Struggling with inflammation? There’s a simple part of your morning routine that might help the sneaky symptoms like joint stiffness, digestive issues and high blood pressure.
According to new research published on January 30 in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, combining proteins and antioxidants may double the anti-inflammatory effects in immune cells. In a followup study that’s set to publish March 2023 in Food Chemistry, it was found that this combination can be replicated by adding a popular protein-rich ingredient to your coffee.
Read on to find out why the addition of milk to your morning cup of joe might help with reducing inflammation in your body.
What the Study Found
In the newly published study, researchers at the Department of Food Science and the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Copenhagen analyzed how polyphenols—a class of compounds found in plant-based foods that are packed with antioxidants—react when they are combined with amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
To investigate potential anti-inflammatory effects, researchers applied artificial inflammation into immune cells before injecting some cells with a combination of polyphenols and amino acids. Other cells received just polyphenols, and a control group of cells received nothing.
The results were promising: the immune cells treated with both polyphenols and amino acids were twice as effective in reducing inflammation when compared to the cells that only received polyphenols.
In the companion study, polyphenols were shown to bind to proteins found in meat products and dairy products. And since coffee beans are rich with antioxidants, one occasion where people might ingest this potential anti-inflammatory blend would be from drinking coffee with milk.
This reaction was only found with dairy, so it’s unclear whether milk alternatives would have the same positive effect, especially products that are lower in protein than dairy milk. But fear not: there are other ways you can consume this antioxidant-protein combo that may be effective in reducing inflammation as well.
“I can imagine that something similar happens in, for example, a meat dish with vegetables or a smoothie, if you make sure to add some protein like milk or yogurt,” says Professor Marianne Nissen Lund from the Department of Food Science in a release from the University of Copenhagen. That said, more research is needed to clarify these findings and explore how plant-based protein sources compare.
Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Inflammation
The Bottom Line
By reducing inflammation in your body, you can be relieved of its pesky symptoms, including joint stiffness, mental fog and digestive issues, to name a few. Drinking coffee with milk may be able to help with this, according to new research. If you’re struggling with inflammation, talk to your healthcare team to discuss the best ways to help alleviate any symptoms and meet your health goals.