When it comes to discussing what’s best for your health, you always hear about exercising and eating healthy foods— which is true— but what you drink is also important. Here’s a look at eight types of healthy drinks to incorporate into your diet.
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It’s safe to say that everyone knows that water is the most important liquid you can drink. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, so it keeps us hydrated. However, the benefits of water don’t stop here; water also:
- Cushions sensitive tissues, including the brain
- Flushes waste out of the body
- Lubricates the joints
- Maintains blood pressure
- Regulates body temperature
Sources differ, but one way to get your daily intake of water is to take your height in inches and drink that many ounces of water. For example, if you’re 64 inches (5’4”) you should drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. However, when you’re sick, more physically active, in a hot climate, or just thirsty, you should drink more water.
Green tea is the healthiest type of tea because it’s high in antioxidants, but herbal tea (chamomile, mint, etc.) is also a healthy option. Black tea is also a healthy option, although most people tend to sweeten it with sugar. Raw honey is a better way to sweeten the tea if you don’t like the bitter taste. Also, keep in mind that green and black teas are usually caffeinated, but you can buy decaf versions.
Smoothies can be a healthy treat, especially when you make them yourself. This is a good way to receive the recommended daily value of fruit and vegetables, especially if you struggle with eating either food group. Vegetables such as spinach and kale are often blended with fruit— especially bananas because they are naturally sweet— in smoothies. Just simply blend your choice of fruits and vegetables with non-fat and unsweetened yogurt for a healthy treat.
Low-fat or fat-free milk is another healthy drink option to incorporate into your diet— if you’re not lactose intolerant, have a milk allergy, or are sensitive to dairy. For those looking for dairy-free milk options, there are:
- Almond milk
- Cashew milk
- Coconut milk
- Lactose-free cow’s milk
- Oat milk
- Soy milk
Some people also choose to drink milk from other animals, such as goat milk. The type of milk one drinks is usually a preference, but overall, cow’s milk is going to have the highest amount of calcium and vitamin D.
#5: Kombucha and Kefir
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is full of probiotics, while kefir is a fermented milk that’s also full of probiotics. However, you should keep in mind that fermented drinks contain a (very) small amount of alcohol, so you may need to consult your doctor before trying these types of drinks.
If you have a juicer, you can buy fruit (and vegetables) to make freshly squeezed juice in your home. You can even try a mixture of different fruits and vegetables. This is a healthier option since many juices in grocery stores have added sugar. Most fruits are naturally sweet and contain sugar, so added sugar isn’t necessary or healthy.
#7: Hot Cocoa
Pure cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants and helps increase the production of serotonin, which is the hormone associated with a good mood. Raw cocoa is different from chocolate, however; chocolate has been sweetened and cocoa has not, so it tastes a little bitter to some when they mix it with hot milk to make hot cocoa. To enhance the taste, you can make your own whipped cream with the help of a whipped cream charger, sometimes called a whippit tank, and add it to your hot cocoa for a tasty treat that still offers health benefits.
#8: Black Coffee
Like tea, black coffee also offers many health benefits, including decreasing the risk of dementia. Again, coffee is often sweetened with sugar, but raw honey can be a healthier substitute. Fat-free or non-dairy milk is also a better creamer alternative as well. Like green and black teas, coffee is also usually caffeinated, so choose decaf if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
For those who are of legal age and don’t have any medical conditions that prevent it, drinking red wine and/or beer in moderation can also be healthy. Red wine is linked to better heart health because it can prevent heart attacks, and beer is full of fiber, protein, and B vitamins. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor when incorporating these drinks (and those listed above) into your diet, especially if you don’t normally drink them.