Healthy Drinks Other Than Water

A sufficient intake of water is essential to health. Without food, an individual would be able to live for a few weeks, but without water, she would die after only a few days. Nutritionists recommend that water, fruit and vegetable juices, and herbal teas make up the largest percentage of fluids consumed. Soft, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks should be kept to a minimum.

When to Increase Fluids

Although general guidelines recommend 2 litres (3-1/2 pints) of fluids per day for a moderately active adult, there are several factors that increase the amount of fluid required. These include:

• Hot weather

• Breast-feeding

• Fever (water is lost through sweating)

• A high-fibre diet

• Exercise

• Consumption of alcohol

• Medical conditions: diarrhoea, blood loss, uncontrolled diabetes (resulting in excessive urination)

• Consumption of diuretics, including caffeinated drinks.

 

healthy fruit juice drinkFreshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices are a convenient way of increasing consumption of these foods, while also contributing towards recommended fluid intake. Nutritionists recommend diluting fruit juices with twice the amount of water to minimize the damage that can be caused by the natural sugar (fructose) in the fruit.

Preparing Juices

It is easy to prepare citrus fruit drinks using a lemon squeezer. For most fruits and vegetables, however, an electric juice extractor is required; this crushes the vegetable or fruit and separates the pulp, seeds and skin from the juice. (An ordinary blender will just produce a puree.) The fruit and vegetables should be fresh, fully ripe, and preferably organically produced. Wash produce thoroughly and cut out any bad or brown parts. The small seeds found in fruit such as apples and oranges can be included in the drink – they provide fibre and nutrients.

Juice Ideas

A good basic juice cocktail can be made by combining equal quantities of carrot and apple juice, which can then be used as a starting point for making other juices. The juices of strong-tasting vegetables, such as beetroot, broccoli and all dark-green leafy vegetables, need to be diluted by at least four times the quantity of milder juices (such as carrot and apple) in order to make them palatable. Aim to drink around 500ml (1 pint) of raw juice each day.

For maximum benefits, juices should be consumed as soon as possible after preparation; once extracted, they start to lose flavour, colour and nutritional quality. Experiment with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. The following are all excellent ingredients for healthy juice cocktails:

Nutritional Content of a Variety of Fruit and Vegetables:

Apples

A good source of vitamin C.

The vitamin C helps boost immunity to colds. Apple juice is also a good remedy for constipation.

Berries

A cocktail of blackberry, raspberry and strawberry juice provides vitamin C and other important antioxidant vitamins. It also contains potassium.

In traditional medicine, berry juice is said to be good for fighting flu. Berries combine well with apple juice.

Citrus fruits

An excellent source of vitamin C. The white pith contains flavonoids.

The vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system. Antioxidant flavonoids in the pith may help to prevent cancer.

Cranberries

A good source of vitamin C.

Because of their antifungal and antiviral properties, these berries have long been used as a natural preventative and treatment for cystitis and other bladder, kidney and urinary-tract infections.

Melons

Orange-fleshed cantaloupe melons are a good source of the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin A in the form of betacarotene.

Melon juice combines well with berries.

Broccoli

An excellent source of vitamin C and a useful source of beta-carotene and folic acid.

Broccoli also contains iron and potassium, as well as phytonutrients which may offer some protection against cancer.

Cabbage

Another excellent source of vitamin C.

This vegetable has a considerable reputation in traditional medicine. Drinking the juice may help to relieve the pain of gastric ulcers and may even prevent colonic cancers.

Carrot juice

An excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, as well as vitamins A and C.

The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is needed for healthy sight, and can help to improve night vision.

Herbal Teas

A wide variety of leaves, flowers and roots of fresh or dried herbs can be made into herbal teas. These include strawberry and kiwi (whole fruit), elderflower, peach flavoured tea, Japanese green tea, chamomile and lemon grass, mango and maracuja (whole fruit), peppermint, cinnamon, rooibos, mate, jasmine and raspberry.

Herbal teas are made from the leaves, flowers and roots of various plants and not necessarily a traditional tea plant. The herbs are chosen for their therapeutic properties, and make a healthy alternative to the more commonly drunk teas and coffees, which contain caffeine and tannins.

Tea Therapeutic Uses:

Chamomile

A relaxing herbal tea often drunk before bedtime and as an insomnia remedy; also good for relieving anxiety and stress, as well as stimulating a poor appetite and relieving indigestion.

Fennel

Tea made from this aniseed flavoured herb has several benefits for the digestive system, including bringing relief from nausea, vomiting, flatulence, indigestion and bloating.

Peppermint

Menthol, the active ingredient in refreshing peppermint tea, has several beneficial effects on the digestive system – it aids digestion, eases nausea and vomiting and reduces flatulence.

Rosemary

Tea made from this aromatic herb has many uses, including relieving headaches, colds and rheumatism and soothing the digestive system – easing indigestion and flatulence.

Thyme

The antibacterial properties of thyme can boost the immune system; it can also be used as an antiseptic gargle to relieve coughs, colds, catarrh and sore throats.

11. March 2012 by Sue
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