Water and drinks without added sugar are the best choices to keep hydrated. Foods like melon, soup, vegetables, and low-fat milk are also healthy options.
Limiting sugary foods and drinks can help prevent weight gain and tooth decay. Ideally, you should only consume free sugars on occasion.
Water is the body’s primary fluid and is essential for life. It helps maintain important shapes for cells’ inner components and outer membranes, supports digestive function, helps prevent constipation, flushes toxins from the kidneys, promotes healthy skin, and keeps the body regulated in temperature.
The latest TikTok trend is infusing water with powders and syrups, but many of the viral suggestions add high amounts of calories and sugars. These additions could defeat the purpose of drinking water, which is to hydrate.
Water can also be infused with fresh herbs, including mint, rosemary, lavender, and basil for a delicious calorie-free flavor. Be sure to wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly before preparing them, and check for signs of spoilage.
Tea and coffee
Tea and coffee are enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Whether you like to savor a cappuccino or gather around the coffee pot with friends, both beverages can provide health benefits when balanced with a healthy diet.
Both tea and coffee are rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage. They can also help improve focus, vigilance, and alertness. Tea is lower in caffeine than coffee, and many teas contain l-theanine, which may offer an energy boost that lasts longer without the spikes and dips in blood sugar often seen with coffee.
Fruit juice is an important source of vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. At moderate intakes consistent with dietary guidelines, it provides plant bioactives and vitamins that may help protect against chronic diseases.
However, if you consume too many fruit-flavored drinks or juices, they can be just as unhealthy as sugary soda. Read the label and ingredients list to ensure that your drink is 100 percent fruit juice, and if not, look for low amounts of added sugars (e.g. fructose and/or sucrose). The more added sugar, the higher the kilojoule content. Always aim to get most of your fruits and vegetables from whole foods, rather than juices or drinks.
Sports drinks are designed to help you replace the water and electrolytes lost during heavy exercise and sweating. They generally contain carbohydrates, salt, and sugar (fructose, sucrose, or maltodextrin) to provide energy for working muscles. They also have sodium to promote fluid intake and encourage hydration, as well as potassium to help maintain blood pressure during exercise.
Many active people, but not athletes, may benefit from drinking a sports drink. However, it is important to note that most of these beverages are high in sugar. Consider making your own homemade sports drink using 100% fruit juice or coconut water and a pinch of sea salt.
Although some energy drinks claim to be healthy, they are typically loaded with sugar, caffeine, and herbs/substances that lack scientific evidence from controlled trials (taurine, panax ginseng root extract, L-carnitine, guarana seed extract). They should be avoided by adolescents and people with health conditions that require them to moderate their caffeine intake.
Alcohol is a psychoactive substance containing ethanol (ethyl alcohol) found in alcoholic beverages and some foods. It affects the central nervous system, altering perceptions, emotions, and movement.
It also blocks the body’s ability to use folate, a B vitamin that is important in the development of an embryo’s spinal cord and in building DNA – the molecule that carries genetic information. This increases the risk of certain cancers, especially breast and colon cancer.
The best option is to stop drinking altogether or drink within the dietary guidelines, which are one standard drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men.