Five Top Things to Drink to Be Healthy
By Lindsay Boyers Updated December 02, 2018
Many people don’t realize just how bad choosing the wrong drink can be for their health and diet. Sugary drinks, like soda and sweet tea, contain loads of calories and no nutritional benefit. Even drinks that are advertised as “healthy,” such as enhanced waters and sports drinks, tip the scale when it comes to sugar. Stay away from these diet saboteurs and stick to drinks that are lower in sugar and offer plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Water tops the list of drinks you need to stay healthy. Sure, water quenches your thirst, but it does so much more than that. Water helps carry nutrients to your cells and flushes out toxins from your vital organs. Water also lubricates your ear, nose and throat tissues and helps you maintain your body temperature. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink at least 13 cups of water per day and women drink at least 9 cups of water daily.
Go ahead and get your caffeine fix! Yup — coffee is healthy for you too. Coffee is naturally calorie-free, so if you enjoy it black — or with a no-calorie sweetener — you’re not adding to your caloric intake for the day. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, including those that benefit your heart health, and a way to hydrate. Of course, moderation is key to avoid a caffeine overload. Limit yourself to three mugs a day.
Green tea is high in a specific category of antioxidants called flavonoids, specifically catechins. According to Harvard University, research has shown that catechins may be more powerful in fighting cell damage than other antioxidants, like vitamins C and E. Because of this, drinking green tea may help reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, such as bladder, breast, lung, colon and skin. In addition to green tea’s antioxidant properties, it can also help lower LDL cholesterol, which may help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. These benefits were generally seen with about 3 cups of green tea per day.
The most well-known nutritional benefit of regularly drinking milk is bone health. Milk is high in calcium and vitamin D, two nutrients that help keep your bones strong and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. This is especially important during childhood and adolescence when the bones are going through a period of rapid growth. Milk is also rich in potassium, a mineral that can help maintain a healthy blood pressure, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. To reap the benefits, drink about 3 cups of milk per day. Choose low-fat or nonfat milk, rather than full-fat varieties.
Smoothies can be a healthy drink option, when done right. Some smoothies, like those offered at commercial chains or the prepackaged versions at your grocery store, can contain lots of sugar, fat and calories. When you make your own smoothies, however, you can concoct a drink that is rich in protein, fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Smoothies are also a good way to meet your fruit recommendations for the day. Combine low-fat milk with half a banana, a half-cup of strawberries, a handful of almonds and a handful of spinach and you’ve got a nutrient-packed breakfast that will help keep you full until lunch. If you order a smoothie while you’re out, ask them to hold any added sugar, since fruit is naturally sweet.