Most beverages (think smoothies, soft drinks, alcohol and fruit cocktails) contain a lot of calories without much nutritional benefit. Loaded with added sugars, you aren’t doing your body any favours by consuming these kinds of drinks regularly.
“Vitamin water” and similar “water” beverages that are pumped full of vitamins are often equally pumped full of sugar. You are much better off avoiding these kinds of drinks completely by getting your nutrients via real, whole foods.
There are many other kinds of beverages which are healthy for you. Choosing the right kinds of drinks will keep you hydrated and provide your body with much-needed nutrients.
Water is one of the best options. You should also drink low-fat, unsweetened milk (whether it is dairy, almond, soy or another kind) and 100 per cent fruit juices. Keep in mind that smoothies typically pack in a lot of calories and sugar, so make your own at home to cut back on the caloric content.
Another excellent beverage to make a habit of drinking regularly is tea. Tea has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, boost immunity and help to prevent several kinds of cancer. It is calorie-free and very warming on a cold day. Drinking tea in the morning is a great way to wake up and start your day.
But be warned: adding cream and sugar will counteract the tea’s benefits, so drink your tea without anything added. It doesn’t have to be bitter, either: there are many different kinds of tea that you can experiment with which taste delicious without spoonfuls of sugar.
Jasmine green tea has a bitter edge, but regular green tea can be quite mild. Take the teabag out before it has steeped for a full five minutes to get accustomed to the strength of your tea. Drink pomegranate green tea for a nice touch of sweetness.
Rooibos tea is a good source of minerals and it is naturally caffeine-free. Chai rooibos adds a little spice to your drink. For herbal teas, try peppermint tea for a refreshing flavour. Chamomile is another popular herbal tea.
White tea is possibly one of the best kinds of teas for beginner tea-drinkers to start with because it is incredibly light. Get a blend of white, green, and mint tea for subtle flavour. White tea is very high in antioxidants, even more than any other kind of tea. It can steep for longer because it is such a mild tea.
Remember to read the ingredient list on any kind of tea that you buy. Avoid the ones that contain artificial flavours. Drink tea in as close to its natural form as possible to reap the health benefits.
Tea provides energy in the morning, warms you up when you are feeling cold and can help you relax in the evening: not many other beverages can make the same claim.
Sagan Morrow is a freelance writer and editor with her own health and wellness blog. Check it out at www.livingintherealworld.net/healthy.
Published in Volume 65, Number 5 of The Uniter (September 30, 2010)