Drinks with health benefits
Some of my favourite drinks with health benefits…
Lemon juice water has become popular in recent years and it’s no wonder; its refreshing taste and plethora of health benefits make it a good choice to keep hydrated.
Some of its health benefits:
It aids in digestion and detoxification – the atomic structure of lemon juice is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach; it prompts the liver to produce bile, which keeps the food moving through your digestive system smoothly. It can also help with indigestion or an upset stomach. If you want to give your liver an extra boost, then add the rind to your lemon water and make it warm. Namely, the rind contains something called lemonene, which is the active ingredient that supports liver detoxification. Do buy organic lemons as non-organic ones are likely to be treated with pesticides, which will only tax your liver more.
It improves your Vitamin C levels. Your body doesn’t produce vitamin C on its own, so it is important that you get enough of it from the food and drinks you ingest. Vitamin C helps stimulates the white blood cell production, which is vitally important for your immune function; it also protects cells from oxidative damage.
It rejuvenates the skin. Antioxidants found in lemon water help with the damage caused by free radicals. They also aid collagen production, which is important for healing and for keeping the face lines away.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a powerful tonic loaded with living nutrients. And that is why it has a beneficial impact on your gut microflora. To enjoy the benefits of ACV, you should buy one that is raw, unpasteurized and with the ‘mother’ in it. I store mine in the fridge once it’s been opened to preserve its goodness and drink a glass of water (250ml) with two teaspoons of ACV in it in the morning. I also use in salad dressings to give them that extra kick.
Coconut water is great for rehydration as it’s a natural source of electrolytes (which are remarkably similar to the electrolyte makeup of our blood), so no wonder it’s become the ‘go to’ drink for exercise lovers! Just like with ACV you want to buy one that is unpasteurized or get your hands on some young coconuts. Beware, it contains sugar, so you want to be mindful of how much you have.
Coffee is a bit of a contentious topic as some believe it should be avoided and some laud it with many health benefits. I sit in the latter camp.
If you’re a slow metabolizer (i.e. if you get jittery after one cup of coffee) then it’s best to be avoided. However, there are some reasonable coffee substitutes (such as BarleyCup or Dandelion coffee) to still enjoy your daily ‘coffee ritual’, so don’t despair.
Coffee is a rich source of polyphenols which are type of antioxidants. Polyphenols are plant derived molecules that give food their colour and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Some of the polyphenols that can be found in coffee:
Chlorogenic acid (CGA) – is the most abundant polyphenol in coffee which scavenges free radicals. Its concentration in a cup of coffee depends on the type of bean, roasting temperature and brewing method.
Melanoidins – are brown-coloured substances which are formed during the roasting process and give coffee its flavour, colour and aroma. They tend to increase in abundance during the roasting process and not only do they possess free-radicals scavenging properties but they also assist the body with heavy metals detoxification.
Caffeine – is not only a nervous system stimulant but it has also been shown to reduce free radical activity.
Now, when it comes to choosing your coffee beans you always want organic and naturally processed ones. Because conventional coffee beans are loaded with pesticides and herbicides and decaffeinated versions even more so as harsh chemicals are used to extract the caffeine from the bean. Also, support the farmers who grow your coffee beans, so look for the Fair Trade mark to ensure a living wage is provided for those who give you your morning cup of ‘joy’!
If I’m to pick my favourite drink then green tea it is! I must admit that I have developed a slight addiction to this tasty & ‘medicinal’ beverage as I can only go a couple of days without it. So, what makes green tea so special? As above, it is a rich source of antioxidants and probably the best known one is EGCG = epigallocatechin gallate.
EGCG is a potent polyphenol that is very beneficial for our health. The health benefits of this ancient drink have been linked to improved cognitive function, weight management, reduced inflammation and many more. I buy mine organic (for reasons explained above) and enjoy several cups of it every day. Beware, it contains caffeine, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine then limit how many cups you have and aim to have your last cuppa of green tea by 3pm to ensure a sound sleep!
So, there you have it. It’s not all that difficult to keep hydrated and well when we choose drinks with health benefits! 😊