While water will always be essential for survival, we can’t rely on that liquid alone for good health. By adding a smoothie, juice or tea to your diet routine, you can easily supplement any nutrients or vitamins you may be missing. Different kinds of health drinks can give you energy in the morning, while others can help you unwind at the end of the day.
Juice has always been a decent alternative for sodas and other sweet fizzy drinks. Cranberry juice, cherry juice and orange juice all contain antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage. Tomato juice, carrot juice and other vegetable juices can contain vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. While fruit and vegetable juices offer nutritional benefits, it is important to be aware of the sugar and sodium in each serving. Many popular juice brands contain high levels of sugar and sodium, even up to 20 percent of your daily recommended amount. To get the most nutrition, make sure to drink “100 percent juice” and not juice from concentrate or a “juice drink.”
Making juice at home gives you control over how much sugar and sodium are added. However, it is important to be aware of what is lost from juicing at home. The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research points out that many juicers separate the juice from the pulp, basically separating out all the fiber from the drink. By adding some of the pulp into your juice, you retain the fiber and create a drink that fills you up.
Smoothies also can be part of a healthy diet. However, just like juice, the content of the smoothie, and not the smoothie itself, is where the health benefits are found. Ingredients such as nonfat greek yogurt or soy milk can create a healthy base for your smoothie filled with calcium and protein. Using fresh fruit adds a natural sweetness, as well as flavor. Powdered supplements can also add nutritional goodness. To get protein without the powder, add ingredients such as peanut butter, coconut milk and oats.
Avoid smoothies that use sugary juice or water and ice as a base, because they will not be nearly as nutritious or filling as one based with yogurt or milk. Smoothies that contain powdered fruit favors or mixes are also lacking in nutritional benefits. Finally, a smoothie that contains too much protein can also be harmful, as it can leave you dehydrated and bloated, as well as affecting how your smoothie tastes.
Tea has the widest range of health benefits of all the health drinks out there. From relaxing mint or chamomile tea to energizing black tea, there is a tea for almost every ailment or condition. Tea made from steeped herbs and tea leaves contain the most nutrients when compared to teabags or pre-made tea. Green tea offers a variety of health benefits, including skin health, weight loss, lowered hypertension and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Green tea can also be found in a powdered form called “Matcha Green Tea” which can be incorporated into other drinks and food.
By itself, tea is a low calorie drink that can contain potassium, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals, depending on the type. Some teas also contain caffeine, making it a great alternative for coffee and other sugary drinks. As the weather gets colder, tea can be a great wake-up aid in the early hours or during a morning commute.
These drinks can be a great way to supplement or enhance your diet. Speak with a nutritionist or physician about any questions or concerns you may have with your diet and if you feel that you are not meeting your daily recommended dietary intake.