Is it the aroma of freshly ground coffee that you wake up to, or a hit of your favourite fruit smoothie. What sits on your work table, a steaming hot mug of tea or a delicious latte from starbucks? Come evening, do you find yourself reaching for an icy soda or a mocktail of some sort? With so many beverages to choose from, it wouldn’t be your fault if you’ve simply forgotten about plain old water, the healthiest beverage on the planet, but unfortunately, your taste buds and your brain often crave something stronger.
Whether it’s coffees, teas, sodas, or fruit juices, beware that every sip you take can do you more harm than good. It all comes down to what’s in your mug.
If coffee is your drink
Around the world, coffee has become an integral part of even just waking up. This is because the caffeine in your coffee acts as a stimulant, waking your brain up, making you feel alert. A few cups of coffee a day is perfectly fine, but it’s wise to know that caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world. Too much caffeine can leave you feeling jittery, and can elevate your blood pressure causing hypertension in the long run. The FDA recommends around 400 milligrams of caffeine per day which translates to around 4 cups of coffee per day.
Caffeine aside, all those cups of coffee could add to your sugar intake if you tend to sweeten your coffee. Every teaspoon of sugar you add contributes toward exceeding your daily recommended sugar intake of around 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men, as recommended by the American Heart Association, so the next time you reach for a cup, be more mindful of what’s in it.
For those who like their fruits in a juiceIf smoothies and shakes are your thing then you’re most likely missing out on the real benefits of fruits and vegetables.
While some vegetables make great smoothies, it is always better to eat your veggies rather than drink them, mainly because that way the fiber content remains intact and helps give your digestive system a good cleanse. Although some nutrients in vegetables are easier for your body to digest as a smoothie, it is still a better idea to eat your vegetables rather than drink them.
Once again, in the case of fruit, it is definitely better to eat fresh fruits rather than to drink juices, because the skin and pulp of fruits are high on fiber and this is passed over when they are juiced.
Because it is so much easier to drink up a glass of orange juice, for eg, than to eat the 3 or 4 oranges it would take to make a glass of orange juice, you run the risk of a calorie overload from the glucose in these fruits, even if your juice is 100% pure, with no added sugar. Also, since you are missing all the fiber, you are not going to feel as satiated with a glass of juice as you would have been having eaten those 3 or 4 fruits.
The juicing process can also leave behind some of the essential vitamins and minerals present in fruits and vegetables. So while a smoothie every once in a while is fine, It’s not a good idea to make these your beverage of choice.
A side of soda please!
Soft drinks such as colas and pops are popular around the world, well loved and enjoyed by children and adults alike. It’s no wonder that around 10,000 beverages from Coca cola are consumed every second around the world, every single day. A 375 ml can of soft drink contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar, the daily recommended amount. Carbonated drinks in particular are thought to be a major cause of obesity world wide.
Even in diet form, some fizzy drinks contain phosphoric acid, used as a flavour enhancer. This has been shown to reduce calcium absorption, resulting in weakened bones. Plus, carbonated drinks and energy drinks often contain anywhere from 40 to 80 mg of caffeine, and may contribute to a caffeine overdose if you don’t watch out.
Are you a Chai guy
Teas have grown in popularity in recent times, with an ever increasing variety and it’s admirers on the rise. Teas can be quite healthy, just like coffee, but once again it comes down to those two ingredients, caffeine and sugar. While regular brewed tea contains around 60 mg of caffeine, few people are aware that even green teas contain a small dose of as little as 15 mg of caffeine, so if you are a serial beverage drinker, then you need to keep your eye open for sugar and caffeine.
While a few coffees and teas a day are fine, and so is the occasional fruit juice or smoothie, as with everything else in life, moderation is the key. It’s pretty hard to find a beverage that is both sugar free and caffeine free that can keep you company through the long work day, or refresh you at the end of one, but here is a list of possible candidates that are not just healthy but also fun.
Available as a delicious ready made mix here, but easily made at home as well, turmeric latte’s are usually a blend of Turmeric, black pepper, vanilla and other herbs and spices such as Ashwagandha. Turmeric is rich in antioxidants and is great at keeping your immune system healthy. Turmeric latte can be had with milk or water, hot or cold, as it pleases your palate. It is usually free of both caffeine as well as sugar
Herbal teas come in conveniently sized tea bags or sachets and are completely sugar and caffeine free, as they contain no actual tea leaves. Depending on the combination of herbs used, they are usually rich in antioxidants and vitamins and are pleasantly flavoured.
Sparkling water and seltzer
If plain old water is too boring for you, in sparkling form it can really refresh. Whether it is carbonated naturally or artificially, only makes a difference to the price. Often rich in minerals, this is a beverage you can have to your heart’s content.
So the next time you reach for that mug, think about all the healthy beverages you could be reaching for instead, for there is so much more beyond the world of caffeine and sugar.