Choosing healthy food is important if you want to feel great and stay well, but choosing the beverages you consume is equally important.
But with so many supposedly health-enhancing beverages to choose from today, how are you supposed to know which beverages really are the healthiest?
From sweetened sodas and waters with “natural flavors,” to coconut water and healthy martini’s, it can be confusing to figure out the best choices.
If you really want to boost your health, what is it that the science reveal about the healthiest beverages?
Well let’s have a look, shall we?…
The first beverage on the list is of course water. As humans we all need h20 to stay hydrated and healthy.
We all know proper hydration is important. But did you know that many people live in a state of chronic, low-level dehydration that can affect every part of their health — even the ability to think clearly?
A recent study showed that more than half of schoolchildren tested were found to be in a state of mild dehydration at the beginning of the school day. Children were given a test to measure cognitive performance, and then were given glasses of water and retested. In nearly every measure, including happiness, visual attention, and visual search, their scores increased.
Similar studies with both children and adults have confirmed the findings that proper hydration is essential for cognitive performance and mental health.
If you’re a soda addict and are having difficulty switching to water, try sparkling water. Also, carbonated water has also been shown to relieve dyspepsia (pain, bloating and nausea) as well as constipation so if your thinking of trying this I’d highly recommend it since it is a very healthy choice.
If you prefer drinking flavored beverages rather than water, you might try infusing drinking water (sparkling or not) with a slice of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit. Fresh mint leaves, cucumbers, sliced strawberries, or sliced ginger are also delicious. To infuse water, you can try an infusion bottle or simply make up a pitcher and chill it in the refrigerator for a refreshing treat at anytime.
Water is the most natural beverage on the planet, and ideally, we should consume an abundance of fresh, clean water every day.
2. Green Tea
Green tea has been widely reported to be one of the best beverages for cancer prevention, but did you know that green tea has also been found to improve artery function, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease?
Our blood vessels are lined with the endothelium – a thin, protective lining of cells. The endothelial cells produce a gas called nitric oxide which helps our blood flow smoothly. These precious cells only live for about 30 years. As these cells die and are replaced, people in their 40s and 50s often experience a decline in endothelial function. This decline in endothelial function is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and more.
However, a decline in endothelial function is not inevitable.
A study showed that adding lemon to your tea, however, was found to increase levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants help prevent the damaging effects of oxidation on cells throughout the body.
3. Water with Apple Cider Vinegar
A glass of water with the addition of apple cider vinegar has long been used as a folk remedy for many ailments for years.
Recent studies have confirmed that consuming vinegar with a meal reduces the spike in blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides. It also increases satiety – the feeling of being full after a meal.
In a Japanese study, vinegar intake was found to reduce body weight and body fat mass. During the 12-week trial, study participants were randomized into three groups and given similar vinegar beverages to drink each day – a high dose group, a low dose group and a control group, which was given a vinegar flavored drink containing no vinegar at all.
The high dose group was given a beverage containing 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day and the low dose group was given a beverage containing 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar a day. Both vinegar groups saw a reduction in weight and fat mass over the course of 12 weeks, while the control group gained weight. The high dose group lost more weight and fat than the low dose group – an average of 5 pounds and one inch of abdominal fat!
If you’d like to make your own vinegar beverage, simply add 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 8 ounces of water.
*Note: Don’t drink vinegar straight. The acetic acid in vinegar can burn your esophagus.
4. Pomegranate Juice
All natural pomegranate juice is one of the most nutritious beverages on supermarket shelves. This vibrant fruit juice is packed with antioxidants which help protect cells from damage and decrease inflammation, which may help relieve some types of arthritis. It’s also rich in immune-boosting vitamin C to help fight off colds.
So, rather than brewing a pot of tea using the traditional hot water method, consider simply throwing a few tea bags in a pitcher of cold, filtered water at night, putting it in the fridge and drinking it cold in the morning!
Coffee has long been a controversial beverage when it comes to our health, but recent evidence suggests that the world’s favorite way to wake up may have caught an unnecessarily bad rap.
Of course, what’s done to coffee — namely how the end product is made — has a significant impact on how healthy it actually is for you. Many coffee shops add sugar, milk, artificial flavorings, high fructose corn syrup, and other chemicals that can more than cancel out the health benefits of the coffee itself.
But straight-up coffee has been found to be good for enhancing mood, reaction time, and general mental function. It improves circulation by dilating your blood vessels and may lower your risk for dementia, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers. One reason for this is that coffee turns out to be among the top sources of antioxidants in the western diet.
The Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia study tracked more than 1,500 randomly selected Finnish people for 21 years, examining a broad range of diet and lifestyle choices and how they correlated with health outcomes. The study discovered that those who drank three to five small cups of coffee per day at midlife had, compared to non-coffee drinkers, a stunning 65% decreased risk of dementia as they grew older.
You may have heard that coffee should be avoided due to acrylamide, a potential carcinogen in coffee produced through the heating process. It is true that acrylamides in some foods can promote cancer, but no scientific studies actually support the idea that drinking coffee raises your cancer risk. On the contrary, drinking coffee may actually lower your risk for mouth, throat, uterine, prostate, breast, liver, lung, and skin cancers.
Coffee has also been studied for its potential benefit in type 2 diabetes, possibly lowering your risk for developing the disease and also increasing the lifespan of those who have it.
A 2019 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition looked at the effect of coffee consumption on human DNA integrity among 100 healthy European men and women. The participants were given at least 500 ml of water daily for four weeks, excluding coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages. After that, they were randomly assigned to either a water-only control group or a group that drank 500 ml of fresh-brewed dark roast coffee per day for another four weeks. After both the first four weeks and the second four weeks, they had their blood drawn and analyzed to determine what level of DNA damage (strand breakage) had taken place for each group.
The researchers found that the average degree of DNA breakage among coffee drinkers had decreased by 23% in comparison to the water-only control group, concluding that regular consumption of a dark roast coffee blend is protective of human DNA, which strongly suggests reduced risk of chronic disease.
If you’re concerned about the acidity of coffee, then maybe you should try making cold-brew, which reduces the acid content by around two-thirds. You can make it yourself to whatever strength you desire. If you like your coffee strong, you can put 1⁄2 cup of ground coffee in a mason jar with three cups of filtered water and let it sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Filter it as you would any coffee, and cold brewed coffee. It stores well in the fridge, and you can also leave it at room temperature for a few hours, or add some hot water if you want to warm it up.
Hydration is seriously critical to every function in your body. Water is especially essential. Tea, coffee, and vinegar add antioxidants, flavonoids, and other potent nutrients that can give your health a powerful boost.
So find healthy drinks you love and make it a habit to enjoy frequently with friends!
Hope you enjoyed this post! This post was inspired by https://foodrevolution.org/. Have a great day!