We all know that is important to stay hydrated, especially during the summer season, but what to drink? Too many of us reach for sugary soda drinks which can add too many calories with little or no nutritional value. Diet drinks may be lower in calories, but are not much better for us. Energy drinks can be both sugar packed and have high levels of caffeine which is a stimulant that can not only raise blood pressure but leave you crashing later. So many choices, so few of which are actually good for you. So, what are some drinks that are truly healthy for you? Here are picks for healthy drinks that don’t cost a fortune, or require an expensive juicer.
By now, most of us know that green tea is full of healthful antioxidants. It is also calorie free, that is, if you brew it yourself and do not fall for the super sweetened stuff in the bottles at the convenience store. Green tea also contains amino acids that have been said to boost energy and aid in weight loss. Again, this is only going to work if you do not drink it with spoonfuls of sugar in it. My favorite way to use green tea is to buy the bags in the store, and there are so many flavor choices, then plunk a bunch of bags into a huge jar and put it out in the sun and make green sun tea. If I need to sweeten it, I use stevia, or raw honey.
Oolong tea is a darker tea with a fuller body than green tea. Many tea lovers find green tea to be a bit wimpy in flavor. Oolong tea has antioxidants, helps promote weight loss, and it is said to be less acidic than green tea. Oolong tea is found in the tea section in bag form that you can brew yourself, either served hot, or iced. As with green tea, Oolong tea can be found with flavor choices to jazz things up a bit. ,Be sure to keep the sugar to a minimum or the calories will outweigh the benefits.
Yes, coffee. We all love it, and while in the past we were told that it was a bad addiction, coffee has been found to be jam packed with antioxidants and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer and diabetes according to recent studies. Ditch the sugar and try stevia instead and go easy on the cream. You want the coffee, not the sugar and fat. If caffeine bothers you enjoy the many types of decaf available. In the summer, enjoy your coffee iced. Steer clear of coffee chain lattes and mochas which can have upwards of 300 or more calories per drink, even if you choose the skim milk option.
Of course, you do not want to hear it, but with our body made up of approximately 60% water, we need to drink water to stay healthy and hydrated. Water has no sugar, fat, calories, or caffeine and it is free if you use tap water, filtered if need be. A lot of people find water boring, especially if they are fond of energy drinks and soda pop, but a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange can perk it up a bit, and flavored seltzer water makes for a nice change of pace. Sugar free flavored water can be very refreshing without being boring.
There are so many juices being touted as super foods, or super juices, and some really seem to be, like acai berry juice, and wheatgrass juice. However, some of these can be expensive, hard to find, or require a special juicer to make. Sure, carrot juice is good for you, but so is eating carrots, a far easier route to take. Pomegranate juice, and I am talking about 100%, no sugar added, pomegranate juice can be found in most grocery stores and the cost is reasonable. This is especially true since it only takes a couple ounces of the stuff to reap the benefits. Antioxidants, the ones known as polyphenols, are found in high levels in pomegranate juice and there is thought that this deep red drink can lower cholesterol.
Add an ounce of pomegranate juice to some seltzer water and you have a drink that is low in calories and packs a healthy wallop while it tastes good. As with any juice, drink in moderation, as too much of a good thing usually means too much sugar and too many calories. Cheers!
Health Benefits of Coffee
Healthy Drinks and Beverages
Thomas Behrenbeck M.D.
Pomegranate Juice-Can It Lower Cholesterol?