Loving the BITE: Healing Tea for Joint Inflammation and Pain
Overuse, strains, and accidents, ouch! Joint and ligament injuries are painful and frustrating. In the case of over-use, they can rear their ugly heads again and again. It seems like I currently have a more than usual amount of clients nursing joint injuries, muscle injuries, and Seasonal sicknesses. And, over the last year, I worked with more than my share of road rash victims – many who needed healing fast so they can get back on the bike and resume touring and racing. While there are no quick fixes for injuries, there are a few tactics you can use to put your cells, tissues, and body in the best possible place for quick healing. From a spiced green tea to supplements, here’s some oh-so-good-for-you options when the going gets rough.
Recipe of the week: Anti-Inflammatory Healing Tea
For Joint Inflammation and Pain Relief
- 1 whole turmeric roots, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch slices OR 2 tsp ground tumeric
- 2 inches whole ginger root, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices (or just get one of the biggest and freshest whole roots available and use the whole thing) OR 1.5 tsp ground ginger
- 9 whole cloves OR 0.5 tsp ground cloves
- 1 medium beet, peeled and chopped
- 5-6 green tea bags or similar amount of whole leaf tea
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Organic honey (optional)
- Boil ~ 64 oz.(~2 L) water in a large pot. Reduce to simmer.
- Add WHOLE cloves, turmeric, ginger, and beets (if using ground spices, you’ll add them in at step #4).
- Cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add any ground spices, stir well. Add Green tea (bags or loose leaf). Remove from heat and allow to steep 2 minutes.
- Strain (if needed) or remove bags, and add lemon juice and small amount of honey (optional), to taste.
- Can keep extra tea in refrigerator up to 2 weeks and reheat as needed.
What’s special about this tea? It’s a combination of anti-inflammatories, antioxidants AND anti-pain nutrients that have allowed those suffering from injuries and arthritis conditions to find some quick relief AND healing. And, beyond the tea, you’ll find my personal supplement recommendations for healing from joint inflammation/pain and/or road rash or skin injury.
Inflammation: You can deter your bodies’ state of inflammation in two key ways. One, you can give it nutritional agents and antioxidants that work directly at the cellular and tissue level to ease inflammation and promote healing (these agents are often used in Eastern medicine and can reduce inflammation and acidity of fluid within joints). Example of these nutrients are curcumin found in turmeric, eugenol found in cloves, and gingerols found in ginger.
And two, you can increase the production of anti-inflammatory hormones by increasing omega-3s in your diet. Primarily, omega-3 fats from fish have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Secondarily, those from flax, chia, hemp, and walnuts can play a role. Increase your intake of these fats from whole foods forms and fish oil supplements.
Pain: Next, some nutritional components actually have an effect on pain. The primary anti-pain ingredient in this tea is ginger. In two recent studies, 75% of joint pain sufferers, and 100% of muscle pain sufferers, have found relief with consistent daily intake of ginger. These new studies build off the hundreds of years and dozens of studies to support ginger’s anti-pain attributes.
Antioxidants: As you know, antioxidants fight the free radicals that work in your body to cause damage to your cells. These free radicals abound with injury and inflammation, and athletes are especially prone to a build-up if antioxidants aren’t consumed regularly. Our Anti-Inflammatory Tea is brimming with antioxidants from every spice included, beets, Vitamin C in the lemon juice, and potent nutrients from green tea.
Supplement recommendations for joint/pain healing:
- Increase fish oil intake to 2000-4000 milligrams per day (talk to your doctor if you are on blood thinners). If you eat fatty fish at least twice per week, supplement at lower end of range.
- Take a probiotic, like acidophillus, every day to increase absorption of nutrients like antioxidants and improve immune function.
- Take a high quality multivitamin every day for extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (my favorite brand is Rainbow Light Multivitamins, and they include high amounts of probiotic bacteria, so you don’t have to take an additional probiotic pill).
- Increase Vitamin D intake to 3000 IU per day…research has shown some improvement of joint pain with increased levels of Vitamin D supplementation and a possible correlation of low Vitamin D status and joint pain/arthritis.
- Increase anti-inflammatory spices. Use garlic, turmeric, cloves, and ginger in cooking as much as possible, drink this week’s Loving The Bite Tea twice per day, and/or take ginger pills @ 500 mg 2 times per day.
Additional supplement recommendations for road rash skin healing:
- Including your multivitamin, make sure you’re getting 30-50 mg of zinc each day.
- Add extra vitamin C for a total of 1000 mg per day from supplement – you’ll get some from your multivitamin, add an extra pill or a drink like Emergen-C (higher amounts of vitamin C are fine as they are water-soluble and your bodily easily excretes any excess).
It happens to the best of us – sometimes, you’re simply injured, down and out. Physically, it’s tough. Mentally, even tougher. Sometimes, using the down-time to take care of your body by proactively and naturally reducing inflammation and pain can really help in both departments. Try these recommendations out, get well soon, and see you on the bike.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.