Americans love their sodas, coffee, tea, milk, fruit juices and alcohol. The USDA comes out with a list of our favorite drinks every year and these are always the top contender. When it comes to hydrating your body and drinking healthy, not all beverages are created equal. Artificially sweetened drinks, caffeinated drinks and many kinds of alcohol carry a heavy chemical cargo that will need you to drink a lot of water to flush away the toxins. So while you might be drinking a lot of water, it is being used up to get rid of these chemicals. Here are the best ways to sip your way to better health.
1. Beer For Health
There is nothing better than a chilled beer on a hot day (or any day). Beer contains humulones which are now under scientific study to understand their benefits for diabetes. As long as you keep the beers to under two a day, the benefits extend to brain, bone, heart and kidney health. Beer can even reduce risk for cancers. However if you cross the line to even 3 beers a day, the health benefits vanish. Beer in excess can raise your blood pressure putting you at risk for heart disease. So remember, moderation is the key to better health.
Water Is Non-Negotiable
Our body cannot live without water and the best thing about it is that it is free, has no artificial sweeteners and you can drink as much as you want. Water is actually present in most of the foods we eat, especially vegetables and fruits. Meat, cereals and breads do not contain water and in fact have a higher amount of salt. So if you’re eating too much salt, then your body will also need more water. So the amount of water you actually need will depend on your dietary habits. The general rule of thumb though is to drink about 8 to 10 cups of water each day.
3. Milk For Your Bones
Cow’s milk has been getting a lot of bad press lately but the low-fat or fat-free kinds of milk still have great health benefits especially for bones. Growing children definitely need milk in some form as it is high in proteins and calcium. If drinking a glass of milk each day is not to your liking, then dairy products like unsweetened yogurt are even better as they are easier to digest. In case you are lactose intolerant or a vegan, then soy milk or almond milk are also good substitutes.
4. Vegetable Juice For Vitamins
A vegetable juice like a green smoothie, carrot juice or tomato juice is even better than a glass of orange juice at breakfast. Apart from a high content of water, they also are rich in vitamins like A and C and do not have the sugar content of fruit juices. A green smoothie made with spinach or kale with some banana or berries thrown in to cover the taste can do wonders for your waistline.
Green Tea For Antioxidants
Green tea is a magical liquid in a mug. It is full of antioxidants like flavonoids and catechins. Antioxidants are important because they prevent the formation of free radicals. The aging of cells is caused by free radicals and that is why green tea is considered good for looking younger. Green tea has a small amount of caffeine, much less than coffee. So it gives you all the benefits of coffee without making you jittery.
6. Wine For Your Heart
Wine has a compound called resveratrol that helps to protect your heart and even lower the risk of cancer. Women who have one glass of wine a day have been found to have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s. Moderate wine intake of one glass a day for women and two glasses a day for men can also help increase your HDL or good cholesterol. Alcohol helps you de-stress which is always good for the heart. Once again, moderation is the key to make alcohol work for you in a healthy way.