There is almost no limit to the diversity of beverages that humans have thought up. From the most basic, water, through the variety of fruit juices, milk and other dairy drinks, vegetable juices, alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee, herbal teas, and modern sodas and soft drinks, there is almost no end to the variety of beverages available. But these beverages are not all equal in terms of their health effects. Some have powerful health benefits and medicinal properties, many are neutral, and some have negative impacts on health. In order to determine which drinks are healthiest, one must consider the basic factors that influence whether a beverage is healthy or has harmful affects on health.
Common reasons or ways beverages can harm your health:
Alcohol . Although small amounts of alcohol are safe to consume, excessive alcohol intake can be highly damaging to mind and body, not to mention human relationships. Alcohol is best consumed in moderation.
Sugar . Sugar is popular to sweeten drinks, from tea to coffee to alcoholic drinks to soda; it also naturally occurs in fruit juice, and to some degree, we have bred fruits to produce sweeter juice. But excessive sugar intake can be very harmful: it can have a destabilizing effect on your mind and body, and can contribute to or worsen a variety of conditions, including type II diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety, depression, and can worsen various infections. Sugary drinks also can dehydrate you. The healthiest drinks are those that contain no sugar.
Caffeine . While the moderate amounts of caffeine in a few cups of tea spaced through the day are safe for most people, excessive caffeine in intake can cause anxiety and insomnia, and can worsen health conditions like high blood pressure. Caffeinated beverages, like the other substances above, are best drunk in moderation. The healthiest beverages contain between no caffeine and moderate caffeine.
Additives . In general, the more processed a drink is, the less beneficial it is for your health; This is especially true of modern processing methods that involve the use of synthetic, chemical additives, such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals. Although some of these chemicals are safer than others, and not all natural chemicals are safe, it is a good rule of thumb to assume that chemicals that have not been in use for generations may not be safe. The healthiest drinks are 100% natural and contain no synthetic additives.
Health benefits and positive health effects of drinks and beverages:
Hydration . Staying ideally hydrated is a key aspect of health; something simple like water is very healthy to drink.
Electrolytes . Especially if you are exercising and sweating, it is important to replenish your electrolytes. Fruits juices and tea contain potassium, and some beverages contain small amounts of salt, although salt is normally obtained from food, not drink.
Nutrients . Some drinks have substantial nutritional content. Milk contains protein, fat, and calcium, and juices have vitamins and minerals. Drinks can form an important food source and an important source of healthy calories in a person's diet.
Phytochemicals . Naturally occurring plant-based drinks such as fruit and vegetable juices, tea, coffee, and herbal teas, all contain phytochemicals. Many of these have beneficial properties for both mind and body, ranging from general effects like protecting against cancer, heart disease, or even Alzheimer's, to specific medicinal effects for treating illness or alleviating specific symptoms.
So what are the healthiest beverages to drink?
1. Water . Water is a simple, timeless, and universal drink, and is one of the healthiest drinks.
2. Tea . Of all the common caffeine beverages, tea stands out as the healthiest caffeine drink. Tea's caffeine content is lower than coffee and tea is generally easier on the stomach. Tea also shows promising preliminary evidence of a number of positive effects on health.
3. Herbal Tea . Herbal teas, encompassing any hot water infusion made from any plant other than the tea plant, are incredibly diverse, and are all rich in phytochemicals. Some, including many that are safe for regular drinking as a beverage, have powerful medicinal properties: there are herbal teas for treating most common ailments, and there are numerous herbal teas that have powerful positive overall effects on health. Like tea, herbal teas are calorie-free and provide a water-like beverage with none of the main downsides associated with drinks (no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar).
What about other drinks? Are not they healthy too?
Other beverages, such as milk, fruit juice, and even beer or wine, can have positive impacts on health. But these drinks are best used in moderation; fruit juice is high in sugar, beer in wine contain alcohol, and milk is rich in protein and fat.