Black CurrantElderberry

2 New Year’s Drinks Packed with Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits

By Carl Thompson.

Along with the pleasures of the season come some possible risks, particularly if you suffer from medical conditions related to inflammation, such as arthritis or rheumatism. The condition can make sugary desserts and sweet holiday drinks worrisome. Some of the ingredients they contain can aggravate inflammation, and trigger a flare-up. As you take care to steer clear of the culprits — refined sugars, saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fats, cigarettes and alcohol, what are you left with? Actually, quite a bit.

The key is to choose wisely among the foods that can act to relieve anti-inflammatory conditions. When considering exactly what to serve in your holiday punch bowl, consider berries — such as elderberries, blackcurrant berries, and strawberries — which in solid or liquid form have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Berries are also beneficial antioxidants, a natural tool in the fight against free radicals, those mutated oxygen molecules that not only increase inflammation, but they also cause damage to cell structures throughout our bodies.

Making a party punch with berries doesn’t mean skimping on flavor or appeal: the dark color of the berries makes for an attractive mixture — and belies the antiimflammatory and antioxidant power of these fruits. It’s the dark pigments, or anthocyanins, that contain the benefits. And the darker the fruit, the deeper the concentration of inflammatories and antioxidants it contains. Using European black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), blackcurrant berry (Ribes nigrum) or the newly developed dark strawberry (Fragaria nernia), for instance, can turn a serving of fresh fruit or a berry-sparked salad or casserole into an anti-inflammatory treat.

Here are two non-alcoholic holiday punch recipes that are big on flavor and color, and filled with healthful benefits:

Spiced Blackcurrant and Apple Cider Punch (Serves 4)


1 quart organic or natural apple cider

1 quart sparkling water (unsweetened)………

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