Eating is wonderful and perhaps one of my favorite pastimes. Recently, however, I realized I was overlooking one of the most pleasant areas of consumption: Drinking! Not just the alcoholic kind (although that can be fun as well). In my quest to move away from high-sugar drinks like soda and juice, I started researching the other, more healthful beverages out there. Here are my findings for you to enjoy:
- Vegetable Juice – I had no idea that a juice that is mostly vegetables could be so delicious, until I snapped up (an admittedly expensive) a concoction at my local farmer’s market which contained kale, chard, broccoli, apple, carrot, and ginger juice. This green concoction was surprisingly bright and delicious, thanks to the zing of the ginger and the subtle sweetness of apple and carrots. After researching juice, I learned that most of the minerals and vitamins in vegetables and fruits are water soluble, meaning that you get the same nutritional profile of the produce in juice form, even without the pulp. You do lose much of the fiber, however, so vegetable juice isn’t a replacement for eating your greens, just a healthful add-on. Remember to stick with juices that are primarily vegetable-based, as fruit juices are very high in sugar. To find out more, consider earning a nutrition degree online and learn all that you can about nutritious diets and jobs related to nutrition degree programs.
- Fruit and Kale Smoothies – If you are in the mood for something sweet, you’re better off going the fruit smoothie route, rather than drinking plain fruit juice. The distinction is that a smoothie is blended whole fruit, so you still get the healthy fiber (which is good for digestion and for regulating blood sugar). Throw a few pieces of chopped kale into the blender with a banana, apple, and orange and you’ve got a yummy healthful breakfast.
- Black and Green Tea – Super Candy has recently covered the health benefits of green tea, but I’ll just quickly reiterate those benefits here and point out that they also apply to black tea. All types of tea contain antioxidants called polyphenols. Studies of tea drinkers show that these powerful beverages can lower your risk for cancer and heart disease.
- Coffee – Filtered coffee has been shown to have a number of health benefits, such as protection against liver, colon, breast, and rectal cancers. Drinking a few cups of coffee a day may also lower one’s risk of diabetes; it may also lower the risk of Parkinson’s in men. Just remember to go easy on the sugar and cream, as these additions can counter the health benefits of coffee. Drinking sweet coffee can also have negative effects on your teeth, which you can learn about if you happen to pursue dental hygienist training, which can provide more information on oral health and dental hygiene education.
Harvard Medical School: Harvard Health Productions (2006)
Colorado State University (2003)