When you slug down your morning coffee or indulge in a glass of wine at night, you may not be thinking much about the health benefits you are reaping. This is especially true since some of the most common beverages we all consume do not come with nutrition labels! Here is an easy guide to making your favorite drinks even healthier.
Coffee: If you can’t do without your daily cup of Joe, don’t feel bad! Coffee used to get a bad rap, particularly because of caffeine’s addictive quality. But there are plenty of benefits you can feel good about.
• Why it’s good. Antioxidants in coffee have been found to offer cardiovascular protection. Several studies show they are probably responsible for the reduced risk of endometrial, liver, breast, colon and rectal cancer, as well as basal-cell carcinoma. Plus, it has been proven to reduce the risk of diabetes and lowers cholesterol.
• How it can be better. Just like chocolate, the purer your coffee, the better. Loading up on sugar and cream might neutralize any health benefits, so if you can, take your coffee black. If you must have cream, choose half & half, since nondairy creamers have been found to interfere with the absorption of coffee’s antioxidants. Additionally, too much caffeine – more than 500 to 600 milligrams a day – can interfere with sleep, cause restlessness, jitters, a fast heartbeat and irritability. Try to set some limits for yourself.
Water: Your body is 60 percent water, so it’s no wonder drinking the stuff is good for you. In fact, your body depends on water to flush toxins out of your vital organs, carry nutrients to the cells that need them and keep tissues healthy throughout. It also aids in digestion.
• Why it’s good. In addition to keeping your body healthy on the inside, H2O can go a long way in making your hair and skin look radiant. Also, it protects the spinal cord and lubricates and cushions your joints.
• How it can be better. The age-old advice is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but remember that other beverages as well as juicy foods contribute to this daily total. Of course, drink more water if you feel dehydrated. Just note that drinking too much water can flush your body of vital nutrients, too, so keep a healthy balance.
Wine: Indulging in a glass of vino can have some great health benefits (in addition to helping you kick back and relax!)
• Why it’s good. It has been proven that moderate amounts of alcohol can raise the good cholesterol and make your blood thinner – all great for heart health. Chemical components of wine like reservatrol and flavanoids act as antioxidants, preventing free radicals from damaging your cells.
• How it can be better. Moderation is key when it comes to wine! If you don’t drink, you should not necessarily start, but if you love wine, choose red and try to limit it to one glass per day. Red wine has more reservatrol because this component comes from the skins of grapes, and red varieties are fermented with the skins longer than whites.