Healthy Drinks: Giving Our Bodies Proper Hydration

Properly hydrating our bodies with healthy drinks is an important component to healthy living. However, healthy drinks do not have to be boring, there are many drinks that are great tasting, full of healthy nutrients and provide us with our daily water requirement.

Our bodies are made up of two-thirds water and every day we lose and gain water through natural body responsibilities. Unfortunately, at the end of each day we end up short, approximately 1.5 litres (48 oz) and more if we sweat due to hot weather or exercise. Therefore, we must properly hydrate our bodies each day making up the difference and allowing our bodies to function properly.

Ideally, we should provide our bodies with healthy drinks that will provide proper hydration and are also filled with healthy nutrients. Our bodies will run more efficiently at preventing diseases and maintaining good health. Keep in mind that not all drinks are healthy; some are full of harmful chemicals and end up doing our bodies more harm. The following describes many different ways to get proper hydration with great tasting healthy drinks loaded with healthy nutrients.

Healthy Drinks

Sprucing Up Plain Water:

Pure water is absolutely the best drink to properly hydrate our bodies; however, many of us find it boring and avoid drinking it. Here we spruce up plain water making it enjoyable without adding unnecessary sugar or harmful chemicals.

  • Spa Water: Infuse water with citrus fruits. Place sliced fruits in a pitcher of water, chill for a few hours. Serve with ice and garnish of your choice. The possibilities are endless; infuse water with any favourite fruit.
  • Lemon Water: A refreshing twist on water, simply squeeze a wedge of lemon in your water. For lemonade, add the juice of half a lemon and sweeten with Stevia.
  • Cranberry Water: Mix 1/3 cup of real cranberry juice (unsweetened) with 2/3 cup of water, if desired, sweeten with Stevia. If using, sweetened cranberry juice, use less juice for we should limit the use of sugar and sweeteners when hydrating our bodies.

Herbal Teas:

Herbal teas have become extremely popular with an overwhelming selection available; there is truly a flavour for every palate. Herbal teas are great for those individuals who enjoy warm liquids. Strive to choose mostly non-caffeinated varieties.

  • Cool Chamomile: Add a few mint leaves to chamomile tea for a soothing, relaxing drink.
  • Iced Herbal Tea: Add one or more varieties of tea bags to hot water, sweeten with Stevia and steep for ½ hour. Serve chilled over ice. The possibilities are endless, depending on your personal preference. Combine green, white and red teas for a very tasty ice tea.
  • Spiced Chai: Simply add a cinnamon stick to chai tea to spice it up; cinnamon is also known to have many great health benefits.

Caffeinated Drinks:

The jury is still out whether caffeinated drinks offer proper hydration or not; however, we do know that caffeine should at least be limited, so here are a few tips to remember when selecting caffeinated drinks.

  • Select plain versions of coffee or tea using organic milk or cream and sweeten with Stevia, if desired.
  • Keep the mocha, caramel, extra cream and sugar varieties to very rare occasions.
  • For an interesting and delicious twist, select flavoured coffees and teas.

Sodas:

Unfortunately sodas are not considered healthy drinks. They contain high amounts of caffeine, sugar and many harmful chemicals. Sodas are best avoided completely or limited to small amounts. There are many ways we can create a healthier version of soda. Select ingredients based on personal taste.

  • Orange soda: Add organic or pure orange juice to any carbonated water, no need to add a sweetener since the juice is already sweetened.
  • Cranberry soda: Add unsweetened cranberry juice to any carbonated water and sweeten with Stevia.
  • Lemon/lime soda: Add lemon and lime juice and/or slices into any carbonated water and sweeten with Stevia.

Energy Drinks:

Energy drinks are full of harmful disease-causing ingredients and are best completely avoided. These energy drinks are becoming the focus of many studies showing how they lead to serious diseases. It's best to look for healthier versions that are fruit based with natural ingredients.  Your local health food store is a great place to start.

Fruit/Vegetable Juice:

Fruit and vegetable juices are healthy drinks that also contain many healthy nutrients. However, most store bought juice contains high amounts of sugar and/or salt and do not provide the best hydration. Here are some healthy tips to consider when craving fruit and vegetable juice.

  • Select organic or pure juice varieties. These products contain only one ingredient, so we definitely know we’re getting the real stuff. Health food stores and organic sections of local supermarkets stock these products.
  • Use a juicer and make your own fruit and vegetable juice. We can be super creative using many combinations of fresh produce that delivers the freshest juice with healthy nutrients. Be sure to always select fresh organic produce.
  • Make your own juice by stewing the fruit or vegetable in water. Place two cups of any chopped fruit or vegetable in one litre of water, bring to a boil and simmer. Strain, cool and enjoy. Cranberry juice can be made using this process and is especially tasty. Sweeten with Stevia if desired.


Smoothies:

Smoothies are another great way to get daily fruit and vegetable intake as well as proper hydration and healthy nutrients. If you add protein powder it can be a meal replacement drink and help us lose or maintain weight. Here are a few tips when creating smoothies.

  • Be sure to use organic products to receive the highest nutritional value.
  • Smoothies can be water, juice, or milk based. Plain yogurt is also a great addition.
  • Unleash your imagination as combinations are endless. Don’t be afraid to try exotic fruits and vegetables, as well.

Alcohol:

Alcohol is a diuretic, for it causes the body to lose water as opposed to gaining it. Ideally, alcohol should be avoided completely or at least limited to small amounts. The following provides helpful tips when drinking alcohol.

  • For every alcoholic drink you consume, drink one full glass of water to help replenish the lost water.
  • Select light beers, red or white wine, or liquor mixed with any carbonated water. Any healthy drinks mentioned above can also be mixed with liquor.
  • Avoid creamy and sugary alcoholic drinks.

Providing our bodies with proper hydration each day will allow our bodies to function efficiently and stay healthy. It’s most important we select healthy drinks that offer the best hydration with healthy nutrients. Our bodies will be thankful.

Cheers to healthy drinks and healthy living.

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