Liquid courage is often said to give us confidence — but if you're constipated, stuck in bed with the flu or want to prevent a UTI, alcohol just won't cut it.
Instead, try adding lemon wedges or cucumber slices in your water are both healthy liquid calories to add to your diet. "It can't hurt to add extra nutrients to a sometimes boring glass of water — especially if this will make you drink more of it," says Tara Miller, holistic nutritionist and owner of the all natural health boutique Health Hut.
Drinking for your health doesn't necessarily mean going on a juice-only diet. Miller warns that juice cleanses and detoxes may not be for everyone. "It varies from person to person and individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, undergoing chemotherapy, diabetics, people with kidney disease or nutrition deficiencies should not do a juice cleanse," she tells The Huffington Post Canada.
The Mayo Clinic found that even though you get most vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals from juicing your foods, the key ingredient of fibre is still missing. Miller notes, however, there are benefits to having your fruits and veggies in juice form. "[Drinking juices] makes it faster and easier for all the nutrients to get to our cells — but depending on the type of juicer, you may end up losing some nutrients as well," she says.
But at the end of the day, water still seems to rule the world of healthy beverages. Even though Health Canada has no standard water intake guide, they do recommend those who are very active or live in hot environments drink more water than the average person — and drinking those eight cups a day you always hear about certainly won't do you any harm. Remember, many foods and drinks are good sources of water — but no one source outweighsplain drinking water itself.
Thirsty? Here are 23 of the healthiest drinks for common situations — and none of them include plain water:
The Healthiest Drinks For Every Situation
Looking for ways to burn that unwanted fat? Find yourself some cayenne pepper, says holistic nutritionist Tara Miller. Cayenne pepper can apparently speed up your metabolism by 25 per cent, according to 3FatChicks.com. Miller suggest mixing cayenne pepper with water, fresh lemons, a little sea salt and a bit of maple syrup for sweetness.
For liver health, Miller recommends drinking beet juice. Beets have zero trans and saturated fats and are packed with magnesium, calcium and iron, according to Yahoo News.
Flax oil is great for sharpening our brains, Miller says. She recommends mixing flax oil (packed with omega 3 fatty acids) with your favourite fruit smoothie — you won't even taste the difference.
Think green! Miller says for bone health, opt for drinks that contain vitamin K — she suggests making the greenest juice of all: kale juice.
First Thing In The Morning:
Your first drink in the morning shouldn't be a cup of coffee. Miller says water with lemon cleanses our liver, stimulates bile and helps with digestion in our bodies.
Middle Of The Day:
When 4 p.m. hits, our bodies are usually ready to take a nap. For a much-needed energy boost, Miller says green tea will give you a tiny boost of caffeine, with a high amount of antioxidants.
Before You Sleep:
For those of you who usually have to deal with a long and tiring day, Miller recommends drinking a calming tea with chamomile or lavender to soothe your senses before snooze time.
Before Your Workout:
Miller says before you work out, think carbs. "Your drink should contain more carbohydrates than protein to deliver quick usable energy for your workout," she says. Dates and date juice is a good example of a high carb fruit that also lowers your blood pressure.
After Your Workout:
Here's a post-workout smoothie you can prepare in advance: Blend coconut water (good for hydration), hemp, frozen blueberries, frozen bananas and raw cocoa powder to get an instant boost of flavour and antioxidants, Miller says.
Cold Or Flu:
You won't need a lemon for this one. When you're stuck with a cold or sore throat, Miller recommends licorice tea (a plant related to the beans and pea family) to help soothe sore throats and eliminate mucus.
When You're Cold:
Can a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate actually keep you warm on a cold day? There is some truth to this, Miller says, adding that drinking a hot cup of tea with warming spices like chai makes the perfect heat source.
Fun nights usually end in not-so-fun mornings. If you're trying to fight that hangover, Miller says drink a beverage with high amounts of electrolytes — like coconut water.
If you're dealing with cramps, one natural way to relieve the pain is by drinking beverages with high amounts of magnesium, Miller says. Try making your own homemade hot chocolate with raw cocoa powder, almond milk and honey or maple syrup for a sweet taste.
For all the pregnant ladies, Miller recommends drinking something high in folic acid and omega 3. One study showed that women who get 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily during early pregnancy reduced the risk that their baby will be born with a neural tube defect (incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70 per cent, according to KidsHealth.org. Millers suggests a power smoothie with raw cacao, frozen bananas, sugar free peanut butter, spinach (both have folic acid), almond milk and flax seed oil.
Eating Spicy Foods:
Sure, water can put out the fire, but so can dairy products. If you're trying to get rid of the burning sensation in your mouth after a spicy meal, try a mango lassi (an Indian-based yogurt drink) with coconut yogurt, and if you're vegan or lactose, try out coconut milk.
If your daily commute feels like a roller coaster, Miller says you can calm your stomach and reduce nausea with ginger tea.
Seasonal allergies can be soothed with vitamin C and quercetin (a form of flavonol found in fruits and veggies). Miller says a cup of freshly squeezed OJ has both.
When You're Feeling Down:
When you mood is down, don't turn right to ice cream. Miller says drinking a beverage high in tryptophan (a type of amino acid) will help increase your "feel good" hormone serotonin. A quick fix includes a juice smoothie with frozen bananas, pineapples and kiwi.
Also known as the "Champagne of Life," kombucha tea is full of probiotics, improve digestion and helps keep your bathroom visits regular, Miller says.
You won't need any chocolate or strawberries for this one. Miller says maca tea with honey (a natural aphrodisiac) can do the trick. Maca can increase our sex drives and honey is known to increase testosterone.
Preventing A UTI:
To help prevent a UTI, Miller recommends drinking pure cranberry juice. One study found that cranberry juice works against infections and bacteria within 8 hours of consumption, according to WebMD.com.
Feel like a cheerleader without the poms poms and mini skirt. For an instant energy boost, try wheat grass juice.
Upset stomach? Try a soothing drink like apple cider vinegar, Miller says. Mixing it with water is a good idea — as is checking with your doctor to make sure this remedy is right for you.