I’ve read a lot about what not to drink, mostly for the sake of losing weight, lately. Those include huge lattes with syrup and whipped cream, beer, soda, juice, sports drinks, certain smoothies that have gobs of hidden sugarâ€¦ Most of them are pretty obvious.
The beverages that are good to drink, however, get much less attention, at least everywhere I’ve looked. There are still some healthy, beneficial drinks out there that aren’t water, believe it or not.
Kombucha: There are a few different kombucha drinks on the market, but my favorite is by GT. There’s no caffeine, and there’s a wide flavor selection. It’s an effervescent fermented tea made with “a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast,” according to Food Renegade, and the ancient Chinese called it “the immortal health elixir.”
Not many scientific studies involve the tea so it isn’t intended to be used to treat illnesses today, but it has been used medicinally through history for detoxing the body, fighting cancer, improving digestion, and promoting well-being. I wouldnâ€™t use it as medicine, obviously, but I do feel that I have a little more energy after I drink it, and it seems to settle my stomach and help with digestive issues.
It contains enzymes, probiotics, vinegar, B vitamins, and detoxifiers. All flavors are a bit tangy, almost as if apple cider vinegar has been mixed in, and many consider it to be an acquired taste. There is a very small amount of alcoholÂ in kombucha tea (less than .05 percent) due to the natural fermentation process, and it’s not recommended for pregnant women or nursing moms.
Chia seed mixes: Some people may enjoy these mixed in liquid, but they’re not my favorite. Before a run or a day that promises to drain my energy long before the sun goes down, though, I’ll chug a mix of water flavored with splashes of raspberry-cranberry and lime juices and about a tablespoon of chia seeds.Â The texture can get a little slimy and you need to drink it before the seeds have time to gel together with the liquid in the glass.
Chia seeds are considered a superfood, with protein, fiber, and omega-3s. They’re said to increase energy, help you focus, and even promote better digestion. Business WeekÂ called them “Wall Street’s stimulant of choice” though I don’t see them that way, personally. They keep me from running out of energy as early in the day (or during a run) as I normally would, but they don’t give me an immediate boost when I’m dragging like coffee does.
I really prefer to bake them in muffins because the texture becomes more crunchy than gel-like, but drinking them is much quicker and some people don’t mind the texture. You can even find them in pre-made health drinks, like kombucha, at some grocery stores.
Green tea: The fact that green tea is good for you isn’t exactly a secret. According to Harvard Health Publications, thanks to green tea’s flavonoids and catechins, green tea is more effective than vitamins C and E at “halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties.”
The consumption of green tea could lower your risk for cancer. The Harvard article also lists additional benefits of green tea: an increase in good cholesterol, blockage of bad cholesterol, and improved artery function.
If you were looking for replacements for at least one cup of coffee throughout the day, consider giving one of these a try.
Photo credit: rcarver