[Healthy Drinks] How Healthy Drinks Will Change Your Life: Facts, Tips, Benefits
When it comes to our health we prefer facts and hands-on practical advice vs. fads based on pseudoscience and opinion.
We’ve compiled a list of the research-backed facts and proven life-changing benefits of shifting your diet to healthy drinks.
So, if you are seeking tips on what not to drink, what to drink, and how much to drink — read on.
What not to drink
On average, Americans consume 43 grams of sugar through beverages daily which corresponds to 34 pounds (!) of added sugar annually. Whoa!
Sugary, processed drinks are the single most important source of added sugars in the American diet. And you know what these added sugars are responsible for:
bad skin (faster ageing and acne)
higher risk of cancer
The culprits are:
Sodas, pops and soft drinks
Energy and sports drinks
Juice concentrates (fake juice is worse than fake news!)
These are amongst the most unhealthy things you can consume. Period.
They are loaded with excessive amounts of additives, sugar, caffeine and fat, and lead to a disproportional intake of calories.
Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to stop drinking cola or some of these other drinks?
It’s because they have been specifically engineered to make you addicted, using highly refined sugars and other addictive ingredients.
As a result, these unhealthy drinks are not only low in nutrients, but also directly linked to heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and a whole host of illnesses.
These health issues could largely be avoided by shifting your diet away from pop, fake juice and energy drinks to what we call superdrinks.
Superdrinks are 100% natural, fresh, and homemade healthy drinks that we discuss in the list that follows.
What to drink
Why water? Good question!
Water is the main element in your blood. It supplies cells with oxygen and nutrients, and carries waste out of the body.
Water regulates your internal body temperature through the process of sweat production and evaporation.
Water also lubricates your joints, cushions your vital organs, burns calories and increases your metabolism.
Therefore, staying hydrated has a whole host of functions and benefits from brain health to weight loss.
You can meet your daily water intake with herbal teas or upgrade a plain glass of water with fruit, vegetable or herbal infusions like mint, ginger or cucumber.
For a nutritious alternative to sugary sodas and energy drinks, try the refreshing fizz of a freshly squeezed, sparkly lemon water, a potent vitamin C superdrink that is a fantastic source of hydration, but also super easy and quick to prepare.
You can also make natural sodas using a sodastream to turn still water into a fun sparkling treat.
Water is also found in abundance in many superfoods like spinach, wheatgrass and coconuts.
Plus, by using water or ice in your smoothies you can easily meet your daily quota.
Looking for a fountain of youth? Simply make your own with the superfood smoothies, fresh juices, detox teas and more in our free recipe directory.
We have talked about the many benefits of healthy smoothies before, but do wish to restate here that smoothies, when made from fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, following a minimum 70/30 veggie to fruit ratio, are true superdrinks.
They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Healthy smoothies are great sources of both water and fiber whose praises – including better hydration, digestion and satiety – we’ve sang before.
Healthy smoothies are fun to make, rebuilding your appreciation for 100% natural and fresh ingredients.
They even help you become a more conscious shopper as visiting your local farmer's market or health food store is probably the best way to find fresh, pesticide-free, organic, locally-sourced veggies and fruits.
Plus, healthy smoothies are a tasty and fantastic way to load up on greens, veggies, seeds, nuts and other superfoods you may otherwise not include in your diet. If you could use a little guidance on how to build yourself some of the healthiest smoothies on earth in your very own kitchen, feel free to read on here.
Freshly-squeezed juices are a great alternative to sodas and unhealthy, sugary drinks – provided you follow the 70/30 veggie to fruit ratio and maintain some of the pulp which is rich in fiber.
Making fresh and natural juices out of organic vegetables and other superfoods is an easy way to take in a great portion of your daily recommended vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Healthy juices lead to powerful benefits including:
anti-inflammatory compounds which help boost your immune system, in particular during the cold and flu season
improved digestive functions thanks to healthy enzymes that make the gut work more effectively
the ability to cleanse and aid your body in flushing out toxins
the ability to lose weight as part of an overall low-calorie diet
Green Teas and Herbal Infusions
Teas are healthy drink powerhouses. Whether you go for black, oolong or green teas, all made of the same Camellia senensis wonder plant, or for herbal teas such as chamomile and mint with their distinct medicinal virtues, teas are true superdrinks that are not going to let you down.
Unlike sodas and soft drinks, teas are 100% calorie-free, just like water. So, if weight-loss is your goal, this is a great solution.
Recent studies have shown that as little as one to three cups of green tea per day can reduce both your risk of a stroke (by 35%) and your risk of a heart attack (by 20%).
One of the reasons why green teas have these powerful health effects is that they are great sources of antioxidants which prevent the cells and blood vessels from becoming rusty and old.
And, if you are trying to keep your caffeine-intake in check, tea might just be your new best friend.
While green and black teas actually contain only half as much caffeine as coffee, herbal teas are 100% caffeine-free.
Coffee has somehow garnered an unfair reputation, but the fears are largely unwarranted.
Coffee is actually for most people safe and healthy to drink – in moderation.
Studies suggest that depending on how strong they are around 3-4 cups (totaling a maximum of 300-400mg of caffeine) per day is safe to consume.
Coffee consumption is linked to longevity and reduced risk of disease, including Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, liver diseases and others.
Coffee is high in antioxidants and can be easily combined with other ingredients to make delicious superfood-based healthy drinks.
Unsweetened, plant-based milks made from hemp, coconut and almond for example, are a great alternative to dairy which for many is linked to digestive and other issues.
Not only are they tasty in superfood smoothies, lattes or as a splash in teas, but they are low-calorie and nutrient-rich.
How much and when to drink
Though there is no one universal answer of how much water to consume each day, we consulted with the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences to come up with the following:
15 glasses for men
11 glasses for women
8 glasses for children
Note that a glass is equivalent to 8 ounces.
For most people, about 80% of your required water comes from beverages and the other 20% from food.
A rule of thumb is that you can determine the actual amount of pure water you should drink each day by subtracting 3 glasses from the recommendations above to account for the water you are likely getting from food and other beverages.
And the catch is, if you are mindful about consistently incorporating superfood smoothies, healthy juices and healthy teas into your daily diet, you really don't need to worry about your water intake much at all.
A Daily Healthy Drinks Routine
If you need specific instructions on a routine to follow, here is our recommendation:
1-2 glass(es) of water right when you wake up in the morning to re-hydrate your organs after the night, become alert and get energized (for an extra Vitamin C-punch and additional detoxification benefits add the freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon to that water!)
A superfood smoothie in the morning for or with breakfast
A glass of water 30 minutes before lunch to aid digestion and avoid over-eating
Optional: A superfood smoothie for or with lunch
A light smoothie, healthy juice or tea in lieu of an afternoon snack
A glass of water 30 minutes before dinner to aid digestion and avoid over-eating
A herbal tea after dinner to help digestion and soothe you in preparation for bed
Sip plain or infused water throughout the day, whenever you need to feel hydrated, refreshed or more alert
Lastly, be sure to increase your water intake significantly when exercising (an efficient way of doing so are these pre- and post-workout smoothies explicitly designed for the needs of runners, gym heros and athletes)
This healthy drink routine is a great way to jumpstart your commitment to building better health habits, so you can look and feel better.
If you are interested in learning about the sources from which we drew this article, download our reference list here.