Sugary soda drinks are not a very healthy choice when it comes to keeping yourself hydrated on a daily basis. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, excessive consumption of these products increases your risk of becoming obese and developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gout, and other chronic conditions. The marketing of soda drinks to young people also present a challenge to public health, since sodas contain high levels of phosphate, and consuming more phosphate than calcium can have a devastating impact on the bone development of children and adolescents, whose bones are still being built by their bodies.
As such, it is important to minimize one’s consumption of soda drinks, as well as to find alternatives that will be able to quench one’s thirst for a refreshing drink. Here are some of the options you might want to explore.
Dairy milk will always be one of the most important sources of nutrition for people since this whole food product is chockfull of calcium, protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and other micronutrients. It is an essential component of a balanced diet, especially for your young people, whose bones are still developing. Since it has often observed that soft drink consumption is inversely proportional to milk consumption—i.e. when the former goes up, the latter goes down—it’s critical to emphasize to children and adolescents the importance of drinking milk instead. Adults can likewise still drink milk, but one should also keep in mind that whole milk is a rich source of saturated fats, which one wants to avoid if a high cholesterol level is a concern.
Plant-based milk products are a good supplement to dairy milk, something that you can drink as an alternative on other days. Plant milks are typically derived from grains and nuts, which can be helpful if you want to avoid saturated fats or if lactose intolerance is a problem for you. Nut milk beverages like almond milk, hazelnut milk, walnut milk, and peanut milk are a good source of unsaturated fats, which can help reduce bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) levels in the body. However, make sure that you are buying quality plant milk products that preserve most of the nutrients from their source ingredients. You’ll want nut and grain milks that are cold milled, since heat can affect the nutritional content of raw ingredients.
Sparkling water or carbonated water with zero sugar, zero sodium, and minimal but delicious flavoring are all the rave these days, since they provide the same refreshing experience of drinking traditional soda beverages but without the unnecessary calories and sugar. Popular brands of sparkling water include La Croix, San Pellegrino, and Tickle Water.
Coconut water that has no added flavoring or sugar is another refreshing beverage that is also good for the health. Drinking coconut water is great for keeping oneself hydrated because it is a good source of potassium and sodium, which are essential electrolytes. Popular brands of coconut water are Vita Coco, Amy & Brian Coconut Water, and O.N.E. Coconut Water.
If you need your caffeine fix, consider brewing green or black tea before adding ice for a refreshing twist. Not only does tea have caffeine, it also comes with natural antioxidants. Consider serving with a slice of lemon or orange to balance the herbal taste with a fruity note. You can also add a bit of honey to sweeten the drink if you don’t want to use regular table sugar.
Another caffeinated drink you can enjoy is—of course—coffee, and you can also have it over ice if you want an invigorating beverage to perk up your mornings and mid-afternoons. You can serve brewed coffee black or with milk. Either way will give you the caffeine boost you need without the unneeded calories from table sugar.
Jazzed Up Water
If plain old water just doesn’t cut it, try to change tack and consider making flavored water instead. It’s pretty easy to whip up a healthy flavored water beverage at home. Simply combine a little bit of fresh fruits, herbs, and spices to your jug or glass or water, and you’re good to go! Some combinations you might want to try are: pineapple and ginger, cucumber and lemon, orange and basil, watermelon and mint, and strawberry and thyme.
When it comes to enjoying refreshing beverages, you don’t have to rely solely on sugary soda drinks. There are so many healthy options to choose from that you can easily enjoy a different type of drink for each day of the week. Try them out today!