What Is the Healthiest Drink Besides Water?

Reviewed on 6/22/2021

healthy drinks besides water
Looking for healthy drinks besides water? Here are tips for making low-calorie beverage choices

When it comes to staying hydrated, flushing out toxins, and maintaining healthy organs, water can’t be beat. But what if your child doesn’t like drinking plain water, and wants more options for their 8-ounce cups of fluids a day?

Here are 8 drinks besides water that don’t contain artificial or sugary ingredients and are both easy to prepare at home and inexpensive.

8 healthy drinks besides water

Unless you and your child have allergies or are otherwise advised to avoid them, these drinks are both safe and healthy to consume. They may also be good for people with diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol, and safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

1. Green tea

Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks, as it is rich in polyphenols and natural antioxidants that can slow down aging and protect cells from toxins and carcinogens. Antioxidants can help protect against heart diseases by relaxing the blood vessels, reducing the risk of blood clot formations that can result in heart attacks and strokes

Green tea also contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth, and flavonoids, which strengthens bones. These reduce the risk of tooth decay and osteoporosis.

2. Mint tea

Mint is an antispasmodic, meaning it can help relax muscles and reduce stiffness and aches. It also aids in digestion by promoting the movement of food through the digestive tract. 

Mint has a cooling effect, so it’s great to drink to combat the heat. You can drink it cold mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice during the hot summer months.

3. Black coffee

Black coffee is another healthy option if consumed in moderation. When you drink it in the morning, it provides protective benefits from heart diseases and dementia.

4. Fat-free milk

Milk contains components of a healthy meal, including carbohydrates, protein, and a little fat. It therefore helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings. 

Milk is also rich in calcium and contains vitamin D. Calcium helps burn fat cells, and vitamin D helps with maximum calcium absorption. Make sure you do not have milk allergies though.

5. Soy milk or almond milk

Soy milk is a great alternative if you are vegan or want to cut down on dairy milk. Rich in fiber and protein, it helps lower bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides and reduces the risk of heart disease. You can also buy fortified soy milk, which is enriched with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D

Keep in mind, however, that soy contains phytoestrogens, which are thought to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. So women are advised to consult a doctor about whether soy products are recommended, especially if there is a family history or past history of breast cancer

Almond milk is rich in protein and extremely low in calories. It is also a good source of vitamin E and D. The fortified versions contain other vitamins and minerals, making it even more nutritious.

6. Hot chocolate

Chocolate milk without sugar can be healthy when consumed in moderation. Cocoa increases the production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood and reduce the risk of depression. Cocoa is also rich in polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants. 

Hot chocolate can be prepared by adding a spoon of cocoa powder to fat-free dairy milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, etc.

7. Orange or lemon juice

Freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is a potent antioxidant that can protect against a variety of diseases, reduce the risk of cancer, boost immunity, improve digestion, and help with skin tone. It is better to drink freshly squeezed juices instead of packaged ones, which contain preservatives and added sugar in many cases.

8. Homemade smoothies

Homemade smoothies can be made by blending fresh fruits, vegetables, greens, and nuts. They contain tons of nutrients and can be very filling.

What drinks should you avoid?

Below are 6 types of drinks to avoid:

1. Fancy coffee drinks

Fancy coffee drinks served at cafes and restaurants often contain up to 800 calories and 1/3 of the maximum recommended intake for artery-clogging saturated fat. There is a reason why they taste so sweet. With 170 grams of sugar in a typical drink, you get more of a sugar shock than a caffeine buzz. Top it off with whipped cream and you have a drink that's far from healthy.

2. Flavored waters and sports drinks

Flavored and infused waters may deliver a few extra vitamins but usually contain added sugars and preservatives. Many sports drinks on the market also have artificial sweeteners and unhealthy additives. While some have electrolytes mixed with water, many of these drinks aren’t as healthy as the claims on the labels.

3. Soda (both diet and regular)

Most people are aware that regular soda is loaded with sugar and artificial additives. And while diet sodas do have low or zero calories, they also contain preservatives. 

If you’re looking for a fizzy, refreshing drink, try plain soda water (carbonated water or sparkling water) instead.

4. Cocktails

Cocktails are often loaded with sugar. They usually don’t use fresh fruits and instead contain artificial essences, food coloring, and syrups.

5. Packaged fruit drinks and smoothies

While freshly squeezed fruit juices are healthy, packaged fruit drinks and smoothies are usually filled with sugar and additives. Each pack may contain up to 700 calories.

6. Energy drinks

Most energy drinks contain  an unhealthy amount of caffeine, sugar, artificial coloring, and preservatives. These drinks give a short-term burst of energy but can make you crash later, and they also can have long-term negative effects on the body.

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References
Harvard T. H. Chan. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/

WebMD. Best and Worst Drinks for Your Health. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-drinks-and-your-health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water and Healthier Drinks. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/water-and-healthier-drinks.html

National Health Service. Water, Drinks and Your Health. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/water-drinks-nutrition/

Harvard T. H. Chan. Sugary Drinks. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/

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