Dehydration is a common risk during the hotter months, so what better time to talk about drinks – healthy ones of course. Here are my top 5:
You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again because many of us don’t drink enough. ALL our body functions depend on having adequate amounts. That means at least a liter and a half of pure, filtered water daily. More during hot weather and exercise.
Water is vital for maximal fat burning and can also prevent food cravings. Our bodies often can’t differentiate properly between dehydration and hunger. Your body can trick you into thinking you will be satisfied with some more food – when all you need is a glass of water. Next time you feel a craving, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes. The cravings may subside. Try adding a little pinch of Himalayan sea salt and lemon to your water to rev up hydration and cleansing.
Back when I was studying nutrition the coffee habit was spoken about like an addiction – similar to alcohol, tobacco and drugs. There was never anything good to say about it, other than the fact that it contained antioxidants. Anti-nutrient, intestinal irritant, adrenal stressor, diuretic, and skin-aging were some of the reasons for recommending people limit their daily intake to one cup – or preferably give it up completely!
There is truth in the above. And coffee can obviously cause irritability and insomnia in those who are sensitive. However, coffee is enjoying a health rebirth of sorts. No least because no study has ever shown that drinking coffee contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer or diabetes. What’s more, there is growing evidence that coffee may actually protect against the risk of diabetes 2 Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and liver disease.
Rich in flavonoids – plant compounds that have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anticoagulant properties, coffee also appears to improve both mood and athletic performance.
A few caveats:
- Health benefits are linked to moderate consumption – don’t overdo it.
- Buy organic – less toxins, less caffeine and more antioxidants.
- Grind your grains yourself? The oils in pre-ground coffee can go rancid quite quickly.
- Ideally opt for black – milk and sugar add calories – cappuccinos, Frappuccinos and the like contain anything from 100 to 600 calories!
- If pregnant don’t exceed I cup daily – the fetus is extremely sensitive to caffeine and over consumption has been linked to miscarriage.
- Caffeine interferes with the absorption of essential minerals. So instead of having that coffee immediately after your meal, as is the habit in some cultures, it makes more sense to opt for the traditional “coffee break”- or having a coffee between meals. That way you ensure you get the maximum nutritional benefit from your food.
Kombucha may be the new “super drink”, but this fermented tea has been around for more than 2,000 years. It’s a living drink packed with antioxidants and probiotics, which makes it both delicious and good for you.
Kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened tea using a SCOBY, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. As the SCOBY “digests” the sugar in the tea, it generates a variety of probiotics, enzymes and amino acids, turning the initial tea into a nutrient-packed, tangy, effervescent health drink that’s also deliciously addictive. I know – I drink a small bottle every day!
Readily available in health food stores, you can easily make your own kombucha at home. All it takes is a little patience and care. You only need four ingredients: water, tea, sugar and a kombucha culture (SCOBY). Selecting the right container is key to creating a healthy environment for your SCOBY to grow, and for a quality final product. The “mother” culture that homebrewers use to make kombucha produce “daughter” or “kombucha babies” that are shared with friends or sold online, the same way bread bakers pass along their coveted sour dough starters.
We all know that green tea is good for us but matcha tea is even better -10 times better in fact! That’s because unlike regular steeped green tea, when you drink matcha you’re ingesting the entire antioxidant-rich, crushed up leaf – not just leaf-infused water.
Drinking matcha on an empty stomach will give you a burst of energy without the jittery sensations sometimes associated with coffee. It’s also prized for its mood enhancing, memory boosting, cancer protective and weight loss benefits.
Why not try it yourself next time you need a pick-me-up or anytime you need extra focus? I love it simply mixed with hot water and a touch of honey to offset its slightly bitter taste. Let cool and add ice it for the ideal refreshing drink on a hot summer afternoon. Or try this delicious smoothie (use organic ingredients when possible):
Kiwi and Matcha Tea Smoothie
- 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1 cube frozen spinach
- 1 kiwi
- ¼ banana (frozen)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ tsp matcha powder
- ½ cup cold filtered water
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately. Makes 1 serving.
Clever Turmeric Tea
Turmeric and ginger have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, protecting your immune and nervous system, as well as your joints and muscles. But how many of us eat it on a regular (daily) basis? This easy infusion is the easiest and most delicious way I’ve found to get more of this health-boosting spice into my life:
2 cups boiled water
1 inch peeled chopped ginger root
1 tsp raw honey
¼ tsp turmeric
juice of ½ lemon
Simply add boiling water to a tea pot or bring to boil on the stove. Add the ginger, honey, turmeric and lemon juice and let steep for 5 minutes before serving, if using a pan on the stove cover with a plate. Serve and enjoy!