Healthy Drinks

Green Tea

When you think of good drinks, water immediately comes to mind, but there are others worth adding to your diet. Some drinks have tremendous health benefits, from relieving minor ailments like indigestion to protecting against serious ones like osteoporosis.

Green Tea helps reduce risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, and cavities.

It contains a rich concentration of flavonoids and polyphenols, natural antioxidants that may protect cells from carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and inhibit tumor growth by helping to neutralize free radicals in the body.

The tea’s antioxidants may also guard against heart disease by relaxing blood vessels, inhibiting the formation of blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes.

Green tea also contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth; the flavonoids may build up bones as well, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and tooth decay.

Mint TeaMint Tea

Eases cramps and helps ward off indigestion.

Mint is an antispasmodic, so it can relax muscles, which combats stiffness and aches.

It also aids in digestion by promoting the movement of food through the digestive tract.

One Percent Reduced-Fat Milk

Curbs cravings and helps protect against osteoporosis. Because it has the components of a healthy meal — carbohydrates, protein, and a little fat — you absorb it slowly and stay full longer.

It also stabilizes blood sugar, so you’re less susceptible to cravings.

Milk is the ideal source of calcium, because it contains vitamin D, which is needed for maximum calcium absorption. It may also help your body stop storing fat.

The calcium causes your body’s cells to burn the fat instead of holding on to it. This makes it easier to reach and maintain your goal weight.

MilkSoy Milk

Lowers risk of heart disease.

Soy milk contains soluble fiber and soy protein, which lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and triglycerides, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

If you’re drinking it instead of cow’s milk, buy soy milk fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D.

Hot Chocolate

Improves mood and may help protect against heart disease.

Chocolate increases the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood.

Cocoa is also rich in polyphenols, plant-derived antioxidants that may protect cells against oxidative damage that can lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, possibly putting you at higher risk for a heart attack.

Low-Sodium Tomato Juice

May protect against numerous cancers.

Processed tomato products are the richest source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been associated with a reduced risk of lung and stomach cancer, as well as pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast, and cervical cancers.

Lycopene also appears to protect the lungs and heart against oxidative damage, helping to ward off cardiovascular disease.

Cranberry Juice

Helps prevent gum disease.

Research suggests that the same antibacterial properties present in cranberry juice that fight off urinary tract infections may also protect against periodontal disease.

Experts theorize that a component of the juice called nondialysable material (NDM) inhibits bacteria from sticking to the gums. Many nutritionists are wary of fruit juices because of their sugar content, so limit your intake to no more than one glass (6 to 8 ounces) daily.

Make sure the label says 100 percent juice, not ‘juice drink’ or ‘cocktail. You can find this type of juice in health-food stores and some supermarkets.

Orange JuiceOrange Juice

May ward off cataracts, cancers, and birth defects and boost immunity.

An excellent source of vitamin C, orange juice is also a potent antioxidant that may protect against a variety of diseases including cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens that can lead to blindness) and lung cancer.

Vitamin C may prevent oxidative damage that can cause cells to become cancerous, and it improves immune-cell functioning, enabling your body to fight off infections more efficiently. And it’s a good source of folate, which protects against neural-tube defects in fetuses.

To get the extra benefit of bone protection, try some calcium-fortified orange juice