Water is the healthiest beverage for use as your everyday go-to drink, but it can get boring to drink only water all the time. Fortunately plenty of other healthy drinks are out there to have on occasion, so you needn't resort to unhealthy sodas or overpriced energy drinks to quench your thirst. The key to incorporating healthy beverages into your day is to consume a few different healthy drinks in moderation while still drinking a few glasses of water every day.
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Green tea, the infused leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, contains compounds called flavonoids that may help prevent disease when consumed. Drinking three cups of tea a day can reduce the risk of heart attack, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Green tea consumption may also protect against cancer, osteoporosis and dental caries. Drinking green tea might also help people who are trying to lose weight.
Milk is one of the best sources of calcium available, providing nearly a third of the recommended daily intake for adults in a single cup. In addition to calcium, milk is often fortified with vitamins D and A, essential nutrients that benefit the bones and eyes. Low-fat milk is also low in calories, making it a good choice for dieters. Milk may even help promote weight loss, although this use remains under investigation.
Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Fruit and vegetable juices made with 100 percent juice and no added sugars can be healthy drinks when consumed in moderation. While it's always better to get your nutrients through whole foods, juice can be an easy way to get a few more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Be careful to read the ingredient list to ensure that what you are buying is truly 100 percent juice and not sugar-laden punch. Even 100 percent fruit juices can be high in calories, so don't consume them in excess.
A glass of red wine a day may help protect your heart by increasing the levels of high density lipoprotein, or HDL, in the blood. A compound called resveratrol is probably responsible for boosting this good type of cholesterol, although other antioxidants and flavonoids contained in red wine may contribute to the protective effect as well. However, don't drink more than one or two glasses a day, since the negative effects of alcohol consumption can quickly outweigh any benefit red wine might give you.
If you love chocolate, the news that hot cocoa can be a healthy drink may be particularly good news. Hot cocoa contains about twice the amount of antioxidants in red wine and two to three times more than green tea. Remember, though, that adding sugar or whole-fat dairy creamer to your cocoa can turn this healthy treat into an unhealthy one. Hot cocoa is a good way to get a daily dose of heart-healthy dark chocolate without the saturated fat normally found in a chocolate bar, as long as you limit yourself to one cup a day.