Which Is Better for Arthritis: Coffee or Tea? (A Scientific Look)

Certified Senior Advisor®
coffee or tea

Green tea may be the best drink choice for people with arthritis because it has less caffeine than coffee. Plus green tea offers additional vitamins and polyphenols that coffee does not.

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Arthritis can refer to any one of more than 100 different types of joint diseases. Most of these conditions involve severe inflammation.

Coffee and tea are two drinks that can provide some mild relief in arthritis patients, but which of the two is better?

Let’s see what the science says!

Caffeine And Arthritis Symptoms

First, let’s look at the primary ingredient that both of these drinks contain: caffeine. Caffeine is a mild stimulant and is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance around the globe. Experts believe caffeine has several positive benefits when consumed in moderation, including pain relief, increased focus, and weight loss 1.

Caffeine can also have some negative consequences if you consume too much over a short period. It can cause increased heart rate, headaches, and dehydration 2. It can also be particularly problematic for pregnant women and nursing mothers. So, it’s essential to control your caffeine intake even when consuming it for health benefits.

Pain management is the benefit that is most closely linked to arthritis. Caffeine affects the body’s adenosine receptors and can help alleviate pain from various sources 3. Coffee and tea are both familiar sources of caffeine and thus can both help reduce pain associated with arthritis. They also have other ingredients that can benefit patients who have arthritis.

How Does Tea Help With Arthritis?

Tea can come in a few different varieties, such as black, white, and green, and each has a slightly different effect on the body. They have varying levels of caffeine and a somewhat different mix of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Regarding arthritis, the consensus is that green tea is the best option because of its concentrated levels of caffeine and antioxidants 4.

Free radicals contribute to many different diseases, including most forms of arthritis. They cause cellular damage that leads to chronic inflammation and the severe pain associated with arthritis. Antioxidants help reduce the damage that free radicals cause to cells inside the body.

One of the main ingredients in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate(EGCG). It is a potent antioxidant that is wonderful for the body. It is 25 times more effective than vitamin E and 100 times more powerful than vitamin C. It can fight inflammation and even help inhibit the growth of specific cancer cells 5.

Green tea is also very versatile concerning the additional ingredients it can include. Patients with arthritis can make their tea with specific elements like ginger to further boost the drink’s effectiveness. Overall, it is one of the best drinks to ease the symptoms of arthritis as long as it is drunk in moderation.

RELATED: Best Coffee Cups for Arthritic Hands

How Does Coffee Help With Arthritis?

A single cup of coffee in the morning can be a great way to start your day. Coffee is very similar to green tea. One cup tends to have more caffeine than green tea. Thus, people sensitive to caffeine may have difficulty with this drink.

Coffee also has strong antioxidant properties similar to green tea. It contains a large concentration of polyphenols that provide numerous health benefits and contribute to the drink’s flavor. Green tea is more well known for its high concentration of EGCG, while coffee has a high concentration of a polyphenol called chlorogenic acid(CGA).

CGA has some similar benefits to EGCG. Most notable is the compound’s strong anti-inflammatory effect 6. However, EGCG seems to boost the synthesis of osteoprotegerin(OPG) 7 while CGA does not. OPG helps prevent and slow osteoarthritis.

So, is coffee good for people with arthritis? In moderation, it might be ok!

Which Drink Is Better?

While both drinks have similarities and benefits, green tea is a better drink for arthritis patients. It has a lower caffeine concentration, meaning arthritis patients can consume more without feeling adverse effects.

So, they get more benefits from the additional vitamins and polyphenols like EGCG, which has unique benefits that coffee cannot provide. Of course, you can always have a cup of coffee for breakfast and a cup of tea for lunch.


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285194#benefits
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5445139/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5018099/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088134/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509513/
  6. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s43440-021-00320-5
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28672948/
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Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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