5 ESSENTIAL Healthy Drink Choices

Sometimes people figure that the only options on your Healthy diet list for drinks are water or milk. That is definitely not the case. Here are a few other choices and the health benefits of each of them.

1. Coffee:

KEEPING IT HEALTHY:

Drinking Coffee is a morning ritual for me. It helps wake me up and feel good and it is actually really healthy when it isn’t mixed with a bunch of sugar and creamers. The problem that people have with the health factors of coffee is that they add too much creamers and sweeteners. The healthiest way to drink coffee is black, but if you must have sweetened coffee, add low-sugar sweeteners, honey, and/or plain milk. Try to stay away from super sugary sweeteners and always check calories and sugar content when ordering a sweet drink from any coffee shop.

HEALTH FACTORS:

Reduces Risks For: Type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, liver damage, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, stroke, and possibly gallstone development.

Improves: Cognitive function, endurance performance, energy levels, intelligence, physical performance

Contains these Nutrient Factors: Riboflavin, Vitamin B5, Manganese, Potassium, Niacin, Magnesium, antioxidants

Helps: burn fat, give you a longer life

                                                                                

2. Tea:

KEEPING IT HEALTHY:

Tea is similar to coffee in keeping it healthy. Plain tea with no additives is the healthiest way to go. If you don’t like regular tea, try just adding healthier milk choices (see below in milk), a little bit of honey, lemon, no-calorie sweeteners, lavender or cinnamon or other sweet spices of your choice. Tea can become unhealthy once you start adding sugars, whole milk, too much honey, vanilla, and whip cream.

HEALTH FACTORS:

Reduces Risks For: Heart Attacks, cancers (including breast, colon, skin, and lung cancer), Parkinson’s disease, metabolic syndrome (increases risks for diabetes), neurological diseases

Improves: Endurance, bone mineral density and strength.

Contains these Nutrient Factors: L-theanine, flavenoids, tannins, and catechins

Helps: Fight free radicals (can damage DNA), protect from ultra violet rays, lose weight

Certain teas hold their own set of health factors:

Green Tea:

BENEFITS: Help prevents some cancers (pancreatic, bladder, breast, lung, stomach, colorectal), prevent clogging of arteries, counteract oxidative stress, burn fat, reduce risks for neurological disorders, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.

Black Tea:

BENEFITS: May protect lungs from damage caused by cigarette smoke and reduce risks of stroke

White Tea:

BENEFITS: Anticancer Properties

Oolong Tea:

BENEFITS: Lower cholesterol levels and helps with weight loss

Pu-erh Tea:

BENEFITS: Helps with weight loss and reduces LDL cholesterol

3. Orange Juice/Other 100% Juices:

KEEPING IT HEALTHY:

This one is pretty straight forward when it comes to keeping it healthy. Orange juice is usually left alone (unless making a mixed alcoholic/non-alcoholic drink). This is healthy on its own without added sugars. You could also add lemon, lime, cranberry, or pineapple juices as long as those are also 100% juice instead of added sugars. So even though I focus on orange juice in this section, other 100% juices are healthy drink choices as well.

HEALTH FACTORS:

Reduces Risks For: cancer, ulcers, kidney stones, heart attack

Improves: circulation, blood pressure, skin texture and glow

Contains these Nutrient Factors: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Folate, Proteins, Fiber, Copper, Magnesium, Flavonoids

Helps: boost the immune system, reduce signs of aging, boost cellular repair and metabolism, detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, weight loss

4. Milk:

KEEPING IT HEALTHY:

There are different types of milk. The healthiest choices are 2%, 1%, or skim. Other healthy choices of milk are listed below. Whole milk is healthy for younger kids because they can use all the extra additives in it. As you get older, you don’t need all those other sugars, fats, and carbohydrates so the way to go is lower percentages of fats, sodium, and cholesterol (the ones mentioned above).

HEALTHY FACTORS: (based off of 2% milk)

Reduces Risks For: anemia, osteoporosis, cancer

Improves: heart health, bone health, teeth health, diet and vitamin intake

Contains these Nutrient Factors: Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, riboflavin, zinc, protein, magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorus, carbohydrates, niacin, and selenium.

Helps: skin care, weight loss

Almond Milk:

BENEFITS: reduce and maintain blood pressure, strong heart, strong muscles, healthier kidneys, healthy skin, improved vision, healthier bones, lowers risks for cancer, strengthens the immune system, and this can be used as a substitution for breast milk if needed.

Coconut Milk:

BENEFITS: weight loss, immune system health, reduces risks for heart disease, healthy skin and hair

Cashew Milk:

BENEFITS: Good substitution for vegans and those that are lactose intolerant, cholesterol and fat free, rich in antioxidants and vitamins, helps with weight loss, helps hair and bones grow stronger, creates healthier nerves, also strengthens gums and teeth and heart

Moo Moo Straws for Flavored Milk: These are not “healthy” per say. But they are a great alternative to actual chocolate or strawberry flavors for milk. They contain less sugars and are still tasty.

5. Water:

KEEPING IT HEALTHY:

Water is the HEALTHIEST Choice of any drink. It has many benefits listed in the next area of this section. Drinking it plain, with lemon, lime, or other fruits is the healthy way to go! Choosing no-calorie flavors or sparkling water can add some taste as well if drinking water alone is too hard.

HEALTHY FACTORS:

Reduces Risks For: osteoporosis, ulcers, kidney stones, cardiovascular disease

Improves: backache and migraine pains, metabolism, intelligence

Contains these Nutrient Factors: Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium (though water may not contain much nutritional value on this scale, it has many benefits making it the top beverage)

Helps: Maintain the balance for body fluids, control caloric intake, energize muscles, keep skin healthy, maintain normal bowel movements, protect kidneys, breathing, prevent fainting

Resource Links: