Water should, of course, be the number one choice for hydration to keep your body in top form. But sometimes, we can all agree that it can get a little boring. Your other conventional beverage options are often loaded with sugar and caffeine which may not be the healthiest choices. Here are some less popular drinks that can help keep you hydrated but also pack a punch, nutrient-wise.
1. Coconut Water
You would have already heard how coconut water is the new ‘natural sports drink’ and for good reason. This drink is rich in electrolytes. In tropical countries, it has always been used as an oral rehydration solution for diarrhea and dehydration. Studies have shown that it’s great for post-exercise rehydration, has anti-inflammatory properties, protects the heart and is good for the urinary tract. Recent research suggests that it may even have some cancer-fighting properties.1 Although most grocery stores stock the bottled versions, these have been treated for preservation purposes and have lost some amount of their nutritive value. Your best bet, if it’s available, is to get your coconut water directly from a fresh, young coconut.
2. Aloe Water
Aloe Vera has been used as a treatment for type 2 diabetes with positive results. It has also been shown to reduce levels of triglycerides which are a type of harmful fat that gets stored in the body. Additionally, research suggests that it may even have a protective effect from certain kinds of cancers.2 It may even help heal alcohol-induced liver damage.3 Now you know all the ways aloe vera can help your body, here’s how you can get hold of it. It’s available at most health food stores, but if you’re fortunate enough to own your plant, simply cut off one of the blades, scoop out 2 tablespoons of the flesh and blend it with a glass of water. Make sure to not scrape all the way down to the skin or the ‘latex’ since this substance can cause an upset stomach.
3. Beet Juice
Beet juice is a drink that’s as vibrant in nutrients and benefits as it is in color. Beetroot has great antioxidant properties and is a great anti-inflammatory agent too.4 Beet juice helps in the production of nitric oxide which is essential for many bodily functions. In fact, it helps improve blood flow, circulation and makes muscle contractions stronger and more efficient. If you’re an athlete, you’ll want to try this out because it can improve your physical performance and you will tire out later than you normally would.5 Beet juice can also help reduce blood pressure.6 Simply use a juicer or blend up pieces of peeled beetroot and strain to make yourself a glass of this bright pink drink.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is another of those miracle drinks with a huge number of benefits. It contains an important group of antioxidants called catechins. Research shows that a cup of green tea every day can help reduce the risk of heart disease. It helps reduce levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol and increases HDL or good cholesterol. It results in a reduced risk of hypertension as compared to those that don’t drink tea at all. It’s been touted as a weight loss aid as well due to its ability to increase metabolism.7 You can have up to 3 cups of green tea a day. Let the tea steep in warm but not boiling water, for at least 2–3 minutes to release the catechins.8 On a hot day, try iced green tea for a refreshing change.
You’ll never hear the end of how great milk is for your bones. You heard it as a kid and we’re telling you again. Three servings of milk a day can really help maintain bone growth and health. This is because milk has nutrients like phosphorus and vitamin D which are functional in preserving bone mass. This can potentially help prevent diseases like osteoporosis where bones can start deteriorating and cause joint pain.9 However, it’s important to stick to skimmed or low-fat milk since whole milk can be high in saturated fats and drive your cholesterol levels through the roof.
6. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is great news for your heart! You’ll want to make yourself a glass every day once you hear how good it can be for you. Pomegranate juice is full of antioxidants. It can lower blood pressure and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.10 Like coconut water, it even has cancer-fighting properties.11 Store bought pomegranate juice can be loaded with added sugar so it’s much better to make it yourself at home. Just add the seeds into a blender with water and pulse on and off until the outer juicy layer is broken down. Make sure not to blend it completely since the broken seeds can make the juice bitter. Strain the juice and enjoy.
Of course, we don’t recommend that you completely replace your water intake with these drinks, but they can be a great choice when you want to switch it up. Especially when you’re looking for something a little more exciting for your palate but also great for your body.
|↑1||Reddy, E. P., and T. M. Lakshmi. “Coconut Water-properties, uses, nutritional benefits in health and wealth and in health and disease: A Review.” J. Curr. Trends in Clin. Med. Lab. Biochem 2, no. 2 (2014): 6-18.|
|↑2||Foster, Meika, Duncan Hunter, and Samir Samman. Evaluation of the nutritional and metabolic effects of Aloe vera. Vol. 3. chapter, 2011.|
|↑3||Aloe. University of Maryland Medical Centre.|
|↑4||Clifford, Tom, Glyn Howatson, Daniel J. West, and Emma J. Stevenson. “The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease.” Nutrients 7, no. 4 (2015): 2801-2822.|
|↑5||Domínguez, Raúl, Eduardo Cuenca, José Luis Maté-Muñoz, Pablo García-Fernández, Noemí Serra-Paya, María Carmen Lozano Estevan, Pablo Veiga Herreros, and Manuel Vicente Garnacho-Castaño. “Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review.” Nutrients 9, no. 1 (2017): 43.|
|↑6||Coles, Leah T., and Peter M. Clifton. “Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” Nutrition journal 11, no. 1 (2012): 106.|
|↑7||Green Tea. University Of Maryland Medical Center|
|↑8||Benefit of drinking green tea: The proof is in — drinking tea is healthy. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑9||Nutrients And Health Benefits Of Dairy. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑10||Basu, Arpita, and Kavitha Penugonda. “Pomegranate juice: A heart‐healthy fruit juice.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 1 (2009): 49-56.|
|↑11||Zarfeshany, Aida, Sedigheh Asgary, and Shaghayegh Haghjoo Javanmard. “Potent health effects of pomegranate.” Advanced biomedical research 3 (2014).|