresh, whole food ingredients.
There is no research to demonstrate that homemade tea with fresh ingredients is a more nutritious option than dried packaged tea but my mentality around it is: the fresher, the better. Even if you are purchasing ginger for cooking, I recommend that my clients get fresh ginger root whenever possible and then have powdered ginger on hand as a backup. These ingredients have a powerful ability to lower levels of inflammation, as you will read more about. The reason that anti-inflammatory ingredients and polyphenols are so important is because chronic inflammation is one of the underlying root causes in almost all chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes; cancer; and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism. The polyphenols are also very important for promoting a healthy gut microbiome. So even if you are a healthy individual, it’s essential for improving your gut function which impacts impacts every single aspect of your health.
So in order to get started, you just need a big pot of filtered water and the following antioxidant fighting ingredients and the rest is pure magic!
Antioxidant Fighting Ingredients
Cinnamon is a rich source of many antioxidants, one of which is called cinnamaldehyde. These antioxidants can help lower inflammation, oxidative stress and blood sugar levels. A 2016 study showed that individuals who used cinnamon twice per day (in capsule form) for two months had lower levels of total blood sugar and 2 hour post prandial blood sugar (meaning lower blood sugar two hours after consuming 75g of carbohydrates), improved insulin sensitivity and lower total cholesterol.
Research has even demonstrated that cinnamon can improve blood sugar control in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. A randomized, double blind study demonstrated that participants taking a high dose of cinnamon lowered their hemoglobin A1c levels (a three month average of blood sugar levels) from 8.9% to 8.0%. The control group did not experience any improvement.
Ginger root not only has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and because of that, research shows that it can serve as a pain reliever, especially in those with arthritis and athletes that experience soreness after workouts. Muscle pain and even soreness are associated with higher inflammation which ginger can help quench. In a 2010 study researchers took a group of individuals and instructed them to do muscle pain-inducing workouts over an 11 day period. The group either consumed two grams of ginger per day or they did nothing. The group that consumed the ginger root experienced a 25% lower level of exercise-induced muscle injury/pain within 24 hours each workout.
It should come as no surprise that lemons are rich in vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. Vitamin C’s anti-inflammatory benefits are not only effective for reducing risk of getting a cold but also for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and more. This research review outlined many large population based studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of vitamin C in scavenging free radicals and lowering levels of inflammation. One lemon contains 30mg of vitamin C. By adding lemon juice to your water or tea throughout the day, you can easily add antioxidant support to your diet.
Mint is most commonly known for it’s ability to aid in digestion. Some research has shown that it can help reduce IBS symptoms. But in addition to that, mint is also high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols that can help lower inflammation.
Anti-Inflammatory Cinnamon Lemon Ginger Tea
By Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD, IFNCP
- 8 cups filtered water
- 2 lemon wedge, quartered
- 1 bunch mint leaves
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 1 fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
- Fill pot with filtered water.
- Add lemon wedges, mint leaves, cinnamon sticks and ginger.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Reduce stove to simmer and enjoy throughout the day or remove from stove and pour into a glass jar to drink throughout the week. Can store in refrigerator.