When eating healthfully, a large focus may be on what not to drink: no sugary juices, sodas, or high-calorie cocktails. But many drinks can actually help you live a healthier lifestyle. We all know that drinking enough water is essential, but find out what other drinks should also be on your OK list below, and remember to enter our healthy living giveaway for a chance to win a $500 Under Armour gift card!
Coffee: The hot drink is the perfect accompaniment to a cold morning or a drowsy afternoon, but offering you a warm pick-me-up isn't its only advantage. Coffee has been proven to help improve memory, increase endurance, and ease muscle pain. The list doesn't stop there; read more about the health benefits of coffee here.
Watch for: The benefits of coffee don't always outweigh the risks, especially if you drink too much. Drinking too much java can cause you to become anxious or jittery, disrupt your sleep patterns, develop high blood pressure, or endure regular headaches. Stay attuned to caffeine's affect on your body and, in general, don't drink more than 300 milligrams a day (the average cup of coffee contains 100 milligrams of caffeine).
Red wine: All those studies about the health benefits of red wine makes me feel that much better about relaxing with a glass of Cab after work. Red wine contains a compound called resveratrol, which has been proven in studies to be beneficial to your health — everything from fighting cancer to antiaging, along with other disease-preventing benefits.
Watch for: The benefits of wine stop at one glass a day, so don't go overboard. You may be doing yourself more harm than good, especially since one glass of red wine usually runs around 127 calories. And while scientists have researched resveratrol in many lab studies, there have been few studies in humans — and let's not forget the recent news that a leading red wine researcher actually falsified data in dozens of studies on heart health and resveratrol.
Two more good-for-you drinks after the break!
Tea: It's got a fair amount of that caffeine to keep you awake and alert, along with high levels of the antioxidants polyphenols and catechins, which both have a long list of supposed disease-fighting benefits: preventing cancer and lowering your risk of having a heart attack or developing Parkinson's disease. (Think you know them all? Take our quiz on the health benefits of tea to test your knowledge!)
Watch for: Make sure your tea is actually tea, for one. Many herbal drinks that are called tea actually don't contain any of the leaves from the tea plant, and those leaves — in the form of black, green, white, or oolong teas — are the ones with all the so-called disease-fighting powers. And although tea isn't bad for you, know that, like the red wine studies, more definitive research needs to be done before we declare tea a miracle drink.
Pressed juice and smoothies: If you're like us, you've been on a juicing rampage this month. Whether you're detoxing to get back on track in the New Year or just trying to eat more of your veggies, a green juice can help you maintain your healthy goals. Pressed juices pack tons of vitamins and other nutrients in one glass, since you throw in a ton of vegetables and fruit.
Watch for: Make sure you're not drinking a dinner's worth of calories in addition to your regular meal. Watch the amount of fruit you put into your pressed juices and smoothies, since the high sugar content in fruit can add hundreds of calories to your drink if you go overboard. Aim for a drink that's mostly veggies, since they are usually low in calories but high in nutrients. Need some ideas? Get ready to become well-acquainted with the produce aisle with these eight green juice and smoothie recipes!