By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
June 28, 2019
I’ve noticed an odd thing over the years.
When it comes to choosing something to drink besides water, a lot of folks have no idea what constitutes a healthy beverage.
For example, in my practice I’ve noticed that most “healthy” choices made by my patients include milk, juice and diet soda.
Cow’s milk is not intended for humans. And while the American dairy industry markets milk as a way to build strong bones, the truth is that people who drink milk regularly are more likely to experience fractures. Higher milk intake is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, early death and higher levels of inflammation.
Fruit juice definitely sounds healthy. But most juices are missing all of the fiber and other stuff that help your body process the high amounts of sugar found in many of today’s commercial fruit juices. If your body can’t process the sugar, it pretty much defeats any potential health benefits. Just take a look at how some of today’s popular juices stand up against soft drinks when it comes to sugar levels:
|12 Ounce Serving||Sugar/Grams||Calories||12 Ounce Serving||Sugar/Grams||Calories|
|Mott’s Apple Juice||42||180||Coca Cola||39||140|
|Simply Orange Juice||35||165||Pepsi with Real Sugar||40||150|
|Naked Juice + Probiotics||42||221||Dr Pepper||40||150|
|Snapple Grape Juice||42||177||7-Up||38||140|
Not much difference, right?
And as far as vegetable juice is concerned, most of them are drowning in salt. (Fact: A can of V8 juice or Campbell’s tomato juice both contain more sodium than a large order of fries from Burger King.)
When it comes to diet beverages, I can’t tell you enough about the dangers associated with them. They’re promoted as weight loss aids, but that’s not the case. The fact is, the artificial sweeteners found in low- and no-calorie drinks actually promote weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The artificial sweeteners in diet beverages are also linked to higher incidence of high blood pressure, cardiovascular events, stroke and dementia.
That being said, today I would like to introduce you to five healthy alternatives that you can drink every day, all day long.
My Top 5 Beverages (that aren’t Water)
for Your Good Health
Green tea is one of my favorite beverages. You can drink it hot or cold, and it makes a great replacement for coffee and sodas. Plus, it comes with a whole host of health benefits.
It slashes the risk of diabetes, reduces arterial stiffness, lowers the chance of a stroke and helps protect against cardiovascular death. Women who enjoy one to three cups of tea daily have greater bones density than women who aren’t tea-drinkers. Plus, green tea drinkers have telomeres that are about five years younger than people who don’t drink it.
Pomegranate juice cuts oxidation of LDL cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, reduces arterial plaque and helps prevent your arteries from thickening. Additionally, it can increase your antioxidant status by about 130%, which can help cut down on inflammation.
In men, pomegranate juice reduces PSA production, slows PSA doubling time, and lowers levels of inflammation that put you at risk for prostate cancer. It also stops cancer cells from spreading, and may even help kill them off.
Montmorency cherry juice also helps to protect your cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, inflammation and levels of oxidative stress.
As an added benefit, patients with mild to moderate dementia show improvements when tart cherry juice is added to their diet. They show greater verbal fluency, better short-term memory and enhanced long-term memory
Additionally, both pomegranate and montmorency cherry juice help to raise your levels of nitric oxide, or NO. This compound keeps your blood vessels open, relaxed and functioning properly. It’s absolutely essential when it comes to keeping blood flowing freely throughout your body.
Cranberry juice is another heart healthy juice. It significantly decreases levels of a protein that increases number of small, dense LDL particles. (These are the ones that cause plaque to build up in your blood vessels and create blockages.)
Not only does cranberry juice help to keep your LDL particles large and harmless. It also reduces inflammatory markers and works to lower blood pressure.
But here’s the thing. While all of these juices are great alternatives, they only work if you buy the unsweetened versions in the form of a “concentrate”. (Don’t worry. You can mix them with water and sweeten them up with stevia when you get home. Stevia is a safe, healthy alternative to sugar and sugar substitutes and the only sweetener I recommend to my patients.)
Kombucha is a slightly fizzy, fermented tea that can make a fantastic soda replacement. It has probiotic properties that help balance and diversify your gut microbiome. And since the microbes in your gut play an important part in all aspects of your mental and physical health, kombucha is an excellent choice of beverage.
If you’re skeptical, I urge you to try a few different brands before dismissing the idea. (If you’ve tried it before and didn’t like it, try it again.)
Some brands can be tart, sour or vinegary. But other brands are surprisingly light, sweet and refreshing… and tremendously easy to drink. My favorite is Ginger Ade from GTS in the fridge section of Costco.
If you aren’t into kombucha yet, I recommend starting off with a milder brand like KeVita Master Brew, Health-Ade or Humm. Later on you can get more adventurous and test out brands with sharper and tangier flavors associated with traditional kombucha.
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