14 Essential Beverages: Drinking To a Healthier You
Lately, it seems like just about any store you enter claims to be offering healthy, natural, "green," or organic beverages to the health-conscious consumer. The problem is, a lot of manufacturers simply hide behind those healthy-sounding buzzwords while selling you the same old heart-stopping junk packed with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. So what's a beleaguered beverage buyer to do? Fear not, for despite all the marketing hype, there aremany beverages that boost your health! Here are 14 of them.
That's right. Even with millions of dollars in marketing money behind new-age drinks with names you can hardly pronounce, there's no denying the health value of good old milk. An all-around good source of energy and protein, milk is also bursting with bone-strengthening calcium that doctors call vital in preventing arthritis and osteoporosis. If your hands, joints, or even your teeth aren't as strong as you or your doctor would like them to be, it's hard to beat the instant calcium injection a daily glass of milk or two can provide!
2) Naked Juice
Naked Juice is a relatively new brand of all-natural fruit drinks that have no added sugar or health-killing preservatives. In recent years this wellness-enhancing drink has seen considerable notoriety, including being acquired by PepsiCo and sold to consumers at Starbucks locations. Many of its drinks are exceptionally high in immune system-aiding antioxidants, and with flavors ranging from berry blast to strawberry banana to pomegranate, virtually everyone is sure to find a Naked Juice they'll enjoy! Of course you could drink fresh fruit juice but that's no substitute for Naked Juice, which offers much more and shouldn't be overlooked.
Everyone knows the occasional glass of wine offers some health benefits, but there may be even more than we previously knew existed. An exciting study conducted by University Hospital of Zurich researchers has uncovered a potentially huge breakthrough in how moderate, mealtime alcohol consumption benefits our bodies. According to the study, wine consumed around mealtime "reduces the proliferation of smooth muscle cells (SMC) within the arteries. SMC growth is a key element in the development of atherosclerosis, which commonly leads to heart attacks and strokes." Now, clearly this isn't meant to endorse binge drinking or alcoholism, but it should give you one more reason to enjoy a casual wine with your supper!
4) Green Tea
Green tea is such a healthy drink that the Chinese have actually used it for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. And far from being a cultural superstition or affectation, hard evidence is showing why green tea relied on for so long. A 1994 study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute displayed a clear link between green tea consumption and a lower risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by as much as 60 percent! Other researchers have identified links between green tea consumption and slowed growth of malignant cancer cells. Clearly, this is one beverage you should chug down as often as possible!
5) Ginkgo Biloba Tea
Long hailed as a potent health-boosting supplement, Ginkgo can now be consumed in tea form! Health benefits to drinkers include improved memory due to an increase of blood flow to the brain, which has been proven to take place by controlled, double-blind tests. More oxygen to the brain offers many other benefits, including greater ability to focus, a longer attention span, and the overall feeling that you are more awake than normal
6) Pomegranate Juice
For many years, pomegranate juice was the "dirty little secret" of the healthy beverage realm: it has many health benefits to offer, but few people following through and reaping them. Recently, that's all changed with a number of magazine articles and press coverage about just how healthy - and delicious - pomegranate juice is. The primary health benefit is a significant - up to 40 percent - increase in the output of blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Since this is one of the most fundamental bodily functions that takes place, a boost here effectively boosts almost everything else a person could do!
7) Whey Protein Shakes
A longtime favorite of bodybuilders, whey or soy protein shakes can be tastily enjoyed by anyone! The Internet is literally bursting with recipes, including chocolate peanut butter and strawberry banana, of the different shakes you can make with your favorite powdered protein and common household food items. The best thing about whey protein shakes, though, is that whey penetrates through to your bloodstream faster than any other protein does. So if you're looking for a nice jolt that'll take effect within the hour, a nice, cold whey protein shake could be right up your alley!
8) Orange-Mint Iced Tea
If you already like iced tea, why not rocket its health boosting properties into the stratosphere with this ultra-healthy recipe?
- 6 tea bags
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 sprigs of fresh mint, divided
- 1 1/4 cups orange juice
- juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 1/2 orange, seeded and sliced
All the fruit and citrus in this drink will pack a decisive knockout punch to any cold bugs or viruses that dare to challenge your immune system. For more details on preparing it, see the following link.
It seems obvious, but the fact is, too many of us drink tragically little water relative to how important it is to our bodily functioning. The health benefits of water are staggering in number, including cleaner screen, improved digestion, better hydration, enhanced alkaline retention, reduction of headaches, and much, much more. Still not convinced that water is absolutely vital to your quest for ideal health? Consider this:
- Bone is 22 percent water
- The brain is 74 percent water
- Muscles are 75 percent water
- Blood is 83 percent water
10) Cranberry Juice
If tart yet delicious red fruits are a guilty pleasure of yours, cranberry juice is one you can feel a little less guilty about! Among its many immune system fortifying properties are the prevention of urinary tract infections and respiratory infections, the delay of ear infections, and a special strain that stops bacteria from sticking to red blood cells. According to one study, "it seemed that the juice inhibited the bacteria's pili, the hair-like structures that allow them to adhere to surfaces. The juice had no effect on strains of Haemophilus influenzae that lacked pili."
So if you like cranberries, drink up!
11) Orange Juice
Another time-tested favorite, orange juice is positively packed with citrus and beneficial acids that protect your immune system like an alligator-filled mote around an ancient castle. The health benefits of orange juice are magnified when you drink it while healthy, as the vitamins and minerals can burrow deep into your bloodstream without having a cold or stomach bug to deal with. Not coincidentally, this greatly reduces your chances of getting sick with one of those things!
12) Ginger Ale
We know what you're thinking. "What the heck is a soda doing on this list?!" But believe it or not, ginger ale actually has several important health benefits! For one, there's almost nothing better to drink if your stomach is upset or you're having trouble digesting food. Additionally, the ginger in ginger ale has natural and strong anti-inflammatory properties, a major benefit to anyone with arthritis or chronic muscle pain. If you're looking to drink healthy but would rather ease into the process than drastically change your intake overnight, ginger ale might be worth a shot!
13) Vitamin Water
Offering proof that a mass-market drink available in gas stations can, indeed, be healthy, Vitamin Water is a shining example of a drink that's both tasty and healthy. It's available in about a dozen flavors (from fruit punch to grape to green tea) and each flavor packs a different medley of vitamins and minerals. Prepare for an intense yet delicious surge of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Taurine, Calcium, and Lutein, depending on the flavor you choose!
14) True Lemon
Everybody loves lemonade, but not every mouth-watering glass of it was created equally. Most of the store-bought mixes you buy are packed with preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup. Yikes! Fortunately, there is an alternative: True Lemon, a lemonade drink with 0 calories, 0g of carbs, no sugar or artificial sweeteners, and absolutely no preservatives or sodium. If you want to keep the familiar yummy taste of lemonade as you drink healthier, this is definitely the way to go!
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