Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. “The condition usually affects the hands, feet and wrists,” explains the NHS. A painful flare-up can undermine quality of life but there are proven ways to mitigate the impact of rheumatoid arthritis.
Compared with non-tea drinkers, a higher-intake of tea was associated with lower disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis, but not low-intake.
“A significant dose-response association was found between the amount of tea consumption and disease activity,” the researchers wrote.
They concluded: “Tea consumption is associated with decreased disease activity of RA [rheumatoid arthritis], suggesting the potential beneficial effect of tea in the disease.”
Tea is one of the most-studied drinks when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients.
“Green, black and white teas are all rich in polyphenols – compounds from plants that have strong anti-inflammatory effects,” explains the Arthritis Foundation (AF).
According to the AF, you’ll find the highest polyphenol levels in green and white teas.
Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial of all because its active ingredient is a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG).
EGCG has been shown to be as much as 100 times stronger in antioxidant activity than vitamins C and E.
Studies have shown it also helps preserve cartilage and bone, although there are no widespread controlled trials of it in people with arthritis.
Research shows coffee also has antioxidant polyphenols.
“That means coffee can help fight free radicals in the body, which cause cell damage,” notes AF.
Other research suggests coffee may have a protective effect against gout as well.