When we seek out healthy drinks we are often confronted by the same options: orange juice, water, milk, green tea, and more recently, kale juice. But, you don’t have to limit yourself. There are tons of delicious and healthy beverages out there for you to enjoy guilt-free!
We put together a list of 9 healthy beverages, some that are a little unusual, some that are surprising, and others that seem downright unbelievable. With fruit, chocolate, and even alcohol on the list, you’re sure to find something delectable to add to your diet.
Most people know that a glass of red wine a day is good for you. A recent study even suggested that a glass of red wine could be the equivalent of an hour of exercise. The good news about red wine just keeps coming in, not only because there are so many avid wine tasters, but because a glass of your favourite vintage gives you antioxidants and resveratrol, which are helpful for those at risk for high cholesterol, heart disease, blood clots, and many other conditions and illnesses. The key is to stick with one glass only, as hard as that might sometimes be.
This slightly sour juice comes from the same plant used to cure nasty sunburns and is gaining popularity in health-conscious crowds. It contains important vitamins, such as B, C and E, as well as folic acid, which aids your immune system, and is also rich in antioxidants, helping your skin (and body) protect itself against free radicals. Aloe juice and aloe water have been said to help your skin look healthier, promote healing, and improve your overall health.
Hold on just a minute. We’re not talking about the kind of tequila that’s followed by a slice of lime (although that is said to be good for digestion), we’re talking about a sweetener that is made from the same plant as tequila, the agave cactus. Agavins are a natural sugar harvested from the plant and used to make agave syrup, a natural sweetener. You can use this sweetener as a sugar replacement, making any coffee, tea (or baked goods) just that much better. Research also shows that agave can help lower blood glucose levels and is a source of dietary fiber. The good news? Tequila has the same benefits, but in lower dosages, just look for 100% Agave on the label.
According to recent studies, tart cherry juice is a great anti-inflammatory. Drinking it regularly can even help with the symptoms of osteoarthritis or help prevent the early stages of arthritis. The antioxidants aid the inflammatory pathways, which means that as inflammation is reduced, so is any related pain. Cherry juice could be a great addition to your exercise schedule, to keep your body free from aches and pains associated with swelling. Cherry juice can also help you sleep if you drink it regularly. It might be hard to drink on it’s own, so you could mix it with something else, or add a little of the agave syrup mentioned above to sweeten it up.
If you forgot about the one glass of wine rule and woke up feeling terrible, coconut water might be your new best friend. It’s high in electrolytes, which helps replenish your body after a night of dehydration. The electrolytes are also really helpful after a workout, so try adding coconut water to your post-workout smoothie. Coconut water also aids in digestion, makes you feel fuller and can improve your skin, making it an all-around healthy beverage.
This is another beverage that is constantly being researched and tested to find out the health benefits (and drawbacks). Luckily, most of the results show this addictive caffeinated beverage in a positive light. Phew! During the myriad of studies, it has been discovered that coffee can help decrease the chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, reduce the threat of heart disease and diabetes, and even lower your risk of death. Coffee also makes you more alert and can lower your pain-intensity level, depending on how much and how often you drink it. Oh, and it’s delicious!
This one is a bit shocking because hot chocolate has always been seen as a treat, but as it turns out, there are actually a lot of health benefits to this warm and tasty drink. First of all, it contains milk, which is already an essential healthy drink. Secondly, and most importantly, there is chocolate. Chocolate increases the production of serotonin, which improves your mood and decreases the risk of depression. Chocolate also contains polyphenols and antioxidants, which helps protect against heart disease and can lower cholesterol. Try to use dark chocolate and natural sweeteners (another great use for agave) to keep the drawbacks from overcoming the benefits.
Did you ever wonder why so many juice combinations and cocktails include cranberry juice? It’s not just because of the delicious tangy flavour, but also because of the ample health benefits. Cranberry juice has antibacterial properties that can help prevent gum disease and also protect against urinary tract infections. Unfortunately, cranberry juice is often part of the super-sweet cocktails that are actually bad for your health. If you’re having the other kind of cocktail, try using cranberry juice to make cran-martinis and cran-vodkas for added benefits. Make sure your drink says 100% juice on the bottle, and stick to one glass a day because fruit juices are high in natural sugars.
This bodes well for the craft-beer craze spreading across North America. While beer is high in calories, it has also been found to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Beer is a source of dietary silicon, which helps to maintain (and grow) bones. Another study found that a pint a day of Guinness could help prevent blood clots and decrease the risk of heart attacks, just like a low dose of aspirin does. While these studies prove that beer isn’t all bad, just remember those benefits only count when drinking in moderation.
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