The Healthiest Drinks for Your Joints

Yes! Coffee made the cut. Find out what other beverages can help ward off rheumatoid arthritis.

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

Here’s some good news for those of us who need a cup of Joe (or two… or three…) to get moving in the morning.

You may be better off drinking coffee rather than tea when it comes to your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. The research — based on the daily habits of more than 76,000 women — evaluated whether tea or coffee consumption is associated with an increased risk of getting this autoimmune disease that attacks the joints.

The results showed there was no association between coffee consumption and an increased risk of RA. It did not matter the amount of coffee consumed or how strong it was. On the other hand, there was a very small association between daily consumption of caffeinated, non-herbal tea and an increased RA risk.

Beyond tea and coffee, here’s the skinny on what else you should drink and what to avoid if you want to reduce your RA risk, or if you already have RA and want to keep flares at bay:

1. Smoothies: Drink up! The colorful fruits and vegetables you’re chucking into your blender are high in antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, according to the National Arthritis Foundation. If you add yogurt to your smoothies, you will also be adding a dose of good-for-you bacteria known as probiotics, which have been shown to decrease inflammation. You can experiment with your favorite smoothie combinations or look here for RA-friendly smoothie recipes.

2. Water: Drink up! H2O is still the one to reach for when you’re thirsty — water flushes toxins from your body and can keep your joints lubricated. “When it comes to water, it’s best to drink at least half your weight in fluid ounces of water each day,” says registered dietitian Eleanor Baker. “You may need more depending on your activity levels and environmental factors like heat, humidity, and elevation.”

3. Energy drinks: Skip them! Nothing about them is healthy. They frequently contain high and unregulated amounts of caffeine and tons of sugar. Knowing that with RA, your risk of diabetes is high, it would be better to avoid energy drinks. Several countries have restricted energy drink sales and advertising.

4. Soft drinks: Cut back or eliminate them! Drinking just one or more sugary sodas a day, including regular cola, caffeine-free cola, and other sugar-sweetened carbonated sodas, may significantly increase the risk of developing RA, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers found that women who consumed more than one serving of sugar-sweetened soda a day had a 63% increased risk of developing RA compared with those who consumed no sugar-sweetened soda or drank less than one a month.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.